By Philip Walzer

Capt. Janet Days ’99, the first Black woman to serve as commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval base, will be the keynote speaker at Old Dominion University’s Veterans Day observance.

The event will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 10 on Kaufman Mall (or the lobby of Webb University Center in case of inclement weather). To attend the ceremony, RSVP here.

Old Dominion President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., and Stephanie Trossbach, secretary of ODU’s Student Veterans of America chapter, will also give remarks. The ceremony will honor campus employees who are veterans, as well as Marine Corps veteran Wayne F. Handley, a doctoral student in counselor education and supervision.

“Old Dominion University has always had close ties to the military, and we are taking the time to say, ‘Thank you for your service,’” said Robert Clark, the University’s director of military activities and special projects. “This year, we are taking the opportunity to specifically recognize our very own ODU employees that are veterans. This special group of dedicated people has faithfully served their country and are now continuing that service right here at ODU.”

About 25% of Old Dominion’s students are affiliated with the military. The University was ranked No. 1 in Virginia in the Military Times’ Best for Vets rankings for 2022. ODU also has a gold ranking as a Military Friendly® School from 

Days received her commission through the Hampton Roads ROTC Consortium, which includes Old Dominion, Hampton, Norfolk State and Regent universities and Tidewater Community College. She described it as a “fantastic program.”

Days graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in communication. She later received a master’s degree in business administration from the Naval Postgraduate School.

She was also the first Black woman to serve as executive officer at Norfolk Naval Station. Her previous positions include executive officer and commanding officer of USS McFaul and executive officer and director of maritime warfare at Surface Warfare School Command in Newport, Rhode Island.

Days’ awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (seven times), Army Commendation Medal (two times), Army Achievement Medal and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

She recently was recognized as a Distinguished Alumna by the ODU Alumni Association. At Town-N-Gown’s annual meeting in June, she said, “my responsibility is to create an environment where people love their jobs and want to come to work.”

In other military-related events, Old Dominion will hold the Tri-Warrior Bowl, a flag football game between the Army and Navy ROTC, at 6 p.m. Nov. 1 at Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. It is free and open to the public.

Old Dominion’s Military Appreciation and NATO Day football game will be at the stadium Nov. 4, with the Monarchs facing Coastal Carolina. Halftime will feature a flag presentation including the NATO nations.

The University’s Veterans Business Outreach Center will hold a ceremony honoring veterans beginning with a networking reception 9:30 a.m. Nov. 9 at 140 Independence Blvd., Virginia Beach. Click here to RSVP.