In 1977, long before most of today's college students were born, Old Dominion University President Alfred Rollins declared in an address to the faculty that too many ODU graduates were unable to write clearly and correctly.
So the university was going to do something about it, Rollins said. Henceforth, no one would graduate without passing a writing proficiency exam.
For generations of ODU students, the Exit Examination of Writing Proficiency has been a constant of college life. For years, the three-hour writing test was believed to be the only one of its kind among Virginia public colleges and universities.
The university wore it as a badge of honor. A later president, James Koch, called the exam "our academic equivalent of the Good Housekeeping seal of approval."