ODU’s Nursing Program Finally Has Its Own College – and a New Dean


ODU’s former “School of Nursing” logo, which will now become its own “College of Nursing.” All rights and Credit to Old Dominion University and Virginia Nurses Association.

By Justice Menzel, News Editor

For years, ODU’s nursing program has stood on its own as “the largest of [ODU’s] five professional schools in the College of Health Sciences.” The school’s use of online and “distance learning” programs is characteristic of ODU’s reputation as a commuter school and has brought them prestige. 


U.S. News and World Report has frequently ranked them in the top 25% of online nursing programs. But with ODU’s upcoming merger with EVMS, the nursing school has received a much needed upgrade. With increased funding and support, it will branch off from the College of Health Sciences to become its own College of Nursing. 


With a new college comes new leadership, and Dr. Suzanne Wright has been promoted to Interim Dean. Dr. Wright first came to ODU in 2021 to become Chair of the nursing department after previously working as a full-time professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. 


Dr. Suzanne Wright, the Interim Dean of ODU’s College of Nursing. All Rights and Credit to Old Dominion University.

In addition to receiving her Ph.D at VCU, she spent much of her career in Richmond, working as a full-time VCU nursing professor for almost twenty years. During her time as Chair of ODU Nursing, she served as a member of a few administrative committees; namely the EVMS/ODU Integration Clinical Affairs Committee.


Commenting on her promotion, Dr. Wright said that she plans to make “measurable progress” on increasing the nursing school’s prestige by “promoting faculty and staff, serving all students, respecting our industry partners for their role in our success, and establishing an outreach plan to connect with alumni.” 


Austin Agho, Provost and ODU’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, stated that “as its own entity and with Dr. Wright at the helm, the School of Nursing will be well-positioned to deliver an exceptional workforce to meet the increasing demand.”


A demand for a nursing school is noticeable, with ODU having “1,013 declared and intended undergraduate nursing majors.” For the 2021-2022 school year, “ODU awarded 222 undergraduate [nursing] degrees.”


ODU and EVMS are expected to experience “full integration” by January 1, 2024, with a $10 million budget awarded by Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration. A formal opening date for the College of Nursing has yet to be announced.