Hampton University VP, Phillip Jones, Recognized as One of America’s Rising Leaders

HU VP for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning Scores National Rank for His Work as Mayor of Newport News, VA.

Hampton, Va. (June 5, 2023) – Hampton University VP for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning, Phillip Jones, has been named a NewDEAL leader for his work as Mayor of Newport News. He joins the ranks of national leaders including U.S. Delaware Senator Chris Coons, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and former Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams.

NewDEAL Leaders are pro-growth elected officials championing ideas to grow the economy, expand opportunity for all, and improve government operations. Jones was selected as one of 22 leaders from across the U.S. recognized for their efforts and vision.

Jones is currently serving as the 27th Mayor of Newport News, Virginia, where his eye is set on building the city to become an All-American hotspot by modernizing processes, leveraging partnerships, and elevating the city’s narrative on a national scale. Having a robust background in both the public and private sectors, Jones brings a wealth of experience to the mayoral seat. Before taking office, he led troops to support peacekeeping and security cooperation missions as a Marine Corps infantry officer. A leader of leaders, he steered end-to-end strategy for Fortune 500 companies, municipalities, and nonprofits, as a management consultant for a global firm.

Holding a pivotal role at the university, he drives the execution of HU’s strategic plan and supports institutional growth and efficiency goals.

In the wake of 9/11, Jones accepted a nomination to the United States Naval Academy, where he graduated with merit with a B.S. in History. He earned an M.S. in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School – where he served as a Tillman Scholar and Co-President of the Veterans Club.

For more information on the NewDeal, visit:  here.


Hampton University Mourns the Loss of April R. Haston Butts ’02, Alumna and Wife of University Trustee and Alumnus Calvin L. Butts, Jr. ‘02


Hampton, VA (June 2, 2023) – Hampton University mourns the loss of April R. Haston Butts ‘02 who passed away on June 1, 2023, while in hospice care. Haston Butts was the devoted wife of Calvin L. Butts, Jr. ’02, a dedicated University Trustee and an esteemed alum of the Hampton University Class of 2002, Onyx V.

Haston Butts, a native of Clifton, Virginia, earned her B.S. degree in business management summa cum laude from Hampton University. The mother of three, she served as Chief Financial Officer of CB3 Holdings, an angel investment group that helps build, develop, and leave generational wealth through investing and connects entrepreneurs to resources and networks that enhance their company’s goals and objectives. She provided guidance and expertise to the couple’s portfolio of family businesses which includes ownership of several successful healthcare, medical education, consulting, and marketing agencies.

Haston Butts was an active member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., a national organization of mothers with children ages 2 – 19, dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty. Her dedication to improving access to opportunities for African-American children is also reflected in her support of the students at her alma mater. She, along with Trustee Butts, generously supported and was deeply committed to the success of the programs and initiatives at her ‘Home by the Sea’ for many years.

The Butts were college sweethearts, having met on campus freshman year.

“Hampton University is grateful for the lasting impact that Mrs. Haston Butts and her family have had on the university,” said President Darrell K. Williams. “Her unwavering dedication to scholarship and higher education has touched the lives of countless individuals within the Hampton University family and beyond. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go out to the Butts family during this difficult time. Their loss will be deeply felt by all who knew and loved April. We honor her memory, her legacy, and the profound impact she has had on Hampton University.”

The family encourages frequent and early breast cancer screenings as well as your support of programs and initiatives that provide greater access to timely screening and diagnostic services.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the April Haston Butts Endowed Scholarship which can be made here: http://tinyurl.com/aprilhbutts


Project Inspired by “Peanuts” Character Franklin Armstrong Provides $100,000 in Endowments for Aspiring Artists at Hampton University


Hampton, Va. (June 2, 2023)Peanuts Worldwide fulfills the second of two gifts under “The Armstrong Project” – an initiative benefitting students at Hampton University. The project, named in honor of Charles Schulz’ iconic character, Franklin Armstrong, includes an annual scholarship for students studying arts, communications, animation, or entertainment. 

To enhance the program experience, The Armstrong Project offers mentorship and internship opportunities for students with individuals and companies in entertainment fields such as animation, film, and television.

“We are grateful to Peanuts Worldwide LLC for its investment in our students and other HBCUs involved in this initiative,” said Hampton University Chancellor and Provost Dr. JoAnn Haysbert. “Their commitment to renew will help ensure our students continue to receive a world-class education.”

