RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Mark Warner said last week that Old Dominion University became the first public institution of higher education in Virginia to use eVA -- the state's Internet procurement system -- for all of its purchasing.

"I am proud of ODU for its aggressive movement to employ electronic business tools," Gov. Warner said in a statement. "ODU sets an example for other public colleges and universities to take all the necessary steps to use eVA for all of their purchasing and to make it possible for the commonwealth to leverage its combined buying power to save money."

The university has successfully developed an interface between its financial management system and Virginia's electronic procurement system, which allows all university purchasing to be done electronically through a centralized network.

The interface was necessary step because the highly decentralized acquisition of computer systems by state agencies and institutions in the past has resulted in the inability of those various computer systems to communicate with each other.

The university has taken the lead on developing this interface and is collaborating with other institutions on the adoption of eVA.

"Applying eVA to our business operations fits into our overall e-business strategy for enhancing business services," said Bob Fenning, ODU vice president for administration and finance. "eVA has been received with enthusiasm by the university because it brings state-of-the-art tools to meet this institution's procurement needs of the future."

Virginia's statewide e-procurement system is one of the biggest in the nation and was recently ranked first in a survey by the National Center for Digital Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

In little more than a year, $400 million in state purchases have been processed entirely electronically through the network, and eVA currently has more than four million products listed on the Internet. Virginia officials also said the system is used by 169 state agencies and institutions and 171 local governments.