ODU Board of Visitor Rector Announces First African American President

Old Dominion University Board of Visitor President Kay Kemper recently penned a letter verifying that Radford University’s president, Dr. Brian Hemphill will be the Hampton Roads university’s new president.

Dear Monarch Community:

Last May, President Broderick announced that he would retire during the summer of 2021. As Old Dominion’s longest-serving president, he has provided transformational leadership, inspiring us to reach new heights. He has raised the University’s profile across the spectrum – increasing student success, promoting diversity and inclusive excellence, accelerating research and securing more than $1 billion in new public and private resources. As a result, President Broderick has earned recognition as a national leader in the field of higher education.

He and First Lady Kate Broderick have devoted their life’s work and hearts to Old Dominion. Their tireless commitment has produced countless successes and strengthened alliances in the commonwealth and beyond. The Brodericks will leave the University well-positioned and poised for a bright, forward-focused future.

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Visitors has unanimously selected Brian Hemphill, the president of Radford University, as President Broderick’s successor. Dr. Hemphill will take office this summer as the ninth president of Old Dominion University.

He has led Radford since 2016. Before that, Dr. Hemphill was president of West Virginia State University for four years. His previous positions in higher education have been in student services, including vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Northern Illinois University, associate vice chancellor of student affairs and dean of students at the University of Arkansas, and associate dean of students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Dr. Hemphill emerged as the board’s clear and unanimous choice after an extensive national search, which drew 92 candidates. He will bring a strong student-centered leadership style, a continued commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a history of shared governance.

Dr. Hemphill’s achievements as president of Radford run the gamut from enrollment management to fundraising. Many of his initiatives in such areas as student success, health sciences and partnership-building mirror Old Dominion’s longstanding strengths and priorities. Of particular note were Radford’s record enrollment in the last two years and its merger with Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke to create Radford University Carilion.

We appreciate your constructive feedback during the search process. It helped us draft a thorough profile of the skills and competencies required of the next president. The high quality of the applicant pool clearly reflected Old Dominion’s ascending stature and reputation.

President Broderick and Dr. Hemphill will work closely together in the months ahead to provide a smooth and seamless transition. We are confident that Dr. Hemphill will continue the University’s upward trajectory.

He will introduce himself to the community at a virtual “Get to Know President-Elect Hemphill” event at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19. Please look for your invitation early next week.

For more information on President-Elect Hemphill, go to odu.edu/reignonward.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Hemphill, his wife and their 8-year-old twins later this year and wishing them well as he sets the course for ODU’s next exciting chapter.


Kay A. Kemper

Rector, Board of Visitors