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A Scholarship to Prepare Future Students for Successful Careers

William Edelstein with his dog

ODU alumnus William Edelstein with his dog Gail

William Edelstein grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, in a small neighborhood off West Little Creek Road. His father, Leonard, was a radioman during WWII, and became an accomplished electronics technician in his civilian career. He opened a repair shop at Ward’s Corner, which fueled William’s interest in the field. The shop later morphed into “The Record Shop.” During those years, William’s mother, Winifred, worked as a counselor for the Virginia Employment Commission.

William’s fascination in electronics intensified when he entered Granby High School and continued with his enrollment at Old Dominion University in the fall of 1971. He took a variety of courses in math and science, creating many friendships along the way. In 1974, he was selected for a contract position with NASA Langley, and that experience solidified his desire to complete his degree at ODU.

After a review of his credits in his junior year, William’s counselor suggested a track in physics. Many of his friends and interests were more aligned with engineering, but William wanted to graduate on time and start working. William’s degree at ODU equipped him for a long and successful career, and William found himself working on various Navy support projects including communications, training systems and computers. One of his most memorable projects was at the Elizabeth River Degaussing station where they decreased—or eliminated—the magnetic field of a ship to prevent it from being detected by underwater mines.

Through work, William met a successful owner of a defense consulting company in the Washington, D.C., area. William respected him a great deal—as a mentor and role model—and was especially impressed by his generosity. William learned that his friend had created a foundation to make charitable gifts to organizations he cared about. William decided then, that one day he would give back to the university that had prepared him for a long and successful career.

William Edelstein sailing

William sailing in his Hobie Cat

After retiring in 2008, William made a phone call to ODU’s Gift Planning Department. In that conversation, he learned that he didn’t need to establish a foundation, and just how easy it could be to create a scholarship for future ODU students through his estate plan. The William T. Edelstein Endowed Scholarship will provide much needed financial support for deserving students pursuing degrees in either the Batten College of Engineering or the College of Sciences. Enjoying retirement, William now stays busy doing the things he loves—bicycling, photography and sailing to the islands every winter. And he is especially happy knowing that a portion of his estate will help prepare future ODU students for long and successful careers, just as he enjoyed.

You can also make a lasting impact on future ODU students by leaving a gift in your estate plan. 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 to learn how to create a scholarship or to discuss other giving options.

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