Dr. William R. Harvey, 1978-2022

Dr. William R. Harvey served as the 12th President of Hampton University. A native of Brewton, Alabama, he is a graduate of Southern Normal High School, Talladega College and Virginia State University.  He earned his doctorate in College Administration from Harvard University in 1972.  Before coming to Hampton over four decades ago, he held administrative posts at Harvard, Fisk, and Tuskegee universities.

As President of Hampton University, Dr. Harvey introduced innovations that solidified Hampton’s stellar position among the nation’s colleges and universities.  His innovative leadership was reflected in the growth and quality of the University’s student population, academic programs, physical facilities, and financial base.  His outstanding leadership skills were exemplified by the appointment of seventeen former Hampton University administrators to CEO positions at other institutions during his tenure.

During Dr. Harvey’s presidency, student enrollment has increased from approximately 2,700 to a high of approximately 6,300.  Ninety-two new academic programs have been introduced including doctorates in physics, pharmacy, nursing, atmospheric and planetary science, physical therapy, educational management, and business administration.  During that time, 29 new structures have been built. 

Dr. Harvey promoted a learning environment that encouraged faculty research rivaling that of major research universities across the nation.  Hampton University built the first proton therapy cancer treatment center in the Commonwealth of Virginia—an unparalleled hub for cancer treatment, research, and technology.  Weather satellites were to study noctilucent clouds to determine why they form and how they may be related to global climate change.  From Alzheimer’s research and alternative fuels to nanodevices combining diagnostic and therapeutic functions for early diagnosis and treatment of arthritis, under the competent leadership of President Harvey, Hampton University became poised as a leader in research and technology, not only in the Hampton Roads area and Virginia, but nationwide.  These new programs, together with existing ones, placed and kept Hampton on the cutting edge of higher education.

An astute businessman, the budget was balanced with a surplus every year of his presidency.  Dr. Harvey initiated a university-owned commercial development consisting of a shopping center and 246 two-bedroom apartments.  All after-tax profits from the Hampton Harbor Projects are primarily utilized for student scholarships.  Additionally, the Project created jobs, provided services, increased the number of African-American entrepreneurs, and expanded the tax base in the City of Hampton.

As a fundraiser, he was considered one of the best in the country.  When Dr. Harvey became President, Hampton’s endowment was at $29 million.  At his retirement, that endowment stood in excess of $400 million, a 1279% increase.

His achievements were recognized through inclusion in Personalities of the South, Who’s Who in the South and Southeast, Who’s Who in Black America, Who’s Who in Education, International Who’s Who of Intellectuals, Two Thousand Notable Americans, Who’s Who in Business and Finance, and Who’s Who in America. In honor of his service, the Board of Trustees named Dr. Harvey President Emeritus status.

Dr. Harvey is married to the former Norma Baker of Martinsville, Virginia, and they have three children—Kelly Renee, William Christopher, and Leslie Denise—and five grandchildren—Taylor, Gabrielle, Lauren, Victoria, and Chloe.

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