The Strome Entrepreneurial Center is open for business.
At a dedication ceremony on Old Dominion University’s Kaufman Mall, the innovative new center—which will aid aspiring student entrepreneurs campus-wide—had its grand opening on Thursday, Sept. 25. University alumnus Mark Strome and his wife Tammy were lauded for their commitment to ODU.
An $11-million gift from the Strome Family Foundation provides the support to create the Center and its campus-wide curriculum.
“Building a culture of entrepreneurship to catalyze economic development in Virginia is one of Old Dominion’s strategic goals. We are grateful to Mark and Tammy Strome for giving us the ability to nurture and grow the practice of entrepreneurship,” ODU President John R. Broderick said in introducing Mark Strome.
Broderick said Old Dominion University has helped grow the Hampton Roads economy throughout its existence, and the Strome Entrepreneurial Center will enhance that capability. And it won’t just be business students doing the innovation, the President said.
“The fact that the Center is located outside the Strome College of Business sets us apart from other universities. At Old Dominion, our entrepreneurial spirit has no academic boundaries. Students have access to entrepreneurship courses in every college and at the Center, they are expertly guided across the entire entrepreneurial life cycle.”
In his remarks, Mark Strome said his vision for the Center is to help fuel that economic engine, for entrepreneurs, and for the region, calling entrepreneurship the “secret sauce” that helps the economy flourish.
“Entrepreneurs create jobs. And when a person has a job, he’s empowered,” Strome said. “I’m hopeful that this Center will be a gateway for those with the right stuff.”
The Strome Entrepreneurial Center dedication also featured the induction of the inaugural class in the ODU Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame inductees William E. Lobeck, EO, Vanguard Rental USA Car; Jamie Grooms, CEO of the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research; Ting Xu, Founder of Evergreen Enterprises; and John Lawson, CEO of W.M. Jordan Company, were introduced by Broderick and Strome.
Lobeck, Grooms and Xu are Old Dominion University graduates.
After the official program ended, attendees were offered an opportunity to tour the new Strome Entrepreneurial space on the ground floor of the Visual Arts Building, facing Kaufman Mall. The collaborative space will provide idea to market support for student entrepreneurs, and be the centerpiece for a campuswide entrepreneurial curriculum, with courses offered in every ODU college.
For information about entrepreneurship at Old Dominion University, and the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, visit the Center website.