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What an Amazing Journey

Michele Mulich

Michele Mulich established a scholarship to support female athletes studying IT, combining her passion for ODU, Monarch athletics and her work in IT.

Like many college graduates, Michele Mulich was enjoying life and focused on her career, giving little thought to her alma mater. Then, she received a phone call that changed everything.

Michele grew up in a Navy family that moved around the country during her childhood—from Kanas City to Portsmouth, to California, back to Hampton Roads, back to California, and finally to Virginia Beach. Michele finished high school at Green Run and found her calling after taking a computer programing class as an elective. She knew then she was destined for a career in IT.

Michele enrolled at ODU and loved her time there. She found the classes to be exciting and challenging, and her free time was spent with great friends while cheering for Monarch sports, especially basketball. After graduating in 1985 with a degree in management information systems from the Strome College of Business, Michele was offered an exciting job in IT at the Norfolk International Terminals just minutes away from the ODU campus. This was the start of another leg in her journey.

From NIT, Michele concentrated on advancing her career, which led her to Nashville, then Roanoke and then Minneapolis. However, her travels were far from over. Her new position substantially increased her work travel. As a single woman concentrating on her career, this fit her lifestyle well. That was until a fateful day that would become a major mark on her journey.

Michele was sitting in an airport on the morning of September 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked two planes and flew them into the twin towers in New York City.

Michele quickly realized anything could happen to anyone at any time. That prompted her into action, and she decided to put her estate plan in order. However, when it came to selecting beneficiaries of her estate, she kept thinking about ODU.

Michele MulichMichele decided she wanted to give back to the University that had helped prepare her for a rewarding career and amazing journey. However, it never occurred to her to let anyone at ODU know about her plans, and time moved on. She took yet another career opportunity taking her all the way to California.

That's when the phone call came. It was 2006, and ODU was reaching out to alumni to garner interest and opinion about the possibility of starting a football program. Michele was a proud Monarch and had financially supported the University here and there, but ODU had not been at the top of her mind. Somehow something changed during that phone call. Suddenly, Michele was filled with excitement and school spirit. She emphatically said yes and wanted to be a part of it!

Shortly thereafter, Michele was offered yet another job opportunity that brought her back to the East Coast, and closer to friends and family. ODU's plan to launch the football program had already begun. She bought season tickets and found herself coming back to campus for football and basketball games, and eventually she began traveling to away games and tournaments.

But it wasn't until she met with a gift officer from Athletics that she shared her decision to name ODU as the sole beneficiary of her estate. That led to a conversation with an ODU gift planning officer where she learned she could turn her future gift into something more personal, and she became even more excited.

Ultimately, Michele was able to create a scholarship for a future ODU female student-athlete studying IT. It was the perfect match. "Now, I have something new to live and work toward," she says. While Michele's journey is far from over, she recently relocated back to Hampton Roads. Out of all the places Michele has ever lived, she's chosen to be as close to her alma mater as possible!

Discover how you can join Michele in making a difference at ODU. Contact Barbara M. Henley, CFRE at or 757-683-6563, or Brett A. Smiley, CFRE at or 757-683-4735 to learn more.

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