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Monday, November 5, 2012


ODU's Title IX Trailblazers (l-r): Linda Vahala, Janis Sanchez-Hucles and Julie Dodd. Beth Anders was unable to attend the ceremony.
ODU 'Title IX Trailblazers' Honored at Nov. 1 Ceremony

Four current and former members of the Old Dominion community were honored Thursday at a campus celebration marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX.

A law passed in 1972, Title IX states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

The following ODU Title IX trailblazers were honored: Beth Anders, longtime field hockey coach; Julie Dodd, recently retired director of the Women's Center; Janis Sanchez-Hucles, professor emerita of psychology and former university faculty representative to the NCAA; and Linda Vahala, associate dean of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology (see biographical sketches below).

The awards ceremony, held at the Student Recreation Center, was open to the campus community. The free program also included games and prizes.

Joann Bautti, assistant director of the Women's Center, and ReNee Dunman, assistant vice president for institutional equity and diversity, co-chaired the program. Also on the program planning committee were: Lanay Newsom, Elizabeth Esinhart, Deborah Polca, Debbie White, Bridget Nemeth, Tancy Vandecar-Burdin, Michael Clark and Jean McClellan-Holt.

"It's really exciting because it was truly a campus-wide partnership. My committee consisted of Equity and Diversity, the Department of Athletics, Recreation and Wellness, the Women's Caucus and faculty representatives," Bautti said.

The trailblazers program was the second part of a two-part initiative to raise awareness on the 40th anniversary of Title IX. The first was an educational workshop that Bautti coordinated on Sept. 25 to provide professional development on sexual violence and Title IX. The Women's Center received federal funding through the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center to host the workshop.

The workshop featured Wendy Murphy, an adjunct law professor at New England Law/Boston where she has taught a seminar on sexual violence for more than a decade. A lawyer and impact litigator whose work led to the issuance of new Title IX guidance, Murphy is a former prosecutor who specializes in criminal justice policy, constitutional rights and the representation of victimized women and children.



Linda Vahala started her career at ODU as a research assistant professor in the physics department in 1984 and in 1985 made the switch to electrical and computer engineering. She became the first female faculty member to achieve tenure in electrical and computer engineering in 1994. She received the Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Award in 1999 and the prestigious Peninsula Engineer of the Year Award in 1995 (and at that time was the only ODU faculty member to have received the award).

In 2005, Vahala became the first female associate dean in the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology. The Kaufman Award winner from 2012, Brittany Gesner, named Vahala as her Most Inspiring Faculty Member. Vahala has also been an active member of the University Women's Caucus and has served as its president. Vahala's continued work with NASA as well as plasma and magnetohydrodynamics engineering are evidence of her continued distinction in the field of engineering.


Julie Dodd guided the ODU Women's Center development for 30 years as it transitioned from a center focused on re-entry issues for adult women in the community, to a comprehensive center providing education and advocacy on issues related to gender equity and inclusion for the campus community. She chaired the first campus-wide task force on sexual assault prevention in 1992, which evolved into the current Sexual Assault Free Environment Program.

Dodd initiated the Women's Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) in 1996 to promote women's leadership and empowerment, and was awarded a NAFSA grant, in collaboration with faculty member Jill Dustin, to increase participation of international women in WILD. She is the recipient of the University Women's Caucus Lifetime Achievement Award and has been recognized by the Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators for her significant contributions.


Janis Sanchez-Hucles was among the first women faculty members to join ODU's psychology department after earning her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She spent more than 32 years at ODU before recently retiring, having received tenure in 1984 and a promotion to full professor in 1996. While at ODU, she served as the assistant dean of the College of Sciences, graduate program director for the doctorate in clinical psychology, chair of the psychology department and acting vice president for graduate studies.

Sanchez-Hucles is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the A. Rufus Tonelson Award, which is the university's highest award for outstanding teaching, service and research. She was honored by the Women's Caucus for her sustained contributions to improving the lives of women at this university, and received the President's Award for her many contributions to diversity. One of Sanchez-Hucles' most enduring roles at ODU was her appointment as the university's NCAA faculty representative and chair of the university's Athletics Committee. She served in this capacity for 21 years, where she addressed athletic policies on a national as well as university-wide basis.


Beth Anders, the first Division I coach to reach 500 victories, completes her 30th and final season at the helm of the ODU field hockey program in 2012. After leading the Lady Monarchs to an NCAA record nine national titles and 29 appearances in the NCAA tournament, Anders has cemented her status as one of the elite coaches throughout intercollegiate athletics. Under her tutelage, the Lady Monarchs have achieved more honors than any other field hockey program in NCAA history. Among the most prestigious, Anders is the winningest NCAA Division I coach in history. Her Lady Monarchs have won the CAA crown 15 of 21 times since joining the league in 1991 and made 17 appearances in the NCAA Final Four.

Anders became the first Division I coach to reach the 400-career victory mark, a milestone only attained by seven other coaches in the sport. Her coaching experience has not been limited to the ODU sidelines. Internationally, Anders guided the 1984 U.S. National Team to the bronze medal in Olympics and has served as coach of the U.S. National Team.

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