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Hampton University Names Alumnus and Retired Three-Star General Darrell Williams as New President

Williams brings strong leadership, diverse experience to Virginia HBCU

HAMPTON, Va. (April 13, 2022) – U.S. Army retired Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, a 1983 graduate of Hampton University, will serve as the institution’s next president.

Williams, chosen president on March 30 by the university’s Board of Trustees, brings four decades of proven success in leading complex military and commercial business enterprises, as well as nonprofit and academic leadership experience, Board of Trustees Chairman Wes Coleman said. 

“Running a university is complex, as was made evident by the global pandemic. When President Harvey told us of his decision to retire, we knew we wanted to build upon what he has accomplished,” said Coleman. “We embarked on a search for a proven strategic leader. The skills Lt. Gen. Williams is bringing to Hampton encompass what institutions of our size need. In a global world increasingly dependent on technology, this kind of strategic leadership expertise and knowledge can only help to move our institution forward over the coming decades.”

Williams will succeed President William R. Harvey, who retires on June 30 after leading Hampton for 44 years.

Williams said he is honored to be chosen as Hampton’s 13th president and is looking forward to “returning to serve.”  

“I love Hampton and bring a wealth of strategic leadership experiences, including management of large global organizations, as well as the academic and nonprofit experience necessary to successfully lead the university,” Williams said. “I am thrilled to have been selected as the next president. I will work tirelessly with students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community to prepare our graduates for today and for the continuously evolving, technology-driven workforce of tomorrow.” 

Williams, of Alexandria, Virginia, is presently employed by Leidos, a Fortune 250 technology company, and serves as the Leidos United Kingdom vice president and managing director of the U.K. Ministry of Defence Logistics Commodities and Services Transformation (LCST) programme, providing global logistical support to U.K. military forces. Williams attributes his business and leadership roles at Leidos with helping to prepare him for this next exciting chapter at Hampton.  

Williams retired from the U.S. Army in 2020 after 37 years of service. His last leadership position was as the first African American and 19th director of the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). He oversaw a global workforce of over 26,000 civilian and military professionals. Under his watch, the DLA annually provided over $40 billion in global logistical support to all U.S. military services, designated international partner and allied military services, and 42 U.S. government organizations and federal agencies. During the early stages of the pandemic, the DLA provided over $1 billion in COVID-19 relief to the DoD and other federal agencies.  

From 2015 to 2017, Williams led the Army Combined Arms Support Command and the Fort Lee, Virginia, military installation. There, he was responsible for Army Logistics University and the Professional Military Education and the training of thousands of Army logistics junior officer, warrant officer and non-commissioned officer students. Additionally, he led the installation’s strategic engagement with the Richmond, Petersburg, Hopewell, and Colonial Heights communities, and he assured the welfare and safety of the over 25,000 students, staff and faculty, families, and support organizations. 

Early in his career he served as a leadership and logistics instructor at Fort Lee and was named as an Army instructor of the year, one of his many awards. 

Williams, a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, earned his bachelor’s degree in 1983 at then-Hampton Institute. Williams also holds three graduate school degrees: a master’s in business administration from Pennsylvania State University; a master’s in military art and science from the Army Combined and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and a master’s in national security strategy (distinguished graduate) from the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.

Selection process

Williams was chosen from almost 300 applicants. The Board of Trustees created a presidential search committee in January 2021, after Dr. Harvey announced his retirement. Storbeck Search of Diversified Search Group, a Media, Pennsylvania-based firm, led the university’s initial selection process. 

Based on a select set of competencies and through interviews, the applicants were narrowed to a pool of 15 and then three finalists. These three candidates were presented to the Board of Trustees. The board voted Williams as president at the end of March, and he accepted the position on April 8.

Personal life

Williams met his wife, Myra Richardson Williams, while attending Hampton. She also graduated from the university in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree. The couple, married in 1987, will be the first president and first lady to both hold Hampton degrees. 

While a student, Williams was Mister Freshman 1979, a three-year Reserve Officer Training (ROTC) scholarship cadet, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and senior class president. Myra Williams was a four-year member of the Hampton concert choir and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The couple has two grown children. Daughter Jocelyn Williams Cooper and her husband, Gerron E. Cooper, reside in Springville, Virginia. Son Colin E. Williams is a lawyer and works in New York City. 

Media Contact: Matthew White,  matthew.white@hamptonu.edu

About Hampton University 

Hampton University is a private, historically Black, research university in Hampton, Virginia. Founded in 1868 as Hampton Agricultural and Industrial School, it was established by leaders of the American Missionary Association after the American Civil War to provide education to freedmen. Hampton University’s main campus is located on 314 acres on the banks of the Hampton River.

