West Virginia State University in Institute, West Virginia, was founded in 1891 as the West Virginia Colored Institute. Beginning in the 1950s West Virginia’s state-operated colleges and universities initiated racial integration and concerted efforts were made to attract White students to West Virginia State. Today, only about 15 percent of the student body is Black. However, the university remains committed to its history as a Black college. All three candidates selected as the finalists for the university’s presidency were African Americans.
On May 9, Brian Hemphill was chosen as the 10th president of West Virginia State University. He will take office in July. He has been serving as vice president for student affairs at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He has held that post since 2004. Previously, he held administrative positions at the University of Arkansas, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Cornell College in Iowa.
A graduate of St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dr. Hemphill holds a master’s degree in journalism from Iowa State University and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Iowa.