Cartoonist Robb Armstrong, a longtime friend and colleague of Charles Schulz and the inspiration for Franklin’s last name, has been a consistent source of support throughout the creation of this important program and applauds the launch of The Armstrong Project.  “I’m very excited for the young aspiring artists [at Hampton University] who may have their lives changed by Peanuts, just as my life was changed by the inspiration and mentorship of Charles Schulz,” Armstrong said. “Sparky (Schulz) was a thoughtful and generous man who took seriously the hopes and dreams of young people. It is my hope that he would be thrilled by the potential of The Armstrong Project to help young people fulfill their ambitions.”

The character of Franklin emerged from a correspondence between Charles Schulz and a California schoolteacher named Harriet Glickman. Glickman wrote to Schulz after the assassination of Martin Luther King, suggesting that the introduction of Black characters into the comic strip could help change the “vast sea of misunderstanding, fear, hate and violence.” After much introspect and consideration, Schulz felt this was a step he could take authentically and introduced Franklin in the summer of 1968, making history in the process.

“It is incredibly moving to me that The Armstrong Project is intended to create positive change in the lives of young Black animators and artists, just as the character of Franklin did so many years ago,” said Jean Schulz, widow of Charles Schulz.


As an enhanced scholarship program, The Armstrong Project will also ensure mentorship and internship opportunities for the students with individuals and companies in entertainment fields such as animation, film, and television.

For more information, visit:  https://www.peanuts.com/the-armstrong-project


With the Peanuts Gang leading by (often humorous!) example, Take Care with Peanuts inspires and motivates action through online messages, kid-friendly animated videos, charitable opportunities, special curricula, social media engagement, pop-up experiences, and much more—reminding us to press ‘Pause’ and appreciate ourselves, those around us, and this place we call home.

For more information visit:  https://www.peanuts.com/take-care/about


Rich in history, steeped in tradition, Hampton University is a dynamic, progressive institution of higher education, providing a broad range of technical, liberal arts, and graduate degree programs. In addition to being one of the top historically Black universities in the world, Hampton University is a tightly-knit community of learners and educators, representing 49 states and 35 territories and nations that is committed to Delivering the #1 Student Experience in America.

For more information, visit:  https://home.hamptonu.edu/


Hampton University Awards Over $400,000 to Incoming Distinguished Scholars for the Fall Semester

Hampton Positions Academic Excellence Front and Center as an Institutional Standard

Hampton, Va. (May 31, 2023) – Hampton University pledged over $400,000 in tuition assistance to scholars who have indicated their intent to enroll as Hamptonians in the fall.

University President Darrell K. Williams made the announcement at the 200+ Scholars Breakfast held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.  The annual event, sponsored by the Hampton Roads Committee of 200+ Men, honors African-American high school males from area public and private schools who are graduating with a 3.0 or better GPA. 

“I am pleased to recognize the following outstanding scholars who have indicated their intent to enroll at Hampton University for the 2023-2024 academic year,” President Williams told the audience. The University awarded each recipient a $3000 grant for the 2023-2024 academic year and a four-year renewable merit scholarship:

  • Nicola Baker, Xavier Wallace and Anthony Artis will receive $7500 for a total of $33,000.
  • Cody Jackson, Jordan Paschal, and Kameron Jackson will receive $10,000 for a total of $43,000.
  • Clarence Bostic will receive $15,000 for a total of $63,000.
  • Darren Williams will receive $20,000 for a total of $83,000.
  • Michael Dwayne Anderson will receive $15,000, room scholarship, and a $2000 book stipend for a total of $99,368.

Hampton is projected to increase overall enrollment next year between 3500 to 3700. The university launched the 2023-2033 strategic plan, “Elevating Hampton Excellence,” and among its goal is to increase scholarship opportunities for students and develop innovative 21st-century leaders of character for our community, our nation and our world.


For more on the Hampton University 2023-2033 Strategic Plan information, visit: here

For more information on Hampton Roads Committee of 200+ Men, visit:  here

Hampton University Ranks in the Top 7.7% of   Universities Worldwide


Hampton, Va. (May 31, 2023) – Hampton University ranks in the top 7.7% of universities across the world and sits among the top six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), according to the 2023 edition of Global 2000 list by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), the largest academic ranking of global universities.

The (CWUR) uses several outcome-based indicators grouped into four areas to rank the world universities: Education based on the academic success of a university’s alumni; employability based on the professional success of a university’s alumni; Faculty measured by the number who have received top academic distinctions; and research output that is measured by the number of high-cited research articles and publications.

