The Women's Center

Mission: Serving the Old Dominion University community since 1976, the Women's Center offers programs and services to address the special challenges and opportunities women students encounter related to their personal and academic success. Also, recognizing the critical role that both women and men play in creating a world that is free of gender bias, our goals include promoting healthy relationships and a safe and equitable environment that is free of barriers to all persons. Center services seek to empower all students to achieve their personal, academic and professional potential.  


The Women's Center was "the brainchild of Pat Hyer, assistant to the dean of the School of Continuing Studies." Although the federal grant proposal she developed was turned down, she had laid out the basic plans for the Center which eventually received joint funding from the School of General Studies and School of Continuing Studies.

The ODU Women's Center was founded in October 1976 and is the oldest center on a Virginia college campus that has served students for nearly 30 years. Founded as part of a movement of new centers designed for adult women considering entry or reentry into education or the workforce, often after children were grown or after a divorce. Over the years, we have continued assisting women with personal and professional development and specifically with transition issues to enter or return to college/workforce. (

What the Center has done:

  • The Center offered continuing education courses from 1978-1996.
  • The Center sponsored four Take Back the Night Marches prior to and including 1983, which included nationally recognized speakers Andrea Dworkin and Sonia Johnson and a Take Back the Night Rally in the Spring of 2005.
  • Every Woman's Festival was sponsored annually from 1980-91
  • Sexual Assault Free Environment ( S.A.F.E. ) Programs offered from 1990-present
  • Women's Institute for Leadership Development ( W.I.L.D. ) 1996-present
  • The Center moved from the little house on "token row" to Webb University Center, November 1993
  • The Center was involved in First Annual Womengineers Day in April 2001
  • The Center produces a newsletter (which has changed its name over the years), distributes various brochures and informational flyers, and participates in many student fairs on campus.