West Virginia State University President’s Contract Extended Five Years

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363
May 8, 2014
West Virginia State University President’s Contract Extended Five Years
INSTITUTE, W.Va. — The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) approved a new five-year contract for West Virginia State University (WVSU) President Brian O. Hemphill.

 “Over the course of two years, President Hemphill has reinvigorated West Virginia State University students, faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters and established a sense of pride that has stretched across campus and throughout the Kanawha Valley,” said Tom Susman, Chair of the University’s Board of Governors. “From clear, visual changes on campus like the new convocation center, residence hall and athletic complex, to fundamental changes in academics such as the expansion of degree programs, the number and quality of freshman students, as well as efforts to address retention and graduation rates, WVSU is by far a better University today because of President Hemphill’s leadership and dedication to the State family.

“When he first arrived, the Board asked for immediate results and he has delivered -increasing fundraising by 354 percent over the previous year and followed that with an 80 percent increase, or $3.96 million, in year two. He also secured the largest gift in the history of the University. This alone has provided more State students with the means to pursue a better life for themselves and their families through education.  He is a true advocate for State, and I am pleased he has agreed to continue his role.  I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”

During a March meeting of the WVSU Board of Governors (BOG), a unanimous vote by board members authorized Susman to complete the personnel matter including providing the HEPC with the contract and documents necessary on behalf of the Board.

Effective July 1, 2014, the new agreement elevates WVSU’s presidential compensation to be compatible with that of WVSU peer institutions as identified by the HEPC. The new contract extends President Hemphill’s leadership at WVSU through 2019 and increases his annual base salary from $235,500 to $287,310. Furthermore, as approved by the HEPC, additional compensation based on performance measures is included in the contract and will be paid by the WVSU Foundation.

Since becoming the 10th President of WVSU, Dr. Hemphill has launched Vision 2020: State’s Roadmap to the Future, a strategic plan for the University, and partnered with faculty to develop new 2+2 programs with both two- and four-year institutions. Under President Hemphill’s leadership, the University has worked diligently toward student recruitment resulting in a 48 percent increase in first-time, full-time freshmen during a time when the number of high school graduates across the state is declining.

President Hemphill has also led a two-year, $53.9 million infrastructure revitalization effort at the Institute campus including classroom and technology upgrades. As part of this effort, a public-private venture will come to fruition with the opening of the University’s first new residence hall since 1969 when the Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Hall opens this August. The Keith Scholars Hall will provide 291 students with state-of-the-art living quarters on campus.  President Hemphill also oversaw the completion of a $19 million renovation of Fleming Hall and construction of the D. Stephen and Diane H. Walker Convocation Center. The Walker Convocation Center opened in February and offers students and student-athletes a world-class academic and athletic facility.  WVSU has also broken ground on the Gregory V. Monroe Athletic Complex which, when completed this fall, will provide a state-of-the-art weight room for all student-athletes and a new locker room for the University’s football team. President Hemphill and University Advancement secured private funds for the construction of the Monroe Athletic Complex.

During his tenure at State, President Hemphill has led comprehensive audits of the University’s academic and infrastructure needs, including facilities and technology, to ensure future investments in these areas meet demands and have the highest return on investment. In November 2013, President Hemphill’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and sustainability of the University was center-stage as he led the Budget Efficiency Summit, a gathering comprised of students, faculty and staff.  Since the Summit, President Hemphill continues to lead members of his administration to further study and implement many cost-saving and sustainability measures developed.  President Hemphill is also providing on-going guidance and support for the University’s reaccreditation process with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

“I am pleased to have President Hemphill with us going into the future.  WVSU has made significant progress during his first two years leading the institution,” said Dr. Tim Ruhnke, Chair of the WVSU Faculty Senate and Professor of Biology. “On behalf of the WVSU faculty, I commend President Hemphill for the excellent work completed and hope for continued progress as we go forward.”

BOG Member Paul Konstanty served as Chair of the Presidential Review Process Ad-Hoc Committee and led the HEPC-required annual evaluation of the president and comprehensive review at the end of the contract cycle.