The university offers 90 programs, including 50 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and nine doctoral programs. The university has a satellite campus in Virginia Beach and online offerings. Hampton University is home to 16 research centers, including the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute,the largest free-standing facility of its kind in the world. 

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Hampton University to Offer Free Room, Board and Tuition to Ukrainian and International Students Studying in Ukraine Displaced by Ongoing Conflict

03/16/2022 – #84

HAMPTON, Va. (March 16, 2022) — In a humanitarian effort to help those college students and families affected by the current conflict in Ukraine, Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey has announced that it will invite 50-100 Ukrainian and international college students presently studying in Ukraine to continue their education on HU’s campus this summer. 

“The collective Hampton University faculty, staff and students are heart-broken because the war-torn country of Ukraine must deal with atrocities like the bombing of maternity wards, hospitals and other civilian areas,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “I think this partnership is something that can be beneficial to a great number of students and families.  My entire career has been focused on helping people to achieve and meet their goals.” 

Ukrainian and international college students affected by the combat will be able to attend classes at Hampton for the 2022 Summer Session, receive room, board and tuition for the summer, and have the option to stay at Hampton at the regular tuition and fees rates once the Summer Session is over. 

In 2019, Dr. Harvey reached out to Dr. Rodney Smith, the President of the University of the Bahamas, the former Vice President for Administrative Services at Hampton University, and offered a similar agreement to students from the University of the Bahamas who had their north campus obliterated because of Hurricane Dorian. 

The Hampton University Ukrainian Initiative invites international and Ukrainian students forced to flee Ukraine to continue their studies at Hampton University. We are accepting applications for the six-week summer session, which begins June 14, 2022. The University is offering tuition, room and board for the six-week summer session, only.

Here are links to the

Please note the following:

  • The deadline for applications and medical records is Monday, May 16, 2022.
  • Medical records must be emailed to healthcenter@hamptonu.edu
  • Admitted students may enroll in up to nine credit hours – three of which will be a required, special topics course developed especially for international and Ukrainian students.

All inquiries should be sent to: Ukrainianinitiative@hamptonu.edu

Inquiries should include student’s: 1. academic discipline (major); 2. academic level (professional, graduate, or undergraduate school); 3. an active email address.

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Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey Seals 43 Stellar Years of Leadership by Announcing Plans to Retire in June 2022

Dr. William R. Harvey arrived on the campus of Hampton Institute, in 1978, to take over the reigns as leader of an institution that was slowly losing ground.  Many wondered why he chose Hampton.  Other institutions, including majority institutions and more financially stable institutions, had offered him presidencies, but he decided to accept the position at Hampton.  He chose Hampton because he wanted to be in a place where he could offer the greatest service and make a difference.  Dr. Harvey has often stated that choosing Hampton was the best professional decision of his life!

Prior to beginning his illustrious career at Hampton, this celebrated statesman from Brewton, Alabama earned degrees from Talladega College, Virginia State University and Harvard University.  During his career at Hampton, he has received 11 honorary doctorates and countless awards, including the Daily Press Citizen of the Year Award, numerous keys to the city from localities around the country, American Council on Education John Hope Franklin Award, the City of Hampton Distinguished Citizen’s Medal, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Year Leadership Award.  His alma mater, Talladega College, named the African American Art Museum that houses the treasured Amistad Murals in his honor.  Now, following a steady, four-decade plus climb of greatness, Dr. Harvey will move on to his next chapter of service on June 30, 2022.

It is virtually impossible to express in words the debt of gratitude the entire Hampton University community carries ever so deeply for Dr. Harvey. The news of his retirement is likely to draw a full range of emotions because he has touched the lives of so many.  His legacy is rich and indelible on nearly every inch and across every page in the annals of the historic campus.

“As a Hampton University Alumnus and Chairman of its Board of Trustees, the growth and development that I have witnessed under Dr. Harvey’s successful leadership have been, in a word, triumphant,” said Trustee Wesley Coleman. “The significance of this president’s legendary contributions to Hampton will be celebrated for generations. Indeed, the school is so much better off for his having served as our 12th President. Therefore, on behalf of the Board of Trustees and all of us who love Hampton, we will always be grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Harvey for the immeasurably great job that they have done for the past 43 years and will continue to do for the remainder of his tenure.”

