Town-N-Gown Social Event, circa 1970-1979

The Town-N-Gown is an independent, informal association of men and women dedicated to developing a mutual understanding between Old Dominion University (ODU) and the various civilian and military communities of Greater Hampton Roads. Established as a social committee under the Faculty Wives Club, Town-N-Gown was established in 1965 by Dr. John R. Tabb, Dean of the School of Business at ODU, his wife, Waulda, and Hugh and Margie Jo Fortescue.

Presidents of Town-N-Gown


1971-1972: Elisabeth Burgess

1972-1973: Jane Montagna

1973-1974: Mrs. Ole S. Johnson

1974-1975: Mrs. Lawrence W. Lippincott

1975-1976: Burton S. Sherwood

1976-1977: Nancy MacCormack

1977-1978: James Guion

1978-1979: Karla Lawler

1979-1980: Robert L. Stern


1980-1981: Constance L. Ferebee

1981-1982: Robert F. Mathis

1982-1983: Joy Reed

1983-1984: William Wise

1984-1985: Barbara Martin

1985-1986: Robert L. Fodrey, Sr.

1986-1987: Edith White

1987-1988: A. Rufus Tonelson

1988-1989: Rita M. Costello

1989-1990: T. Jackson Reed


1990-1991: Margaretta Roper Smith

1991-1992: Clifford L. Adams

1992-1993: Frances Cake

1993-1994: Harry Clark

1994-1995: Stuart Cake

1995-1996: Dr. Betty Yarborough

1996-1997: Ralph Nahra

1997-1998: Lucille G. Sebren

1998-1999: Jean R. Hillegass

1999-2001: Lucille G. Sebren


2001-2003: Rita M. Costello

2003-2005: Earlye Lee Miller

2005-2006: Charlotte Fitzgerald

2006-2008: Floyd Friesen

2008-2009: Ralph Nahra

2009-2011: Mr. Duane Lougee


2011-2013: Bet Cake

Rita M. Costello Town-N-Gown Community Service Award Recipients

The Town-N-Gown Rita M. Costello Community Service Award recognizes individuals from many aspects of the Greater Hampton Roads community who have demonstrated unusual concern for and commitment to serving others. The recipients are recognized each year at Founders’ Day for cumulative and continuing service to the community over a period of years. The award is in honor of Rita M. Costello, who served as president of Town-N-Gown twice and held many other leadership positions in the organization over the years. She passed away in 2007.


1992: Ellen Harvey

1993: Clifford Adams; The Rev. Joseph N. Green

1994: Bessie M. Pender ’93; Harry R. Purkey ’68; Charles B. Sowell ’95

1995: Justine L. Nusbaum

1996: Juan Montero II, M.D.

1997: Ralph J. Nahra

1998: Constance C. Laws ’67; Junius H. Williams, Jr.

1999: A. Rufus (’33) and Sara H. (’66, 69′) Tonelson


2000: John R. Morison; Elaine P. Witty

2001: Joseph M. Donnelly; A. James English, Jr. ’82

2002: ODU College of Health Sciences; Hampton Roads Committee of 200+ Men, Inc.

2003: ACCESS – Tidewater Scholarship Foundation; ODU Office of Student Activities and Leadership

2004: American Red Cross of Southeastern Virginia; Dominion Virginia Power; Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia

2005: Urban League of Hampton Roads, Inc.; Linda F. Rohrer ’72; Theresa W. Whibley ’74, M.D.

2006: Alice Coles; William Drewry

2007: Rita M. Costello; Helen M. Bernd ’72; The Honorable Paul D. Fraim

2008: Jerry Bridges; Beverly K. Sell

2009: Hugh Copeland


2010: Karen Scherberger

2011: Julie Hill

2012: Roger Fuller ’72, ’76, ’81

2013: Gail Easley

2014: RADM Byron “Jake” E. Tobin, U.S.N. (Ret.)

2015: Paul and Susan Hirschbiel

2016: The Reverand Curtis Harris; William A. Hunton Family YMCA

2017: R. Stuart Cake

2018: Lynne Seagle, Executive Director of Hope House Foundation

2019:  Ruth Jones Nichols, CEO of Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore


2020: Robert Shoup, Founding Artistic Director of the Norfolk Street Choir Project


  1. Town-N-Gown Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.


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