“While Hampton University is no stranger to exceptional public rankings,” said President Darrell K. Williams, “this recognition reflects the collective efforts of our incredible community of students, alumni, faculty, and staff whose consistent feedback and engagement keeps us aiming higher.”

About the Center for World University Rankings

The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) is a leading consulting organization providing policy advice, strategic insights, and consulting services to governments and universities to improve educational and research outcomes. CWUR publishes authoritative global university rankings, known for objectivity, transparency, and consistency, which are trusted by students, academics, university administrators, and governments from around the world. For more information, visit: here.


Hampton President Darrell K. Williams Achieves Coveted Rank on Inside Business Power List


Hampton, Va., (May 26, 2023) – Adding to a list of exceptional firsts, President Darrell K. Williams has been named to the 2023 Inside Business Power List. The university president is listed among 60 Power Players having the most influence to drive economic growth in Hampton Roads. This recognition affirms coastal Virginia’s energizing response to his leadership and the impact President Williams yields as he establishes his legacy on campus and beyond.

Annually published, the Power List is a curation of Hampton Roads’ who’s-who with a special interest in changemakers actively shaping vital sectors of the community. President Williams, a 1983 alumnus, demonstrates commitment to collaborating with the community at-large, aiming to fortify the region by fostering workforce opportunities that attract and retain desirable talent.

Williams took office July 1, returning to his Home by the Sea after a dynamic run at Leidos, a Fortune 250 technology company, where he served as Vice President and Managing Director of a global $9 billion contract with United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense Logistic Commodities Services Transformation (LCST).

The Retired U.S. Lieutenant General is proud to lead Hampton and its global network of supporters into a new era. Charting a course to deliver the #1 student experience in America, the president sets out to produce young men and women of character who are prepared to assume positions as world leaders. For more information, visit: https://home.hamptonu.edu/


Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Awards Hampton University Museum $1,000,000 Grant to Bolster Cultural Legacy

Mellon Grant Catalyzes Initiatives That Support the Evolution and Sustainability of Institutions Focused on Place-Based Storytelling, Curation, and Human Connection


Hampton, Va. (May 22, 2023) – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (the “Foundation”) announced today that the Hampton University Museum is a recipient of the 2023 Humanities in Place granta transformative boost for the nation’s oldest African American museum.

The award will be used over 36 months to support preservation assessment, capital improvements for the University Museum and Clarke Hall, the restoration of the Charles White mural, and related programming.

“The funding from the Mellon Foundation, Humanities in Place award will afford the museum an opportunity to become more proactive about the preservation of the university’s historic buildings and landmark,” says Dr. Vanessa Thaxton-Ward, Museum Director. 

Aligned with Hampton’s 2023-2033 Strategic Plan, the grant underscores University President Darrell K. Williams’ objective of enhancing operations and campus infrastructure – two integral components of delivering the #1 Student Experience in America.

The Foundation works with artists, curators, conservators, scholars, and organizations to ensure equitable access to excellent arts and cultural experiences and support approaches that place the arts and artists at the center of thriving, healthy communities.

The University Museum brings its remarkable collection to the public through an array of initiatives spotlighting the permanence of cultural artifacts and the relevance of history on display in the 21st century.

The Hampton University Museum is located in the Huntington Building on the Hampton University campus and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  It is currently closed on the weekends and major holidays. Admission is free. Call 757.727.5308 

For more information, visit https://www.mellon.org/ 

For more information, visit:  https://home.hamptonu.edu/msm/ 


Hampton University Convenes Religious Leaders to Discuss Tools for Transforming Congregations, Communities and Cultures at 109th Ministers’ Conference, June 4th-8th

The Rev. Dr. Gina Stewart, 2023 Conference Preacher

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Hampton, Va. (May 25, 2023) – The 109th Annual Ministers’ Conference and 89th Choir Director’s & Organists’ workshop, the nation’s largest and longest-running gathering of interdenominational African-American clergy, will be held June 4-8th on campus.

With the theme, “Tools for Transforming Congregations, Communities, and Cultures,” this year’s conveners will attend sermons and sessions to help inform their theology and enrich their delivery of ministry. This year’s conference also marks the first for newly-inaugurated Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams who will share details of the institution’s 10-year strategic plan on Monday, June 5 at 7 p.m. in the Convocation Center.

