Hampton University named retired Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams as its next president. He’ll succeed William Harvey, who has served in that role since 1978.
His last posting in the Army was director of the Defense Logistics Agency, where he led 25,000 employees providing food, medical material, uniforms and construction equipment, 98% of the Defense Department’s fuel, and the majority of spare parts for military weapons systems.
Williams has most recently been in charge of Leidos Holdings Inc.’s 13 year, £6.7 billion ($8.7 billion) contract to run the British Ministry of Defence’s Logistics Commodities & Services Transformation (LCST) Programme.
As keynote speaker at Hampton’s 2019 commencement, Williams took time to reflect on the university’s legacy — and the legacies still to be established.
“I hope you appreciate how special this university is. The lineage continues. From one generation of Hamptonians to another, no matter where in the world, we pirates are alike, only separated by space and time,” he said.
“This university, located on the Hampton River and where the majestic Emancipation Oak stands, under which the first southern reading of the Emancipation Proclamation took place, has given you everything that you need to succeed.”
Before serving as director of the Defense Logistics Agency, Williams was commanding general of the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia, and held senior leadership posts at the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC), Redstone Arsenal, Alabama and the United States Pacific Command. He has deployed to Kosovo, Kuwait and Iraq.
“The skills Lt. Gen. Williams is bringing to Hampton encompass what institutions of our size need,” said HU Board of Trustees Chairman Wes Coleman.Williams will assume office on June 30. He was selected from almost 300 applicants. ”I love Hampton,” he said. “I am thrilled to have been selected as the next president. I will work tirelessly with students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community to prepare our graduates for today and for the continuously evolving, technology-driven workforce of tomorrow.”
In addition to his Hampton degree, Williams has s master’s in business administration from Pennsylvania State University; a master’s in military art and science from the Army Combined and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and a master’s in national security strategy (distinguished graduate) from the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
During Harvey’s four decade plus tenure as Hampton’s president, the university’s student enrollment rose from 2,700 to more than 6,300, while the school launched 92 new academic programs, including computer science, marine science, and engineering, as well as doctoral degrees in physics, nursing, physical therapy, education, business and atmospheric science.
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His concern about cancers ravaging the community led HU to build Virginia’s first proton therapy center for treating cancer, while the university’s research initiatives during his term include work on Alzheimer’s, arthritis, nanodevices and night-shining clouds.
Harvey’s “project H.O.P.E.” (Hampton’s Opportunity Program for Enhancement) admits African-American men to Hampton who have potential for college work but are missing some of the usual requirements for admission; this program provides a scholarship and allows students to start on their studies with a reduced course load
The university’s endowment climbed from $29 million when he became president to more than $400 million. of 28 new buildings and structures, ranging from the marquee sign at the front of campus to the William R. and Norma B. Harvey Library are displayed.
Harvey has played an active role in the community, including the $1 million scholarship he and his wife founded for students from Hampton and Newport News who aspire to be teachers, as well as launching the Peninsula’s Job Education Training Corps eight-week work-study program.
Harvey has been appointed to national boards by six presidents, including a stint as chair of the President’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and has served on the boards of several businesses.
As chair of the Hampton First Board, he assembled a group of 23 people that in 2014 developed a master plan to make Hampton’s downtown waterfront could become a regional destination for arts, food and entertainment. It has been reflecting in much of the city’s thinking since then.
Dave Ress, 757-247-4535, firstname.lastname@example.org