Radford University acknowledges President Brian O. Hemphill’s selection as Old Dominion University’s 9th President and applauds his dedicated service

This afternoon, Radford University acknowledged President Brian O. Hemphill’s selection as Old Dominion University’s 9th President and shared its deep appreciation for his strong leadership and many contributions. Board of Visitors Rector Robert A. Archer stated, “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. On behalf of the Board, we express our deep appreciation for a job well done at Radford and best wishes at ODU.”

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 K-12 professional development. 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. Radford University also expanded its programmatic and geographic footprint through the merger of Jefferson College of Health Sciences into Radford University with associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral health sciences programs, thereby establishing Radford University Carilion, or RUC. President Hemphill’s collaboration with Carilion Clinic and 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.

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 establish and fund student support through the Highlander Distinction Program.

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.

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.

In learning of President Hemphill’s forthcoming 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 sending a personal message to the Radford family, President Hemphill shared, “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!” For the President’s full message, please visit https://www.radford.edu/content/president/home/president-speeches/personal-message-february-2021.html.

Clemson University President James P. Clements, Ph.D., a dear friend and close colleague of President Hemphill, said, “Brian certainly left his mark on Radford University by increasing its reputation and visibility in the South with a focus on programmatic expansion and academic quality.”

That sentiment was reinforced by a fellow president in the Commonwealth of Virginia and active citizen in the New River Valley, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Ph.D. who said, “Brian has certainly led Radford University through an exciting period of unprecedented expansion and growth. Virginia Tech is proud to partner with Radford in further establishing an academic health center in Roanoke through a close collaboration with Carilion Clinic. Radford’s involvement in this important work would not have been possible without Brian’s commitment and leadership.”

The Honorable Luke Torian, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and Chair of the Appropriations Committee, remarked on the hard work and dedication exhibited by President Hemphill in advocating for investments in higher education. “Brian is someone who puts a great deal of time and thought into his work. He is a skilled leader and one who is passionate about creating opportunities for students and advancing local communities. Due to his collaborative nature, he has built a number of close and meaningful relationships during his tenure at Radford University.”

Rector Archer advised that the Board of Visitors will immediately move forward in developing a comprehensive process for a national search and obtaining the best possible replacement for President Hemphill. Rector Archer shared, “These steps will include naming an Interim President effective July 1, 2021, evaluating and choosing an appropriate search firm, and engaging all stakeholders, including students, faculty, and staff, as we move forward in developing and implementing plans for the future.”

As an immediate next step, Carolyn Ringer Lepre, Ph.D. was named as the Interim President, effective July 1, 2021. Dr. Lepre, who currently serves as the University’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, will remain in this interim role until the conclusion of a national search, which is anticipated to begin in the fall.

In sharing the news of Dr. Lepre’s selection as the University’s Interim President, Rector Archer said, “The Board, in accordance with its duties and responsibilities, remains overly committed to continuing the great progress under the leadership of President Hemphill and his team. We are confident that Dr. Lepre is the right person for this important work.”

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