VSU alumnus, university president, and businessman, Dr. William R. Harvey will serve as speaker for the fall 2021 Commencement Ceremony.
HAMPTON, Va. (Dec 6, 2021) – Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President, will deliver the keynote address at Virginia State University’s (VSU) Fall 2021 Commencement Ceremony on December 18, 2021 at 10 a.m. in the VSU Multi-Purpose Center.
“It is truly an honor to deliver the keynote address at Virginia State University’s commencement,” said Dr. Harvey. “This is of special significance to me as an alumnus of Virginia State and as it presents an opportunity for me to return to the place where I met my wonderful wife. I hope my words can be an inspiration to the Class of 2021."
Dr. Harvey has served as president of Hampton University since 1978. He holds degrees from Talladega College, Virginia State University and a doctorate in College Administration from Harvard University. Before arriving at Hampton University more than four decades ago, he held administrative posts at Harvard, Fisk, and Tuskegee universities.
“Dr. Harvey’s monumental legacy as President of Hampton University for more than 40 years sets him apart and places him among the most respected and relevant educational speakers of our time,” said VSU President, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah. “Our VSU Community is inspired by his esteemed work and contributions to society, and we are further enamored by his inspirational love story with another Trojan, his beautiful wife, Norma. His presence will be the perfect culmination to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our graduating Trojans.”
The ceremony will also be live streamed on the VSU website (www.vsu.edu) and broadcast live on WVST 91.3 FM radio.
VSU has a vaccination mandate and will require all employees, graduates and guests (18 and older) to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status to participate in or attend the ceremony. Masks are also required. To allow for social distancing and reduced capacity, each graduate will be allotted four general admission tickets.
VSU employees and graduates who have been granted medical or religious exemptions by VSU will be allowed to participate in the ceremony after providing a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of the ceremony. Those with the exemption will receive an email with further instructions. This exemption applies only to VSU graduates and employees. It does not apply to general admission ticket holders.
All fully vaccinated attendees will be provided a specialized commencement wristband required for entry. Information regarding obtaining the wristbands will be forthcoming.
About Dr. William R. Harvey
Dr. William R. Harvey has served as President of Hampton University for 43 years, making him one of the longest-serving presidents of a college or university in America. During his tenure, he has introduced innovations that have solidified Hampton's stellar position among the nation's colleges and universities. His extraordinary leadership is reflected in the growth and quality of the University's student population, academic programs, physical facilities and financial base. During Dr. Harvey’s 43 years of visionary leadership 92 new programs have been introduced, 29 new structures dot the landscape of the campus surrounded three sides by water and the university’s endowment has grown 1,279% from $29 million to $400 million and growing. Dr. Harvey has transformed Hampton University into a world-class leader in higher education. He has received appointments to national boards by six presidents of the United States and led important community and educational initiatives in Virginia.
Hampton University has built the first proton therapy cancer treatment center in the Commonwealth of Virginia -- an unparalleled hub for cancer treatment, research and technology. Hampton University is the first and only HBCU to have 100% control of a NASA mission and Hampton has four satellites / instruments currently in orbit.
An astute businessman, Dr. Harvey has applied his business acumen to the needs of Hampton University. In the process, he established student scholarships, created jobs, provided services, and increased the number of African-American entrepreneurs, while expanding the tax base in the City of Hampton.
In addition to the distinguished leadership Dr. Harvey has provided to Hampton University, he is the sole owner of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Houghton, Michigan. Dr. Harvey and his wife Norma have three children and five grandchildren.