Dr. Brian Hemphill Makes History As the First-Ever Black President of Old Dominion University
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Dr. Brian Hemphill Makes History As the First-Ever Black President of Old Dominion University

It’s never too late to make history, and Old Dominion’s latest announcement proves to be a step in a new direction for the school.

According to a formal university announcement, the university’s Board of Visitors shared that by unanimous vote it has selected Dr. Brian Hemphill as the ninth president, making him the first-ever Black person to hold such a position since the college was founded in 1930.

“It is both an honor and privilege to be selected as the ninth president of Old Dominion University, a dynamic public research institution that has proudly served the Hampton Roads region and positively impacted the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Dr. Hemphill shared in a statement. “I must express my sincere appreciation to members of the Board of Visitors, the Presidential Search Committee, President Broderick and the campus community. My family and I are looking forward to becoming active members of Hampton Roads, making our home in Norfolk and proudly serving the Monarch family.”

Dr. Hemphill is set to take over his new role in August, suceeding Dr. John Broerick who announced his recent retirement after serving 13 years as the university’s president.

“I congratulate Dr. Hemphill on his appointment,” said President Broderick in a statement. “I believe his strengths and values will align well with Old Dominion’s culture and aspirations. In the remaining months of my presidency, we will work closely to ensure a smooth transition as we position Old Dominion for continued greatness.”

The university’s announcement shares that Dr. Hemphill — current president of Radford University — has maintained a strong background in student services while also remaining committed to shared governance, diversity and inclusion.

During his tenure serving as Radford’s president, he has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in public and private support to further the school’s mission and expand its campus.

Dr. Hemphill also helped Radford receive its largest federal grant to date — worth $13.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education —  and secured $101 million in state funding for the largest capital project in Radford’s history — the Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, a hub meant for interdisciplinary engagement and university research.

Additionally, Dr. Hemphill has formed several partnerships throughout Radford’s surrounding community, and has significantly increased the university’s footprint in health sciences, the announcement shares.

He now joins Old Dominion University as it continues to thrive amid the pandemic.

“We are confident that Dr. Hemphill will continue the University’s upward trajectory,” Kay A. Kemper — rector of Old Dominion’s Board of Visitors — shared in a statement. “The board was highly impressed with his substantial accomplishments in less than five years as president of Radford, as well as his commitment to a student-centered approach. Dr. Hemphill’s successes range from enrollment management to fundraising, and many of his forward-thinking initiatives in such areas as health sciences and partnership-building mirror Old Dominion’s longstanding strengths and priorities. We believe he will write an exciting new chapter for ODU.”