1970: Old Dominion imposes its first nondiscrimination admissions policy. Later versions of the policy make Old Dominion the first institution in Virginia to include sexual orientation in its policy
1970: Mary Fleet becomes the only woman ever to compete for an Old Dominion men's team when she joins the swimming team
July 1970: Dr. Milton Reid, a preacher and local Civil Rights activist, is appointed as the first African American member of the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors. He served on the board from 1970-1973.
1972: Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 is passed outlawing sexual discrimination in federally aided educational institutions and activities; African Americans make up approximately 2 percent of the student population
1972: The first credit course dedicated to feminism, “Women in American History,” is offered and taught by Dr. Dorothy Johnson
September 1972: Jermone Nixon becomes the first African American ROTC Battalion Commander at Old Dominion
February 1973: Dr. A Rufus Tonelson, Assistant to the President for School and Community Relations, is named the first Affirmative Action Officer and Equal Opportunity Officer
1973: During the 1973-1974 academic year, Students for the Development of Black Culture is founded. This student organization was founded to focus on the culture of African Americans and be an umbrella organization for all other African American student groups on campus
1974: Delta Sigma Theta becomes the first African American sorority on campus
1974: The Women's Caucus, dedicated to the equality of faculty women at Old Dominion, is established.
1975: Old Dominion is among the first in the nation and the first university in Virginia to award athletic scholarships to women. The scholarship is named after Donna Doyle Smith, a standout athletic star at the Norfolk Division in the 1950s.
May 1975: At the May 1975 Commencement, D.K. Patel becomes the first student to receive a doctoral degree from Old Dominion, a Ph.D. in Engineering. Patel, originally from India, completed all the requirements for his degree in August of 1974
1976: Old Dominion becomes the first institution in Virginia, and one of the first in the country, to create a Women's Center to promote gender equality. The Women's Center primarily focused on serving older women returning to school.
1977: The Women's Studies Program, the first in Virginia, is founded and Carolyn Rhodes from the English Department runs the program during its pilot year. The program becomes permanent during the 1978-1979 academic year. By the end of the 20th century, Women's Studies becomes its own department and offers a Master of Arts degree, a graduate certificate, as well as Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees
1977: The Gay Alliance forms to fight state laws it felt discriminated against the gay and lesbian community, becoming the first gay and lesbian organization on campus
1977: Alpha Phi Alpha becomes the first African American fraternity on campus
1977: The Indian Students Association is founded
1977: Ebony Impact, a social organization for African American students at Old Dominion, is established. The organization would later form a gospel choir that would perform at various events around the community
September 1977: Mary Maniscalo becomes the first female Army ROTC Battallion Commander at ODU as well as in the Tidewater region.
1978: Dorothy Doumar is appointed Old Dominion's first female Rector of the Board of Visitors. A member of the Board of Visitors since 1972, she continues to serve until 1983
June 1978: The Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and Plan for 1978-1983 was adopted by the Board of Visitors
January 1979: Ulysses V. Spiva from Florida International University in Miami, Florida is selected as Dean of the School of Education, becoming Old Dominion's first African American dean
August 1979: Dr. Kenneth Gibson is named the head track and field and cross country coach, becoming the first African American head coach at Old Dominion
1979: Betty Diemer becomes only the second woman in the U.S. to lead an accredited School of Business when she is selected as Old Dominion's first female dean