The Rev. Dr. Gina Stewart, senior pastor of Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, TN, will serve as this year’s conference preacher. Additional speakers and session leaders include:

· The Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman, author, and teacher at Yale University Divinity School, and assistant minister of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY

· The Rev. Sheleta Fomby, co-pastor of the New Life Church, Inc. in Laurel Maryland

· The Rev. Dr. John Faison, senior pastor of Watson Grove Baptist Church (The Grove) in Nashville, TN and Franklin, TN

· The Rev. Dr. Luke Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel and associate professor of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School

· The Rev. Jennifer Watley Maxell, preacher, teacher, and co-founder of The Breakthrough Fellowship in Smyrna, Georgia, and

· Bishop Adam Richardson, Jr., author and 115th Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, from Louisville, Kentucky.

The Ministers’ Conference began in 1914 when the Negro Organizational Society, the Conference for Education in the South, the Southern Education Board, and the Cooperative Education Board sought to address the growing concerns of the African-American church and its relationship to the community. Past attendees have included the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1962; the Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker of Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York; the Rev. Jesse Jackson; the Rev. Al Sharpton; Bishop T.D. Jakes; and in 2007, U.S. President Barack Obama.

“The welcoming of clergy from all Christian denominations is what originally set Hampton’s conference apart from the rest and has led to the success seen today,” said Rev. Debra Haggins, university chaplain and conference convener. “This enduring vision of the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference is a model of non-sectarian interdenominational cooperation in the African-American church and in the world.” To register to attend the Conference, click here.


Hampton University Mourns the Loss of Prolific Media Trailblazer and Beloved Professor Maynard Eaton


Hampton, Va., (May 24, 2023) – Hampton University mourns the loss of Professor Maynard Eaton, who died late Tuesday evening in his sleep after a brief battle with lung cancer, according to his family. Eaton was an eight-time Emmy Award winner, was honored by the National Newspaper Publishers Award (NNPA) and won multiple honors from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

The highly regarded broadcast journalist returned to his Home by the Sea as an Endowed Professor in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications in 2022.  Eaton began his career in 1970 as WVEC-TV’s first African-American newsman, after graduating from Hampton Institute’s Mass Media Arts Program.  He went on to earn a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

“The passing of Maynard Eaton is a tremendous loss to the entire Hampton University family. Equally, his is a loss to the media profession and society,” said HU President Darrell K. Williams. “In this era when the media has the power to influence our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, Professor Eaton’s body of work reminds us to pursue and protect excellence and fairness in our exchange of ideas, thoughts, and information.”

Eaton’s career spanned more than five decades and he left a legacy of impactful reporting and social change that includes his time as a reporter for The Atlanta Voice. Eaton conducted numerous high-profile news reports and interviews with heads of state, political giants, renowned entertainers, athletes, and civil rights leaders. For the past decade, he served as National Communications Director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the legacy organization established by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

“The Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications is saddened to learn of Professor Eaton’s transition from this earthly life,” said Dean Julia A. Wilson.  “He provided a mature perspective on journalism to our students and will be sorely missed.”

Eaton is renowned as a multi-award-winning broadcast journalist, political columnist, media/public relations consultant, freelance writer, and executive editor. Eaton’s impact will be felt through the voices of the journalists he has trained and mentored during tenures as a professor at both Clark-Atlanta and Hampton universities.

“His wife Robin and family have our prayers for strength and comfort.  May he rest in peace,” said Dean Wilson.  

Burial plans have not been announced.  Eaton was 73.


Col. Joseph Briggs (USA, Retired) Receives 2023 Outstanding Alumnus-at-Large Award


Hampton, Va. (May 19, 2023) – Hampton University honored Col. Joseph Briggs (USA, Retired), Class of 1963, with the 2023 Alumnus-At-Large Award, joining a long list of luminaries who have received the institution’s highest recognition of its world-changing graduates at spring Commencement ceremony on May 14.

Col. Briggs, a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., has over 30 years of result-oriented progressive engineering management experience with practical leadership and management positions within highly competitive and diversified organizations. His military assignments included serving as the District Engineer of a five-state area encompassing over 150,000-square miles of civil works and environmental protection programs for two of those states.