Many will remember the day Dr. Harvey arrived on the campus with a great vision of what Hampton could become. He based his vision on the words of Hampton’s founder, General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, who said that he wanted Hampton to have excellent academics (which today is called workforce development) and to build character.  Armstrong also said that of the two, character was more important.  This is the playbook that Dr. Harvey followed throughout his entire tenure.  It is from this playbook Dr. Harvey charted his unprecedented success as a president and Hampton’s tremendous growth as an institution. 

Hampton University and the higher education community are proud of the legacy of leadership that Dr. Harvey has established during his 43-year tenure at our “Home by the Sea.” The triumphs under Dr. Harvey’s leadership are more than worthy of note and actually too many to list.  A sampling of his accomplishments include:  the initiation of 92 new academic degrees, including 12 new doctoral programs; erecting 29 new buildings; increasing SAT scores by more than 300 points; launching four satellites which are currently flying in space; building a state-of the-art weather antenna that can detect hurricanes and storms up to 2,000 miles away; establishing the largest free-standing proton beam cancer center in the world, which treats prostate, breast, lung, ocular, pediatric, spine, head, neck and brain cancers; and increasing the endowment from $29 million to over $300 million.

Hampton is not the same place it was when Dr. Harvey arrived.  Today, Hampton attracts outstanding students with high SAT scores who bring positive national and international attention to Hampton by winning prestigious scholarships and competitions, conducting research, as well as engaging in prominent leadership and service activities.  Interest in the “Hampton Experience” has led to between 15,000 and 20,000 applications annually and a steady enrollment.   More than 36,000 students have graduated from Hampton under his leadership. Classified by the Carnegie Commission as a ‘High Research Activity’ institution, faculty and students conduct cutting-edge research in various areas. Hampton continuously ranks high among the nation’s colleges and universities.  Dr. Harvey’s list of accomplishments is much too long to include each one, but they have benefited Hampton, the Hampton Roads Region, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the national higher education landscape.

As 100% owner of a PepsiCo Bottling Company in Houghton, Michigan, Dr. Harvey is an astute businessman who runs Hampton as a business for educational purposes.  When asked for the formula for his success, Dr. Harvey shared, “The formula for any success that I have had is based on five priorities: character traits of honesty, integrity, respect, trustworthiness and good personal behavior; high standards and values; a good work ethic; service to others; and appreciating and utilizing the team approach.” 

He says that he has also learned a great deal about management and governance from the boards on which he has served. The non-profit boards include: National Geographic Society, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, USO World Board of Governors, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Education (NAFEO), Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (J-Lab), Harvard Cooperative Society, Ft. Monroe Authority, Board of Visitors of  the University of Virginia, Knoxville College Board of Trustees, Southeastern Universities Research Association, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Woodrow Wilson Foundation and Defense Advisory Board on Women in the Service.  Service on corporate boards includes:  Fannie Mae, Signet Bank, First Union National Bank, Newport News Savings and Loan, Newport News Shipbuilding Corporation, Trigon Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and United Virginia Bank.

In addition to the professional accomplishments Dr. Harvey achieved at Hampton, he also experienced great personal joy on these hallowed grounds.  Dr. Harvey moved to Hampton with his wife Norma Baker Harvey, to whom he has now been married to for 53 years.  Mrs. Harvey is legendary in her own right.  Not only has she handled her duties as First Lady with style and grace, she has been of great service to the wider community, as well.  She is known for her active service as a board member of the American Heart Association, the Virginia Symphony, Towne Bank, Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary, the National Conference of Community and Justice, the Peninsula Fine Arts Center, and the Planning and Research Committee for the United Way.  Recognized for her commitment to service, Mrs. Harvey was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Substance Abuse and Sexual Assault on College Campuses and the USS Hampton Commissioning Committee.  She has made significant contributions in each of these roles.

Dr. and Mrs. Harvey arrived at Hampton with their two young children, Kelly Renee and William Christopher.  Their youngest daughter Leslie Denise was born here after they arrived.  Leslie is the first baby born to a sitting president since Gen. Armstrong and his wife had baby Margaret in 1893. The Harvey’s raised their family here, and it has expanded to include four granddaughters—Taylor, Gabrielle, Lauren, and Victoria.  They have also adopted the Hampton family as their own.  Hampton is not just a job for Dr. Harvey; it is a way of life.

The author of books, articles, and other publications, Dr. Harvey is often in demand to lecture on leadership and fundraising at major colleges, universities, and organizations.  He plans to continue to be of service to the higher education and business communities, as well as complete several book projects now underway.  Everyone who knows Dr. Harvey knows that he will always contribute to and be of service to his “Home by the Sea.”

For media requests and additional information, contact the Hampton University Office of University Relations at (757) 727-5253 or UniversityRelations@hamptonu.edu.

