ODU And EVMS Are Merging, What Comes Next?


Credit to Old Dominion University.


On Thursday, Jan. 19, President Brian Hemphill sent an email invitation for an ODU-EVMS Integration Forum which is set to address the university’s upcoming merger with Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). The presentation, which will act as an information release and Q/A session, will take place on Monday, Jan. 30 at 2:00 p.m.. As of now, much of the details of this merger have been unreleased to the student population, but Hemphill and his cabinet aim to rectify that.


EVMS has resisted full affiliation with an undergraduate institution until this point, although it has considered mergers and engaged in partnerships with other universities in times past. Notably, in 2012, the College of William & Mary explored “the possibility” of “having EVMS become the William & Mary School of Medicine,” although the notion was scrapped in 2013 in favor of a research partnership.


More recently, EVMS and Norfolk State University announced a partnership in which both agreed to allocate $250,000 each towards the expansion of minority healthcare in the area and to allow NSU students to more easily gain entry into healthcare fields. NSU also sponsors a “Joint BS-MD Program,” in which traditionally underrepresented students are offered the opportunity to transfer to EVMS following their undergraduate studies, provided they meet certain academic criteria.


ODU’s merger with EVMS has been publicly discussed, although unconfirmed, since late 2020. Following a private study on the viability of the merger, the EVMS board ultimately voted on a policy of “no confidence” under the conditions presented at the time and opted for a “hard reset” on negotiations.

President Brian O. Hemphill and other executives at an early meeting to discuss “future collaboration” with EVMS. All credit to Old Dominion University.

In July of 2022, Hemphill issued a letter discussing ODU’s continued efforts in working with EVMS, hoping that their “partnership” would “address significant health disparities facing our region and its people.” He stated that “ODU is prepared to make a significant impact on our campus, in our community, and across the Commonwealth,” though he lamented that a “formal agreement [had] not been reached.”


In December of 2022, a representative of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced budget outlines and plans for the long-awaited launch of the Eastern Virginia Health Sciences Center at Old Dominion University. By the end of 2023, Youngkin’s office must receive comprehensive financial and strategic reports from both institutions, which must fall within the state’s $10 million budget for the “the one-time costs associated with planning and initial integration activities.”


As of yet, it’s not entirely clear how ODU and EVMS’ students, campus life, tuition, or faculty will be affected by ODU’s new right arm. The integration is expected to be implemented sometime in 2024.