Dr. Hugo A. Owens served on the Board of Visitors at Old Dominion University (ODU) from 1990-1994, becoming the first African American Rector during the 1992-1993 fiscal year.
Service to Hampton Roads and ODU
Born on January 21, 1916 in Portsmouth, Virginia, he attended I.C. Norcom High School and Virginia State College. After graduation, he began to teach in Porstmouth and Maryland. After being drafted in the U.S. Army, Dr. Owens became a dentist and was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1940s and helped to desegregate Portsmouth in the 1960s. In 1970, Dr. Owens became one of the first two African Americans elected to the Chesapeake City Council and was vice mayor for 8 years on that governing body. He was named the first honorary member of the ODU Coalition for Black Faculty and Administrators and received the university’s eighth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award. In 1996, the Hugo A. Owens African American Cultural Center at ODU was dedicated, and the Hugo A. Owens Middle School in Chesapeake was named in his honor in 1997. Dr. Owens passed away on July 29, 2008 at the age of 92. In 2016, the Board of Visitors name a future residence hall the Hugo A. Owens House in his honor.
- Old Dominion University Photographic and Multimedia Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Perry Library, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, 23529.
- Old Dominion University Board of Visitors Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Perry Library, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, 23529.
- Bookman, Steven and Jessica Ritchie. Old Dominion University: A Campus History Series. Arcadia Publishing. Charleston, South Carolina, 2017.