Dr. Brian O. Hemphill begins presidency with Quest

President Hemphill addresses students, faculty and staff at a welcoming ceremony on Jan. 21 in Bondurant Auditorium.

President Brian O. Hemphill has quickly and energetically embraced his role as Radford University's seventh president.

Hemphill, who most recently served as president of West Virginia State University, assumed the presidency on Friday, July 1.

Since his arrival, he has engaged a broad spectrum of the Highlander family, including students, faculty, staff, prospective students and families. At Dalton Kitchen, he greeted prospective RU and Governor's School students during a recent lunch rush, posing for selfies, many of which have been shared on social media. The campus community is encouraged to follow President Hemphill on Twitter: @BrianOHemphill.

On July 5, President Hemphill welcomed new students and their guests to campus during the opening ceremony of Quest, the university's new student orientation program.

In his uplifting remarks, he praised students for their commitment to education and stressed the importance of staying the course, even during challenging times.

"As I look across this room, I see so many faces filled with hope and promise. I am humbled by the amount of intelligence and hard work, sacrifice and sheer determination represented here today," Hemphill said.

President Hemphill emphasized the university's commitment to diversity and community, as well as service and student success.

"You are embarking on an exciting educational endeavor that only a small number of individuals of society actually attain," he said. "We believe that each and every one of you here today is capable of successfully completing a degree right here on the campus of Radford University. At Radford, we embrace the sense of community, while also staying attune to the individuality of each of our members."

Hemphill encouraged students to thank those who made it possible for them to attend college, while also reminding them that those same individuals, in addition to Radford's faculty and staff, will support them along the way.

Hemphill closed his remarks with one of his favorite quotes by George Washington Carver. It read, "No individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it."

"What will your distinct and legitimate reason be?" Hemphill asked students. "There is one thing that I can promise you as I stand on this stage before you today - Radford University will help you define that distinct and legitimate reason."


President Hemphill interacts with prospective and Governor's School students at Dalton Kitchen.

Students and parents alike were eager to meet President Hemphill during Quest.

Dan and Caitie Sidebottom, parents of incoming freshman Hannah, had read about President Hemphill prior to their visit.

"We're very excited to learn more about him," said Caitie, who had recently learned of President Hemphill's young twins, Cruz and Catalina. "It sounds like he's going to be very visible on campus and student-oriented."

The Sidebottoms, of central New York, are also excited to send their second child off to college. Hannah hasn't picked a major yet, but she knows that Radford has many offerings to choose from, "that's one of the reasons I decided to come here," she explained.

"I love Radford's campus," Hannah added. "It's beautiful here, and I'm really enjoying the warm weather and the friendly people."

Quest Assistant Dylan Price, a senior, spent time with President Hemphill during a recent lunch break.

"He was very confident and comfortable," Dylan said. "He seemed genuinely invested in me and the rest of the students. In fact, the first question he asked me was what was I involved in. I didn't expect that."

To learn more about President Hemphill, visit the presidential website.

To learn more about Quest, visit the New Student Progams website.


Jul 7, 2016
Mary Hardbarger
(540) 831-5150