“As Chair of the Presidential Review Committee, I had a tremendous opportunity to hear feedback and comments from the President’s Cabinet, the Faculty Senate, individual faculty members, classified staff members, students, fellow members of the Board of Governors and representatives of the surrounding community over a two-day period on campus,” Konstanty said. “Without exception, President Hemphill received overwhelming support from these constituencies, many of whom expressed a strong desire that the Board of Governors take all reasonable and appropriate steps to retain President Hemphill for as long as possible.  I think the contract offered to President Hemphill reflects the strong endorsement, appreciation for his tremendous accomplishments to date, and the respect of those involved in his performance review. I look forward to President Hemphill’s continued efforts to move the University forward in a positive direction as he works toward achieving the bench-marks established in the new contract.”

In developing the presidential contract, the BOG reviewed peer institutions and other universities within the local market. BOG Member Gary Swingle said the compensation package more adequately aligns with peer institutions and better compensates the duties of the president, which have grown significantly.

“We’ve asked a heck of a lot out of him in comparison to previous presidents, and we’re asking what I believe is being asked of his peers in the state,” Swingle said. “We know university presidents, who are talented like Dr. Hemphill, get head hunter calls for other jobs all the time. University presidents of his caliber are in high demand and we need to keep his compensation at a level where we can keep him at WVSU. We are offering a five-year contract, and we want him to be here the full five years.”

WVSU has a nationwide alumni base. Throughout his tenure, President Hemphill has strengthened relationships with alumni across the country, which has led them to invest in the University through giving and student recruitment. 

“President Hemphill has been proactive in his support of, and communication with, the Alumni Association,” said Charles Boddy, President of the West Virginia State University National Alumni Association. “He actively partners to address issues and seeks input on pending decisions. As a result, I am confident and convinced that we share a student-centered focus and are working together effectively to increase alumni involvement and giving.”

WVSU Foundation Chair Allan McVey said President Hemphill’s dedication to establishing State as a true regional economic driver has garnered support from area business leaders.

“From the moment I had the opportunity to speak with President Hemphill, I knew he would bring an uplifting, energetic and passionate fervor to anything he would do for our University,” McVey said. “He has done that and more and has especially assisted our Foundation, of which I am the current chair, in providing a breath of fresh air which has allowed us to step-up our fundraising efforts. These efforts ultimately assist not only our current student population, but have brought even more students to our campus who will benefit from an excellent educational experience that they possibly would not have been able to have, if not for the funds we are able to provide in scholarships for them.”

Approximately 75 percent of WVSU students receive financial aid; many also receive scholarships supported by community and business leaders, as well as WVSU alumni chapters.  The scholarships offered include need-based, as well as merit-based scholarship opportunities for State students.

“Since my arrival, the State family and the entire community have welcomed me and my family. On behalf of my family, including my wife, Marisela, I want to extend my gratitude to the many individuals and organizations who have pledged support to us and who continue to invest and lift up this exemplary University,” said President Hemphill. “Together, we have built lasting partnerships, thereby establishing new programs to better meet the economic needs of the state and nation, while also investing in our campus by providing state-of-the-art facilities for the Yellow Jackets of both today and tomorrow.

“The past two years have been filled with great expectations and accomplishments. I am thankful for the support of the WVSU Board of Governors, the WVSU Foundation and the WVSU National Alumni Association, the vice presidents and the many others who continue to showcase how unique and wonderful this University is for our students, faculty, staff and community. I look forward to building upon the successes of the past two years and reaching our shared vision: to be the most student-centered, research and teaching, land-grant University in the State of West Virginia and beyond.”

President Hemphill came to WVSU following an eight-year tenure as vice president for student affairs and enrollment management and associate professor at Northern Illinois University (NIU). Prior to joining NIU, he served as an associate vice chancellor and dean of students at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, associate dean of students at University of North Carolina-Wilmington, assistant dean of students at Cornell College and coordinator of minority recruitment and retention at Iowa State University.

President Hemphill is a member of the Charleston Rotary Club and currently serves on the Charleston Area Alliance Board of Directors, the Thomas Health System Board of Trustees, the West Virginia Roundtable and the KIDS COUNT Board of Directors. 

President Hemphill earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Iowa, a Master of Science degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University of Science and Technology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communication from St. Augustine’s College.

President Hemphill is married to Dr. Marisela Rosas Hemphill and has four children: Jada, 18, Jordan, 15, and 18-month-old twins Cruz and Catalina.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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