Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., Radford University’s seventh president effective July 1, 2016, is an unwavering champion for positive change and a true advocate of shared governance. With strong support from students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, the local communities, including the New River Valley and the Roanoke Valley, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, President Hemphill is leading the Highlander family with a steadfast commitment to excellence, accountability, transparency and student-centeredness.
President Hemphill, with active collaboration from the campus and the community, is transforming Radford University into an innovative, premier university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond with a keen focus on teaching, research and service. The transformation of Radford University is evident through innovation efforts, such as the establishment and growth of the IMPACT Program, a competency-based educational platform that began in September 2017 with eight students and currently enrolls nearly 2,000 students, and the establishment and operation of Radford University Carilion, a public-private partnership resulting from a merger of a fully-functioning health sciences educational experience offered in Roanoke beginning in Fall 2019 with growth of 1,100 students. On the main campus, unprecedented levels of philanthropic giving have resulted in the naming of the Artis College of Science and Technology and the Davis College of Business and Economics and significant growth in student scholarships.
A devoted public servant and steward of Radford University, President Hemphill proudly serves on a variety of boards, commissions and committees. He faithfully represents Radford University on the national scale with active involvement in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), including the Committee on Policies and Purpose, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
President Hemphill’s road to Radford University has taken him from the University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, a flagship university, where he served as Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students; to Northern Illinois University, a large, public, research university, where he served as Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and Associate Professor for eight years; to West Virginia State University, a public, land-grant, research university, where he served as the tenth President and Professor for four years.
President Hemphill earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Policy Studies from the University of Iowa, a Master of Science degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University of Science and Technology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communication from Saint Augustine’s University.
President Hemphill is a published author with a multitude of writings covering topics related to gun violence and threat preparedness on college campuses; emerging financial concerns affecting the collegiate sphere; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and economic-related issues pertaining to education; and a myriad of additional scholarly perspectives pertinent to the higher education environment. President Hemphill coedited a book, titled College in the Crosshairs: An Administrative Perspective on Prevention of Gun Violence. He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, guest presenter and panelist with frequent appearances across the country.
President Hemphill’s passion for life and unparalleled commitment to excellence begin at home where he shares his life with his loving and supportive wife, Dr. Marisela Rosas Hemphill, who faithfully serves as Radford University’s First Lady. The Hemphills are the proud parents of energetic, seven-year-old twins, Catalina and Cruz. President Hemphill has two beautiful children, 24-year-old Jada and 20-year-old Jordan, who is a Highlander student and member of the Radford Men’s Basketball Team. Above all else, President Hemphill cherishes the time he spends with his children who are precious to him. The Hemphill family resides in the historic Governor Tyler House. President and First Lady Hemphill are very active on- and off-campus attending a variety of activities and events in support of the Highlander family.