Friday afternoon, Radford University acknowledged that the university’s president, Brian O. Hemphill, has been selected to serve as the ninth president of Old Dominion University.
ODU was established in 1930 as the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary and is now one of the largest universities in Virginia with an enrollment of more than 24,000 students.
Dr. Carolyn Ringer Lepre, the university’s current provost and vice president for academic affairs, was named as the interim president effective July 1, 2021. She will remain in the interim role until the conclusion of a national search, which is anticipated to begin in the fall.
Dr. Hemphill has served as Radford’s seventh president since 2016.
President Hemphill sent a personal message to the Radford family in which he said, “As a dedicated and proud Highlander, I pledge my continued commitment and diligent work over the next five months to ensure the forward momentum and sustained success of Radford University. My wife, Marisela, and I look forward to continuing to engage with each and every one of you as we prepare to bid a fond farewell to this caring community of educators and learners and the broader region of change makers and thought leaders. Please accept our sincere appreciation and everlasting gratitude for the honor and privilege of serving as your president and first lady.”
Board of Visitors Rector Robert A. Archer also posted a personal statement thanking the president for his leadership and service. Archer said, “President Hemphill and his family have been very active on campus and in the community. As Highlanders, they have served with pride and distinction. President Hemphill’s tenure has ushered in a new level of achievement and enthusiasm for the Radford family. He has certainly created a strong foundation for limitless opportunities well into the future.
“I am confident that he will be equally successful in leading Old Dominion University and serving the Hampton Roads region,” Archer wrote. “On behalf of the board, we express our deep appreciation for a job well done at Radford and best wishes at ODU.”
Upon learning of President Hemphill’s impending transition, Nancy E. Artis ’73 and H. Pat Artis, Ph.D., who are dedicated Highlanders, generous benefactors, and proud namesakes of the Artis College of Science and Technology, said, “Brian O. Hemphill is both a visionary and consensus builder. He can see the future and make it happen. In his time at Radford University, he did just that.”
In a statement lauding President Hemphill for his accomplishments during his time as RU’s head, the university said, “During President Hemphill’s tenure, his leadership and vision were instrumental in a number of critical efforts and important initiatives, which generated expanded opportunities for current and future Highlanders.
“Early in his presidency, the university launched IMPACT, a competency-based education, or CBE, program targeting the adult student population with a focus on cybersecurity, geospatial intelligence, and special education. IMPACT, a first of its kind program in the Commonwealth of Virginia, resulted in a $13.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, representing the largest grant in the history of the University, for CBE delivery to 5,000 teachers in Appalachia over a three-year period.
The statement released by Radford University said, “Radford University also expanded its programmatic and geographic footprint through the merger of Jefferson College of Health Sciences into Radford University with associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral health sciences programs, thereby establishing Radford University Carilion, or RUC. President Hemphill’s collaboration with Carilion Clinic and his leadership of the campus community were pivotal in making the merger a reality. During the president’s tenure, the university also secured $17.3 million through the Tech Talent Investment Program to produce additional graduates in response to Amazon HQ2 and the growing technology needs across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The University’s statement continued, “President Hemphill’s vision for Radford University came to life through a comprehensive planning process, resulting in the adoption and implementation of a five-year strategic plan, Embracing the Tradition and Envisioning the Future, as well as a 10-year campus master plan.
“Throughout his presidency, he has led with a student-centered philosophy, which is evident when examining the $34 million recent renovation of Reed and Curie Halls, as well as $101 million in secured funding for the Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, representing the largest capital project and academic building in the University’s history.
“President Hemphill also led the effort to re-envision the first-year experience and retention model by establishing the Academic Success Center through the co-location of Academic Advising; New Student and Family Programs; and Student Success in a dedicated and newly-renovated space, as well as establishing and funding student support through the Highlander Distinction Program.
Said the statement, “President Hemphill worked diligently to create new partnerships with Northern Virginia Community College to implement a guaranteed transfer agreement and New River Community College to create the Bridge Program, as well as accelerated graduate program opportunities through George Mason University’s Scalia Law School, Appalachian College of Pharmacy, and Emory & Henry College. Another partnership of significance is with the Radford University Foundation to bring a world-class hotel to the City of Radford in close proximity to the main campus.
The RU statement concluded by saying, “Under President Hemphill’s leadership, Radford University drastically increased fundraising, including historic gifts of $8 million to name the Davis College of Business and Economics, representing the largest gift by an individual in the history of the university, and $5 million to name the Artis College of Science and Technology, representing the largest gift by an alumna in the history of the university.
“Both gifts provided significant scholarship support for students and were contributing factors in raising the Foundation’s total endowment and all investments from $54.6 million in 2016 to $77.7 million in 2021, representing an increase of 42.3 percent over a five-year period.”