Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, Appoints its First Black President

The board of visitors at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, has appointed Brian O. Hemphill as the ninth president of the public university. When he takes office in July, Dr. Hemphill will be Old Dominion’s first African American president.

Old Dominion University enrolls more than 19,000 undergraduate students and nearly 4,500 graduate students according to the most recent statistics available from the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 32 percent of the undergraduate student body.

“It is both an honor and privilege to be selected as the ninth president of Old Dominion University, a dynamic public research institution that has proudly served the Hampton Roads region and positively impacted the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Dr. Hemphill said.

In 2016, Dr. Hemphill became the seventh president of Radford University in Virginia. Earlier, he served from 2012 to 2016 as the 10th president of West Virginia State University, a historically Black educational institution near Charleston, where today Blacks make up only 10 percent of the undergraduate student body. Previously, he was vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and dean of students at the University of Arkansas. He is the co-editor of College in the Crosshairs: An Administrative Perspective on Prevention of Gun Violence (Stylus Publishing, 2015).

Dr. Hemphill is a graduate of Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in higher education and policy studies from the University of Iowa.

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  1. It appears to me that Ronald has a proclivity of working at Historically White Colleges and Universities (HWCUs) all the while not addressing the racism at those HWCUs. All the while, the few Black students at those HWCUs could not go to Ronald to seriously address those salient issues. Not including his inability to respond to basic e-mails from people. Now, Roland will be taking this same dismissive persona over to ODU and Black students shouldn’t expect any different.

    • Hey Maceo,

      You need to work on your reading comprehension skills. I used the name “Ronald/Roland” instead of calling him “Uncle Tom”. The gist of my comments are very accurate. You must be a boule card carrying buffoon. Adios “Billy”!

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