Barry Kornblau
Barry Kornblau
ODU Athletics

Minium: ODU President John R. Broderick played a big role in persuading Barry Kornblau to make large donation

January 29, 2019
By ODU Athletics

By Harry Minium

The Old Dominion University Board of Visitors unanimously has agreed to name the playing field at ODU's S.B. Ballard Stadium to honor Richmond-area alumnus Barry Kornblau.

Kornblau recently donated $3 million for the stadium reconstruction. Beyond that, he has has given more to the University's athletic program than any other individual, said Alonzo Brandon, ODU's vice president for university advancement. He has donated to the Old Dominion Athletic Foundation, the fundraising arm of the athletic department, for 40 consecutive years.

"I'm pleased the playing field will be named for Barry Kornblau, an alumnus who cares so deeply for Old Dominion," President John R. Broderick said.

"He provided thoughtful leadership on the Board of Visitors during a critical time, when we were planning the University Village.

"Barry has given us his time and talent and is one of our most generous philanthropists. I can't think of anyone else more deserving of this honor than him."

Lisa B. Smith, the rector of the ODU Board of Visitors, said the University is honoring Kornblau for his lifetime giving.

"Throughout his adult life, he's been a steadfast friend of the University and one of our strongest supporters," she said.

ODU President John R. Broderick and his wife Kate are both close with Barry Kornblau. 

Kornblau said he will be excited to see his name on the stadium's artificial turf, "but I'm more excited about seeing the new stadium itself."

"I didn't do this to have my name put on the field," he added. "I did this to help Old Dominion pay for the new stadium."

In part because of Kornblau's donation, ODU has raised nearly $30 million of the $40 million that Broderick set as a five-year fundraising goal for athletics in 2017. ODAF set a yearly fundraising record of $16.1 million in 2018.

"If I'm still alive as we get further along and we need to increase the stadium size, I'll probably make another gift," said Kornblau, who graduated in 1971 with a degree in political science.

Kornblau credited Broderick and Alonzo Brandon, ODU's vice president for academic development, for persuading him to make the most recent donation.

"They both asked me to," he said. "I have to think about it for a month.

"But I had the money and my kids were in favor of it. President Broderick said he would much rather name the field for an alumnus than for a corporation. The more we talked, the more I realized that he was right, that it should be named for someone who loves ODU."

Athletic Director Wood Selig praised Kornblau's dedication to ODU.

"No one is more invested in ODU than Barry," Selig said. "He's perhaps our most passionate fan, and he backs up his passion and interest with his philanthropic support. One of his main motivations is to model the way for others to join and help assist ODU."

Profile of Barry Kornblau

Virtually all of the original stadium, which had long outlived its useful life, was demolished in November to make way for new seating and amenities. The stadium is undergoing the first phase of its renovation, which is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2019 football season.

Drew Turner (left) and Jena Virga (right) both played a big role in persuading Barry Kornblau to donate $3 million to ODU.

ODU officials bid an emotional farewell to Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium in November that included a video tribute to the history of the stadium and a fireworks display. Players from all of ODU's nine previous teams participated.

Peggy Bartlett and Herbert Foreman Hargroves, the remaining grandchildren of the stadium's original namesake, A.H. Foreman, participated and turned out the old stadium lights for the last time.

The legacy of A.H. Foreman, who procured most of the funding for the original stadium in 1936, will live on at the new venue.

Greg DuBois, ODU's vice president for administration and finance, said a wall will be constructed on the east concourse with a casting of the name "Foreman Field" and the Norfolk city seal from the original stadium.

ODU will also have "plaques of legends" on both sides of the east gate entry. A history wall, with a historical timeline exhibit, will be built with a section of salvaged brick from the stadium demolition.

"If we hadn't had Foreman Field, Old Dominion would not have football," Kornblau said. "It's an important part of our history and I'm glad it will be memorialized."

Kornblau, 69, said he's indebted to ODU for all it has meant to him.

"I feel like I owe much of my success in life to the education I received at Old Dominion," he said.

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