The Brooklyn native graduated with a B.S. in Architectural Engineering and was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After serving both state-side and overseas assignments, including combat in South Vietnam, he earned his master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970, and subsequently taught and trained cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

He spent nearly a half-dozen years with the Library of Congress as their Chief of Facilities before retiring from his civilian duties. Immediately following his retirement from the U.S. Army, he became a Vice President and Project Director for the Metcalf & Eddy Waste Water Company serving as the project lead for the Blue Plains Water Treatment Facility in Washington, D.C. He also served as project lead for the Water and Sewage Treatment Plant in Detroit, Michigan, on a 750 million-gallon-a-day Pumping Station.

Highly regarded for his boundless enthusiasm and affection for his alma mater, Col. Briggs is known as a “fundraiser extraordinaire,” who connects important causes with supporters willing to invest in humanity. He has chaired the annual gala for the Northern Virginia Chapter for seven consecutive years and led that chapter in developing two endowed scholarships for Hampton students. He served as vice president of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the National Hampton Alumni Association, Inc., for more than ten years and co-leader of the Emeritus class. He was honored by the NHAA, Inc. with the inaugural “Let Your Life Do the Singing” Award recipient at the 2022 NHAA, Inc. National Gala in New York.

Col. Briggs is an active member of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, and a staunch supporter of the church’s annual college fair where he played an instrumental role in fundraising for the Church to make its historic $1M gift to the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C.

Col. (Ret.) Briggs is married and has three children and three grandchildren. For more information on Alumni activities, click here.


Hampton University Announces 2023 Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient

Educator Exemplifies Leadership Among Peers,Teacher-Scholar Model and Student Achievement


Hampton, Va. (May 19, 2023) – Dr. Demetris L. Geddis, Assistant Dean and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering, SET – Electrical and Computer Engineering, received the 2023 Edward L. Hamm, Sr. Distinguished Teaching Award, an annual recognition of faculty excellence awarded by Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams during Commencement ceremony.

The award, endowed in 1994 by former Hampton University Trustee Edward L. Hamm, Jr., in honor of his father, recognizes one or two full-time faculty members who have been nominated by their peers and students and selected by the President. The award may be used to advance the scholar’s professional, intellectual, or cultural development.

Dr. Geddis earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Hampton University and Master of Science and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to joining HU, Dr. Geddis was an Associate Professor at Norfolk State University where he served as a Graduate Program Coordinator, Department Advising Coordinator, and Director of the Micro- and Nano- Technology Center Cleanroom. 

Dr. Geddis serves as the Vice-Chair of the Hampton Roads Section of IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. He is also Chair of the Photonics Society of Hampton Roads.  

For more information on the Hampton University Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, click: here


Renowned Attorney and Financial Services Expert Felicia M. Gardner Receives 2023 Outstanding 20-Year Alumni Award


Hampton, Va. (May 19, 2023) – Hampton University honored Felicia M. Gardner, Esq., ’03, with the 2023 Outstanding 20-Year Alumni Award at its spring 2023 commencement ceremony on May 14.

The Charlotte, North Carolina, resident, was recognized for her distinguished career in the legal and financial services industries. As Associate General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Bank of America, Gardner led a team of eight associates and managed the bank’s employment-related litigation, agency charges and investigations, and compliance matters. Specifically, she worked to ensure enterprise compliance with the U.S. Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). She also monitored for, analyzed, and translated compensation law updates and cases surrounding pay transparency, payroll practices, wage and hour matters, and more. She managed a complex settlement through mediation; orchestrated end-to-end evaluations and process reviews to ensure OFCCP compliance, including downstream implications across the global human resources division; and advised on strategy for transformational process improvements.

Gardner, who earned her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown Law Center and B.S. summa cum laude from Hampton University, recently joined Moore & VanAllen PLLC as a member of their Employee Benefits and Compensation team. She launched her career at Johnson & Johnson, serving as a financial analyst to eventually become Senior Financial Analyst. In 2009, she joined the international law firm of McGuire Woods, LLP and rose through the ranks as an associate and then partner until 2018.

Gardner was recognized as a Charlotte Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree in 2021 and named to the Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list in 2019. She is an involved member of the Junior League of Charlotte, YMCA of Greater Charlotte, including as a member of its Diversity and Inclusion Global Committee, and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. She is a dedicated volunteer with Thompson Child & Family Focus.

The Outstanding 20-Year Alumni Award is presented to those who have made significant contributions in their chosen fields, demonstrated the importance of their education at Hampton University, participated in leadership roles within the community, and proven a commitment to their alma mater. Gardner was nominated by the National Hampton Alumni Association, Inc.

For more information about Alumni activities, click here.