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In New Book Acclaimed Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey Shares His Guide for Students’ Success While In College

An Icon in Higher Education Shares His Principles for Student Success

HAMPTON, Va. – In his inspiring and motivational new book, A Guide To Student Success In College, Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey, an icon of higher education, shares the insights and philosophy that his four decades of leadership in higher education have proven successful for college students.

Published by Kendall Hunt, the book is on sale now ($24.99, hardcover) in the Hampton University Bookstore and will be available soon on Amazon.com. Dedicated to his three children, Kelly Renee, William Christopher and Leslie Denise, the book outlines Dr. Harvey’s “Principles for Success” that he has crafted throughout a remarkable life and legendary career. The topics discussed span from Preparing for College, Parental Guidance, Financing Higher Education Today, The College Experience, Significant Life Skills for Success and the Value of the College Community.

During Dr. Harvey’s tenure as one of the longest serving higher education presidents in the United States, the student enrollment at Hampton University increased from approximately 2,700 students to a high of over 6,300. Moreover, the average SAT score of entering freshmen increased approximately 300 points! As a result, Hampton attracts the best and the brightest students in the nation who excel immensely. Hampton students have been selected as finalists and recipients of prestigious international awards, including the Rhodes Scholarship, the Schwarzman Scholarship, and the Morse Scholarship, and secured coveted internships and entry into highly competitive programs.

In one particularly poignant account, Harvey describes the need for parents to place an importance on education and introducing the concept of college early in the lives of students and the positive results that result from it. “Attending college was not an option in my household. It was expected. My love for learning began early in life. It was fueled by the importance placed on education by my parents. They instilled in me a concept that I continue to subscribe to today and share with others— Education opens doors that can lead to success for those who take advantage of its opportunities.”

Another chapter deals with the importance of responsible personal behavior. As he notes, “The image you project is the one that will follow you. An individual never gets a second chance to make a first impression. Your personal behavior, responsible or irresponsible, becomes the standard that you set for yourself and demonstrate to the world.” Dr. Harvey’s advice about how individuals both carry themselves and the influence of the media are timely as more and more colleges, universities and future employers are researching potential hires.

“This is an absolutely excellent book by Dr. William R. Harvey which covers all aspects of student development services for the past, present, and future. The book is so comprehensive that a copy should be in every library as well as each person’s home,” said Dr. Joffre T. Whisenton, Former Southern University System of Louisiana President.

“During my years of service at the United States Department of Education, Dr. Harvey, as the Chair of the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs and President of Hampton University, significantly impacted key policy, regulatory, and operational matters that affected many colleges and universities – especially schools focused on social mobility. Bill constantly worked with and pushed the Administration, Secretary of Education, and other federal agencies to better support striving first generation, low-income, and under resourced students. As an example, the Department of Education substantially modified its regulatory approach and operations so that tens of thousands of students and families were eligible for hundreds of millions of dollars in financial resources that would have otherwise been unavailable,” said James W. Runcie, Former United States Department of Education Federal Student Aid — Chief Operating Officer.

Having had a front row seat to the matriculation of multiple generations of college students, Dr. Harvey definitely knows what is required for student success in college. This book is a blue print to help prepare futures generations of students and their families for the college experience.

You can purchase your copy today at the Hampton University Bookstore.

For media requests and additional information, contact Matthew White, Hampton University Director of University Relations at (757) 727-5253 or Matthew.White@hamptonu.edu.

About Dr. William R. Harvey
Dr. William R. Harvey has served as President of Hampton University for 40 years, making him one of the longest-serving presidents of a college or university in America. During his tenure, he has introduced innovations that have solidified Hampton’s stellar position among the nation’s colleges and universities. His extraordinary leadership is reflected in the growth and quality of the University’s student population, academic programs, physical facilities and financial base. During Dr. Harvey’s 40 years of visionary leadership 92 new programs have been introduced, 30 new structures dot the landscape of the campus surrounded three sides by water and the university’s endowment has grown 1003% from $29 million to $320 million and growing. Dr. Harvey has transformed Hampton University into a world-class leader in higher education. He has received appointments to national boards by six presidents of the United States and led important community and educational initiatives in Virginia.

Hampton University has built the first proton therapy cancer treatment center in the Commonwealth of Virginia — an unparalleled hub for cancer treatment, research and technology. Hampton University is the first and only HBCU to have 100% control of a NASA mission and Hampton has four satellites / instruments currently in orbit.

Dr. Harvey is also the author of several books, his most recent, The Principles of Leadership: The Harvey Leadership Model (2019).

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