Webb University Center

Webb University Center, 1967

Webb University Center is the main community center at Old Dominion University (ODU). Known familiarly as “The Webb,” the building was named in honor of Lewis W. Webb, Jr., the first president of Old Dominion. The center also houses offices for Student Engagement and Enrollment Services, Auxiliary ServicesOffice of Intercultural Relations, Women’s Center, student organizations, dining options, meeting rooms, Langley Federal Credit Union, and the Monarch Market. Before they merged with Langley Federal Credit Union, the Old Dominion University Credit Union was located inside Webb University Center from 2005 to 2018,

Lewis W. Webb, Jr. with students, circa 1955


In the fall of 1965, plans were announced for a new student center and a campus mall between 47th and 48th Streets. The new center would replace Bud’s Emporium, the current dining option at the time, which had moved to the Administration Building (Rollins Hall) from the Old Larchmont School. Originally named the Lewis Webb College Center when it opened in 1966, the building housed a cafeteria, bookstore, lounge areas, a game room, meeting rooms and offices for student organizations. Over time, as enrollment at the university grew, many renovations took place at the Webb, the most recent renovation was completed in 1993, with the addition of two wings on the north and south side, encompassing over 83,000 square feet.  From 2005 to 2006, the House of Blue offered alcohol to students for the first time since the 1980s. After it closed down, the food court in Webb is referred to as the House of Blue. In 2019, Cafe 1201, one of the cafeteria’s in Webb, was renamed Ruby’s Cafe after Ruby Milteer, an employee who worked in dining services for over 50 years. Today, Webb University Center continues to be the main hub of student activity on campus.


A popular student hangout, the Rathskeller, or “the Rat,” was ODU’s first and only bar, located in Webb Center. Opened in 1979, the Rat could seat 160 people, offered beer at 40 cents per glass, had a color television, and provided a venue for bands to play. However, with the increase of the drinking age to 21 in 1985, most of the students were too young to drink, and the bar closed in 1988.

Band Performing at the Rat, circa 1980-1989


  1. Old Dominion University Photographic and Multimedia Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Perry Library, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, 23529.
  2. Office of the President, Lewis W. Webb, Jr. Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Perry Library, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, 23529.
  3. Old Dominion University: A Half-Century of Service, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va., 1980.
  4. Building the University, Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Exhibit, 2005.


  1. Bookman, Steven and Jessica Ritchie. Old Dominion University: A Campus History Series.  Arcadia Publishing. Charleston, South Carolina, 2017.