Radford University welcomes new president, Dr. Brian O. Hemphill

Last Updated on


Radford University announced the new president who will be taking President Penelope Kyle’s place on July 1, 2016. On Dec. 16,. Dr. Brian O. Hemphill will be Radford University’s 7th president.

Hemphill visited campus on Jan. 21 as Radford held the official welcoming ceremony as part of the presidential transition. After the ceremony, a reception was held in the Covington Center, open to in the community who wanted to partake.

“As I toured this beautiful campus and met with university officials and learned more about this wonderful opportunity, it became abundantly clear to me that this was an amazing community and would be the perfect place to call home,” Hemphill said during his speech.

Hemphill and his wife, Dr. Marisela Rosas Hemphill, along with their two young children were welcomed to campus by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and search committee members.

Since 2012, Hemphill has been serving as the president of West Virginia State University in Charleston, West Virginia. His time there has improved retention rates, increased fundraising and degree completion, and increased transfer and out-of-state student enrollments.

“Throughout my academic and professional journey, I’ve been mentored by outstanding leaders in this profession that taught me many lessons,” Hemphill said. “These individuals taught me the importance and vital roles that a public university plays in our society by producing individuals that will lead with an unwavering commitment to public service and social justice.”

Hemphill is a published author who has written about gun violence, financial concerns for higher educations, STEM, economics, and other topics that pertain to higher education.

Throughout his career he has held many positions at several universities. From 2004 to 2012 he served at Illinois University as vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, and associate professor. He has served as associate vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students at the University of Arkansas. He has served as associate dean of students at the University of North and also as assistant dean of students at Cornell College. Hemphill began his career in higher education as coordinator of minority recruitment and retention.

Before his career at various universities, Hemphill earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication at St. Augustine’s College and a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication at Iowa State University of Science and Technology. He earned his Ph.D. in higher education administration and policy studies from the University of Iowa.

Radford’s transitional committee is planning several events to introduce Hemphill to the campus and to make the transition to a new president an easy one.

After thanking students, alumni, faculty, and staff for the welcome message that he received through several ways, Hemphill addressed one question he has been receiving a lot: Why Radford University?

“Your core values are my core values. Our values such as academic excellence, diversity, intellectual and artistic curiosity and creativity just to name a few. These values coupled with a strong desire to engage with the community and a history of serving Southwest Virginia and the Commonwealth make Radford University the right choice, the only choice for me,” he said.