HAMPTON, Va. (Jan. 20, 2022)— Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey’s contributions as a truly transformational and visionary leader in the world of education and beyond are being celebrated by local organizations, area government, and business leaders as well as regional and national educational leaders. Seven esteemed awards bestowed within as many months are an indelible testament to Dr. Harvey’s unparalleled passion for enhancing the lives of others through dedicated service. His tireless efforts span more than four decades at Hampton University alone where he lifted the prestigious Historically Black College and University (HBCU) from an institute to a world-class university. Dr. Harvey is not just an astounding academic leader, but he also has wisdom, perseverance, business acumen, and keen foresight that are truly unmatched.
The caliber of leader embodied in the person of Dr. William R. Harvey is acknowledged by the area governmental leadership of York County, Virginia. In August of 2020, W. Chad Green, Chairman of the York County Board of Supervisors, presented Dr. Harvey with a Proclamation from York County recognizing the significant achievements and contributions Dr. Harvey has made during his illustrious career as Hampton University President. The proclamation notes that Dr. Harvey’s “illustrious career as President began over 40 years ago; he is one of the longest-serving higher education leaders in the country and a prominent figure in the community of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” The resolution also noted just a few of his many achievements, including his commitment to expansion and innovation in the university’s academic programs; the construction of 30 new buildings; spending approximately $50,000,000 on renovating existing facilities; the establishment of the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, the world’s largest freestanding proton therapy cancer treatment centers; his leadership as the chair of the Virginia Peninsula United Way Campaign, raising a record-setting $6.6 million, and his many national awards and honors.
The second award is symbolic of how Dr. Harvey’s respected leadership style has garnered the attention of area political leaders. Dr. William R. Harvey was recognized with the Trailblazer Award by the Hampton Roads Black Caucus (HRBC) at their 2021 Breakfast of Champions Saturday, October 2.
“This honor is special for me as I have spent half of my lifetime being a part of the Hampton Roads community,” said Dr. Harvey. “As a citizen of this community, I admire the work being done by the Hampton Roads Black Caucus, which focuses on supporting political candidates who support our community and encourage Black-owned business growth and educational advancement. I have done my best to make a difference at Hampton University, where I have served as President for the last 44 years, and in the community as a whole.”
The HRBC is a political action committee (PAC). Established in 2012, its purpose is to increase the representation of elected officials who advocate and support legislation directed towards enhancing the Black community. In an effort to effectively impact the Black community, the HRBC supports Black-owned business growth, educational advancement, economic development, and community development.
Dr. Harvey’s success as a leader in higher education has historically been recognized from the highest office in the nation. Harvey has long been active on the national scene as a result of his appointments to national boards by six presidents of the United States. He has served on the President's National Advisory Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education where he served as Chair, the Commission on Presidential Scholars, and the U. S. Department of Commerce Minority Development Advisory Board. Additionally, Dr. Harvey has served as Chair of the Southern Universities Research Association (SURA) Council of Presidents, Chair of the Board of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), and Chair of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Council of Chief Executive Officers.
President Barack Obama asked Dr. Harvey to chair the Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities back in 2010. Dr. Harvey’s service to the office of the President, however, did not begin with the election of President Obama.
The advisory board on HBCUs was created in 1981 and is responsible for advising the President and the Secretary of Education on methods, programs, and strategies. In the capacity of chair of the Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Dr. Harvey has championed the cause of HBCU’s for the irreplaceable value these colleges and universities offer not just to the students who are educated on these campuses but to an entire nation that benefits from the bright minds sharpened in classrooms under the watchful guidance of dedicated educators who have answered the call to teach.
The half may never be told on how instrumental Dr. William R. Harvey’s years of service have been to the White House. Dr. Harvey served as chair of President Obama’s Advisory Board of Historically Black Colleges and Universities until President’s Obama’s term ended in 2017.
As a sought-after voice in business and fundraising, Dr. William R. Harvey was named the ‘Outstanding Nonprofit Leader’ by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Hampton Roads Chapter during its signature event, National Philanthropy Day on Nov. 8.
National Philanthropy Day is a celebration of giving, volunteering, and charitable engagement that highlights the accomplishments, large and small, that philanthropy and all those involved in the philanthropic process make to our society and our world. The National Philanthropy Day event in Hampton Roads has grown in attendance and sponsorship through the years. The celebration has become the signature event saluting philanthropy in Hampton Roads.
“We are here today to recognize and celebrate philanthropy and those who have made a difference in our community,” said Kate Wilson, President, AFP-Hampton Roads chapter. “We are delighted to have so many community leaders, colleagues, donors, volunteers, and friends here as we celebrate philanthropists and fundraisers in Hampton Roads. Thank you for joining us to celebrate our 2021 honorees.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, National Philanthropy Day was held virtually. In a recorded question and answer segment Dr. Harvey spoke about some of the contributions that Hampton University continues to make in and around the Hampton Roads community.
“Hampton University has made quite a few impactful contributions over the last 44 years, so I’m not sure that I can focus on just one. For example, we have the world’s largest proton beam cancer treatment center. We are treating prostate, breast, lung, ocular, pediatric, head, neck, and brain cancers. We also have four satellites currently in orbit. We have a broadcast weather antenna that can detect severe storms, including hurricanes and tornadoes up to 2,000 miles away. We have also had over 37,000 students graduate since I’ve been here. So, I can’t pick one contribution because all of those are so impactful.”
Considered to be “One of the Greatest Leaders in Higher Education,” Dr. William R. Harvey was recognized as one of the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2022 Award recipients by the HBCU Campaign Fund, in December of 2021.
The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders Award and Class is a national recognition that honors the outstanding work and leadership of chancellors and presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. These individuals are selected for their leadership that plays a prominent and influential role in shaping politics, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of individuals’ lives in the higher education space.
“We are privileged to celebrate your retirement and honor your extraordinary leadership contribution as the President of Hampton University and your long record of accomplishments and experience in higher education,” said Demetrius Johnson, Jr., Founder, President & CEO of the HBCU Campaign Fund. “We celebrate you as one of the first HBCU Campaign Fund Trailblazers of Higher Education honorees among the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2022.”
In a truly historical and emotional ceremony, Dr. William R. Harvey returned to his alma mater Virginia State University, where he delivered an impassioned keynote address at VSU’s 2021 Fall Commencement Ceremony on December 18. Following his speech, which received multiple standing ovations from the graduates, Dr. Harvey made history in an emotional moment shared by everyone, as he received an honorary doctorate from Virginia State University and a surprise honorary doctorate from Virginia Union University, commemorating his legacy of service as “one of the greatest leaders in higher education.”
Most recently, Dr. Harvey has been named the inaugural recipient of the “Lifetime Career Role Model Award” by the 100 Black Men, Virginia Peninsula Chapter. The 100 Black Men of America, Inc. is an organization that provides long-term mentor relationships for multiple stages of life that expand the possibilities of what can be achieved. The 100 create environments where children and their families are inspired to dream, challenged to achieve, and empowered to be economic stakeholders. It’s fitting that an organization that dares people to dream is honoring a man who famously dares people to “Dream No Small Dream.” Dr. Harvey’s success rate as a mentor is well documented. During his 40 plus year career, Dr. Harvey has challenged his team to excel at the highest level and has mentored 17 of his former Vice Presidents to assume a Presidency or CEO position.
Dr. Harvey’s most recent accolades and awards are representative of the legendary legacy that he has crafted over the last four-plus decades of leadership. To this day, he receives endless requests to employ his proven leadership model by joining forces with some of the top businesses and organizations in the nation.