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Teacher’s Impact Is a Lasting Gift

Del Karlsen

Del Karlsen ’74 endowed two scholarships through his will to benefit students at Old Dominion University.

Del Karlsen ’74 was born in Suffolk, Virginia, and spent most of his life in South Hampton Roads with the exception of a brief stint in the U.S. Navy. Ejner Karlsen, whose parents had emigrated from Denmark, raised Del and his brother, Jan, and taught them to better themselves through education. After the service, Del returned to the area and enrolled in Tidewater Community College.

Del graduated from the Portsmouth Campus of TCC in 1972 and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa honor society. From there he came to Old Dominion University where he earned his degree in secondary education, a master’s degree in education, and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in guidance and counseling.

Inspired by the relationships he built with his professors at ODU, Del wanted to be that same role model to his students. With that in mind, he became an academic counselor and associate professor, and later counselor for Veterans Affairs at the Virginia Beach Campus of TCC. He also spent many years as faculty advisor to the Student Government Association and Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Del was known for his easy style and good humor. When mixed with his strong organizational skills, he became a favorite of the students throughout his 30-year career. For Del, though, his reward was watching his students’ journeys through education, and he especially loved seeing them achieve advanced degrees and launch successful careers.

Del Karlsen and friends

Del passed away in December 2017, and his impact continues through the many students he helped influence throughout his career. But Del wanted to do even more, and felt he could accomplish that by endowing two scholarships through his will. At the same time, he was able to honor his father for inspiring him to seek a college degree.

His foresight to endow The Ejner Emil “Karl” Karlsen Scholarship for Future Teachers and The Ejner Emil “Karl” Karlsen Graduate Scholarship in Education has resulted in meaningful tuition for several ODU students each year. Through these scholarships, Del’s passion for students and their education will live on forever.

Influence Future Generations

To learn how you can make a meaningful impact on students’ futures at ODU, like Del Karlsen did, contact Barbara M. Henley, CFRE at 757-683-6563 or bhenley@odu.edu or Brett A. Smiley, CFRE at 757-683-4735 or bsmiley@odu.edu.

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