Brian O. Hemphill Offered West Virginia State University Presidency


Brian O. Hemphill Offered West Virginia State University Presidency 

INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- The West Virginia State University Board of Governors has offered the position of president to Dr. Brian O. Hemphill  and he has accepted.  Upon approval by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission,  he will become the University’s 10th president on July 1. His selection followed a nationwide search. 

Dr. Hemphill currently is vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Northern Illinois University (NIU), near Chicago.  It has an enrollment of  23,000 students. He earned a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University.

“Bringing Dr. Hemphill to West Virginia State University from a major university near Chicago in the prime of his career is a very strategic hire that will allow our institution to grow,” WVSU Board of Governors Chairman Larry Rowe said. “He has been recognized by students and his peers as an outstanding educator. I am confident that he will expand WVSU’s role as a great university not only in central and southern West Virginia but also in the tri-state area.”

Dr. Hemphill said the first item on his to-do list would be to reach out to students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, legislators, the Chancellor and members of the Higher Education Policy Commission, as well as to the greater Kanawha Valley community. 

 “We need to spread the good word about West Virginia State,” Dr. Hemphill said. “Once it’s out there, the excellence of the institution will speak for itself. It’s up to us to brand this university for its high-quality higher education and to communicate our vision to our stakeholders internally in West Virginia, as well as across the country and internationally.”

At  NIU,  Dr. Hemphill has been responsible for all aspects of student life and enrollment management. He also is a tenured associate professor who has received NIU’s Outstanding Faculty Award and twice received the Students’ Choice Award. In 2009, the National Association of Student Professional Administrators honored him as a “Pillar of the Profession.” His peers have recognized Hemphill nationally for his work following a mass shooting at NIU in 2008.  He has edited a book on campus violence and has extensive experience in publishing and presenting papers on leadership and crisis management in higher education.

“Dr. Hemphill brings a wealth of experience in successfully leading academic initiatives that are critical to ‘State’,”  said Dr. Ann Smith, president of the National WVSU Alumni and Board of Governors member. “His strong background of success in establishing and leading a shared governance team focused on student success and institutional growth makes him an absolute fit for West Virginia State University.”

Dr. Thomas Guetzloff, faculty representative on the Board of Governors, added, “I am happy with the selection of Dr. Hemphill and how he wants to move the institution forward in the 21st century. His ideas on transforming the University create a level of excitement for us. There is a consensus among faculty members who attended a meeting this week to support Dr. Hemphill’s appointment.”

Dr. Hemphill would succeed Dr. Hazo W. Carter, Jr., who will retire as WVSU’s president on June 30 after 25 years of service.

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