Technical Institute

Technical Institute, May 1948

The Technical Institute was one of the larger programs of the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary and provided vocational skills for those over 16 in areas such as auto mechanics, drafting, photography, and air conditioning repair.


Before World War II, the Norfolk Division established the Aircraft Instruments Institute was established in 1938 to teach students how to repair aircraft. Classes in civil aeronautics and flight training were introduced the following year. These classes were taught by instructors from the naval air station. In 1939, the division was the site of a new branch of the Engineering, Science, and Management War Training Program, providing free classes during World War II for students to attain the skills necessary to help with the war effort. Some of the classes included aircraft mechanics, topographic mapping, and civil aeronautics. By the end of t he war, over 5,000 students had taken war training courses at the Norfolk Division, including women, and it was one of the largest programs on the East Coast. An outgrowth of the war training program, the Technical Institute opened in 1948 in an appropriated Army barrack. Located where the Barry M. Kornblau Alumni Center is today, the building contained six classrooms and workshops as well as space for offices. In 1959, as a response to the growth of the program, the Technical Institute moved into the Technology Building, now known as the Health Sciences Building, between 46th Street and 47th Street along Hampton Boulevard. With Virginia’s growing community college system and other vocational schools, as well as the establishment of an independent Old Dominion College in 1962, the Technical Institute was phased out in the early 1960s.


  1. Old Dominion University Photographic and Multimedia Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Perry Library, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, 23529.
  2. ODU Photographic Collection, Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Collections, Old Dominion University Libraries.
  3. 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.