NORFOLK, Va. — Growing Old Dominion University is top of mind for President Dr. Brian Hemphill, Ph.D.
In his first State of the University address Friday morning, he highlighted the efforts to expand the existing schools and create new ones.
In just five years, he said the university’s School of Cybersecurity went from 11 to 1,100 students.
President Hemphill said within the same time, Cybersecurity has generated more than $20 million in research grants.
Over the summer, university leaders announced a new School of Supply Chain, Logistics and Maritime Operations.
“That is a high-demand area, and so we want to look at following the framework of the work we did with cybersecurity and look at how we can grow that particular pipeline,” he said.
He said university leaders are also in the final stages of a proposal to start the School of Data Science.
“This school will be made possible through a unique partnership with Jefferson Lab and NASA Langley in which data science researchers from these national labs will have ODU faculty status,” Hemphill said.
ODU faculty and students will have access to these national labs. The university also earned Research 1 status by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
Hemphill said ODU is one of 146 institutions in the country recognized for the highest of academic research activity. President Hemphill said that recognition will help focus on research in coastal resiliency, offshore wind energy, data science, healthcare and more.
The university is also focused on serving the Hampton Roads community. That plan includes help from EVMS and Sentara Healthcare.
“This partnership has the opportunity to address health disparities but also has an opportunity to really help us look at the workforce pipeline needs that we have but then also significant research growth,” he said.
Medical leaders have met to discuss establishing an academic health sciences center.
However, Hemphill says this partnership requires funding and support to jumpstart the project. Hemphill hopes people will see ODU as a forward-focused institution.
“With a focus on our community, with a focus on partnering with businesses and industry and a commitment to being innovative in our work that will truly provide transformational opportunities for the region,” he said.
President Hemphill also announced a $2.5 million dollar donation from the Ellmer family to renovate the university's baseball stadium.
Dennis Ellmer is the founder and CEO of Priority Automotive, which has more than 20 dealerships in Virginia and surrounding states.
The renovation would preserve most of the existing stadium infrastructure and can be done in stages. It's set to be a $20 million dollar project in total.