James V. Koch, president of the University of Montana, became the sixth president of Old Dominion University in 1990 after William B. Spong Jr.’s 18-month term as interim president. In the realm of academics, President Koch raised admissions standards, increased enrollment and retention, established the university’s innovative TELETECHNET distance learning program, and developed niche areas for Old Dominion to specialize in. After stepping down in 2001, Dr. Koch returned to teach courses in economics at Old Dominion. For all his accomplishments, the New Administration Building was renamed Donna L. and James V. Koch Hall in 1999.
Accomplishments during Tenure
Some of the most visible achievements of President Koch can be seen in the expansion of campus and his fundraising success. During Koch’s tenure, the University Village was conceived, the Oceanography and Gornto buildings were constructed, and Constant Hall and the F. Ludwig Diehn Center for the Performing Arts were heavily renovated. Grants and contracts grew, the university successfully completed its first capital campaign, and President Koch’s wife, Donna, established the Friends of the ODU Libraries.
One of President Koch’s lasting achievements was raising the profile and importance of Old Dominion in the Hampton Roads community and beyond. Regional relationships with NASA Langley Research Center, the Joint Training Analysis and Simulation Center, and the military were strengthened. Through these and other relationships, Old Dominion contributed millions of dollars to the local economy. The Lambert’s Point Summer Program and the President’s Lecture Series were also established during Koch’s tenure.
- Office of the President. James V. Koch Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.
- Old Dominion University Photographic and Multimedia Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.
- University Presidents, Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Exhibit, 2009
- Bookman, Steven and Jessica Ritchie. Old Dominion University: A Campus History Series. Arcadia Publishing. Charleston, South Carolina, 2017.