Board of Visitors praise President Hemphill for his visionary leadership and unanimously approve contract extension

The Radford University Board of Visitors recently approved a contract extension for President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. through June 30, 2026.  President Hemphill was named Radford University’s seventh president in December 2015 and took office in July 2016 with an initial contract through June 30, 2021.

“Since beginning his presidency nearly three years ago, Dr. Hemphill has provided visionary leadership to Radford University,” said Board of Visitors Rector Mark S. Lawrence. “On behalf of our Board, we express our appreciation to him for providing strategic direction to the campus, the community and our region. His commitment to Radford University and its mission of teaching, research and service is visionary. Dr. Hemphill is a leader in the truest sense as he inspires and supports the work of Radford’s students, faculty, staff and partners.  Our Board looks forward to working with him as Radford University continues to reach unprecedented heights and provides an even greater experience for our students and our community. I want to thank President Hemphill for his commitment to the University and the Commonwealth and his willingness to continue as our leader in the years ahead.”

Board of Visitors Vice Rector Robert A. Archer said, “As a businessman and citizen in the Roanoke Valley, I have been continually impressed by the forward momentum of Radford University and the institution’s dedication to its mission of teaching, research and service.  Throughout Dr. Hemphill’s presidency, he has made conscious and sustained efforts to engage with the community, especially business and industry.  The results of his active presence and positive impact are evident in so many ways.  From increased donations to innovative ventures and strategic partnerships, Dr. Hemphill has generated an excitement about Radford that is infectious.”

“President Hemphill’s leadership has been truly student-centered, and he understands the role of our faculty is vital to our students and their educational experiences,” said Faculty Representative to the Board of Visitors Jake Fox, Ph.D.  Dr. Fox also serves as the Faculty Senate President and, as such, engages with President Hemphill on a regular basis.  Dr. Fox added, “In the nearly three years since President Hemphill arrived at Radford, there have been numerous investments in faculty support and our academic mission. We have especially appreciated his efforts to maintain open communication with the faculty and partner with us to make Radford University the best it can be. President Hemphill is always available whether it is to hear a concern, discuss a new initiative, or simply pitch a new idea.  His passion for our institution and higher education in general are not only obvious to all who work with him, but also highly contagious.  His leadership and innovative spirit have truly left a mark on our campus. I look forward to working with President Hemphill in the coming years as we partner to make Radford a leading public university in the Commonwealth and the nation.”   

Under the leadership of President Hemphill and with support from the Radford family, comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, Radford University has embraced its historical mission of teaching and learning with a new focus on innovation and progress. With the adoption and implementation of a five-year strategic plan, titled Embracing the Tradition and Envisioning the Future, Radford University is enhancing its delivery methods and expanding its physical footprint. In Fall 2017, the University launched IMPACT, a competency-based program targeting the adult learner population with a focus on cybersecurity, geospatial intelligence and education.  The University also secured a $13.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, representing the largest grant in the history of the University, in order to support the IMPACT program.  In January 2018, President Hemphill, in partnership with officials from Carilion Clinic and Jefferson College of Health Sciences, announced plans to merge Jefferson College of Health Sciences into Radford University.  Following a comprehensive, 18-month planning process, Jefferson College of Health Sciences will become a fully integrated campus of Radford University, beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year.  The merger has received approval from the Commonwealth of Virginia through the General Assembly and is pending approval from the regional accreditor and program accreditors.

Throughout President Hemphill’s time as a Highlander, he has been instrumental in connecting with supporters both near and far.  Radford University was an institution that traditionally secured $4 million annually in private funding.  Under President Hemphill’s leadership, fundraising reached $10.7 million in his first year and $15.2 million in his second year.  During the last fiscal year, $11.1 million of the $15.2 million was dedicated to student scholarships, reaffirming the University’s student-centered approach and commitment.  Significant highlights include a $5 million gift to name the Artis College of Science and Technology, representing the largest gift by an alumna in the history of the University, and an $8 million gift to name the Davis College of Business and Economics, representing the largest gift by an individual in the history of the University.

To expand existing partnerships and develop new opportunities, President Hemphill has worked diligently to provide enhanced and expanded outreach and programs for current and future students.  As such, the University partnered with Shandong Youth University of Political Science, Jiangsu Second Normal University and Monash University beginning in Fall 2016 to implement 3+1 or 2+2 agreements to grow international students.  The University also developed partnerships beginning in Fall 2017 to provide greater opportunities for students studying at New River Community College and Northern Virginia Community College.  Additionally, the University implemented an accelerated dual degree arrangement with George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Fall 2018 and accelerated graduate degree pathways with Emory & Henry College also in Fall 2018.

President Hemphill’s engagement and outreach on campus led to collaborative discussions and comprehensive programming.  He conducted the first Budget Summit in order to improve the fiscal health and transparency of the University’s financial position, as well as the first Retention Summit in order to improve the retention and success rates of current and future students.  In an effort to provide integrated, real-world experiences for students, President Hemphill launched the Highlander Research Rookies in Fall 2017 and welcomed the inaugural class in Fall 2018 to maximize opportunities for research-based engagement and learning by high-achieving and highly-motivated freshman and sophomore students.  Additionally, with a focus on faculty development, he launched the Presidential Fellows Program in Fall 2018 and will welcome the inaugural fellow in Fall 2019 to create opportunities for faculty members to dedicate time, expertise and passion to a specific project, while fulfilling the University’s mission to serve current and future generations of Highlanders.  To support the University’s academic infrastructure, President Hemphill’s tenure has also been marked by growing fiscal support through increased travel budgets and additional research investments.

A devoted public servant and proud steward of Radford University, President Hemphill serves on a variety of boards, commissions and committees at the regional and national levels. He faithfully represents Radford University with active involvement in the following: American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Board of Directors; the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) 21st-Century Presidency Advisory Group; the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Presidential Forum; The LeBron James Foundation I PROMISE Institute Bureau; the Big South Conference Council of Chief Executive Officers, Executive Committee and Finance Committee, as chair; the A.L. Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership Board of Trustees; the Roanoke Higher Education Center Board of Trustees; and the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Board of Trustees.

“Radford University is a special place with many outstanding individuals,” President Hemphill said. “I am honored each and every day to lead this great University and serve as a champion of education and opportunity in the New River Valley, the Roanoke Valley and the Commonwealth of Virginia.  I am thankful for the strong support of the Board of Visitors and the tireless dedication of the campus community.  Together, we are focusing on excellence for our University, while enhancing the overall experience for current students and creating new opportunities for future students.”

Mar 28, 2019
Ashley Schumaker