The Old Dominion University Alumni Association (ODUAA) is pleased to announce the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Honorees. These awards are given annually to graduates who have brought extraordinary honor to Old Dominion University (ODU) through distinction in their fields.
This year, ODUAA is proud to recognize Johnny Garcia ’11 PhD, CEO, SimIS Inc.; Sylvia Bugg ’92, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming, PBS; and Laura Deaner ’00, Chief Information Security Officer, Northwestern Mutual.
The Honorary Alumni Award, given in recognition of outstanding and meritorious service, will be given to Elza Mitchum, President, C&M Industries Inc.
Audra Bullock ’96, ’97 MS, ’00 PhD, Director and President, Tidewater Friends of Foster Care, and Janice Underwood ’15 PhD, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Commonwealth of Virginia, will be awarded the Jack Frost Alumni Service Award.
Finally, the event will recognize the 40 Under 40 Alumni Recognition Program Inaugural Class, highlighting Monarchs who have proven to be impactful leaders, trailblazers in their fields, passionate community service contributors and innovative problem solvers.
The Old Dominion University Alumni Association traces its roots back to the days when Old Dominion University was the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The school was founded in 1930. After the concerted effort of a number of the College’s first four-year graduates, the groundwork for the present Old Dominion University Alumni Association was established. In 1957, a formal alumni organization was successfully established and its first leadership team created. In 1985, in order to better serve the needs of the University, the Association reestablished its independent, incorporated status.
The current ODU Alumni Association Board of Directors is a dedicated group of volunteers representing more than 160,000 alumni in all states and 76 countries worldwide. Through the Board’s active leadership, the Alumni Association has established a number of programs to connect alumni and students to the University and each other. Included in these are chapters, career networking panels, and events to support ODU Athletics. The Alumni Association also annually awards the ODU Alumni Association Merit Scholarship, which recognizes top students and the New Faculty Award and Tonelson Award, which recognize outstanding teaching, research, and service among the faculty.
The Old Dominion University Alumni Association created the 40 Under 40 Alumni Recognition Program in 2020 to help highlight Monarchs who have forged exceptional achievements and will leave an indelible mark before the age of 40. These individuals represent the very best in achievement and service across a diverse array of fields.
The Old Dominion University Alumni Honors Dinner will be held on Friday, October 15, 2021, at Hilton Norfolk The Main, beginning with a networking cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m. The dinner and awards begin at 7:00 p.m.