HAMPTON, Va. (October 6, 2019) –Hampton University officially welcomed the senior class of 2020, Onyx 11, at the 77th Annual Opening Convocation in Ogden Hall. Attendees were regaled with inspirational musical sounds of the Hampton University Symphonic Choir. Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey provided encouraging words to the audience, and Keynote Speaker and alumna Dr. Desiree Williams provided encouragement for a great academic year.
President Harvey welcomed attendees to the 77th Convocation and the official beginning of the 152nd year of Hampton University’s history. “Our values, our standards, our history, our traditions make Hampton special and these things are the foundations of our success and achievement. Hampton University’s record achievement is the evidence of the quality of our leadership, our esteemed faculty, alumni, programs and most importantly, our students. Students who continue to distinguish themselves as tomorrow’s leaders,” Dr. Harvey said. “As we embark on the academic year of 2019-20, let us diligently strive to reach new heights in academics, research and service, guided by our commitment to being THE Standard of Excellence. As your President, I shall continue to dream no small dreams and to ensure that Hampton’s history is preserved, and that its future is bright.”
Dr. Harvey also had the privilege of honoring Dr. Karen Denise Maxwell and Dr. Otsebele E. Nare with Hampton University’s 2018-19 Edward L. Hamm, Sr. Distinguished Teaching Awards.
Dr. Maxwell is an Associate Professor of Management in the James T. George School of Business. Her passion for teaching has been evidenced in the achievements of her students. According to her students, Dr. Maxwell “is thoughtful and always willing to take time to assist.” Dr. Maxwell is a member of several professional organizations: the Virginia Society for Technology in Education, the American Public Health Association and the Golden Key Honor Society.
Dr. Nare is an Associate Professor in the Hampton University School of Engineering. Students have reported that he “takes a very no-nonsense approach to teaching” and is one of the “most supportive” professors. He is known for being passionate about the “advancement of the field of engineering.” Dr. Nare has written and published dozens of articles and served as lead investigator on numerous grants and contracts and has held leadership positions in several organizations.
Hampton University was excited to have alumna Dr. Desiree Williams give this year’s Convocation Address. Dr. Williams is the former Director of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute and former assistant professor of physical therapy at Hampton University. She gave the graduating seniors three key points to be successful this year. "First, remember why you are here, secondly, life is about choices, and last but not least, if you are called, you are worthy," Dr. Wiliams said. "Choose to get rid of the people, habits and positions that don't serve you. Life is about choices and only you have the power to choose your own path."
A two-time Hampton University alumna, Williams received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from HU and she also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education and a minor in Leadership Studies. Currently, Williams is a practicing physical therapist in the greater Los Angeles area while also pursuing her dream as an on-camera talent. Williams’pageantry wins include Miss National Sweetheart, Miss Virginia 2013, and Miss Virginia USA 2017. Williams was only the fourth African-American to serve as Miss Virginia in the Miss America Pageant system, and Williams placed in the top ten of the 2016 Miss USA Beauty Pageant. Williams was also a contestant on the long running CBS reality show "Survivor: Heroes v Healers v Hustlers.”