HAMPTON, VA. (Nov. 4, 2021) — At the recent fall 2021 Hampton University Board of Trustees meeting, Mrs. Doretha J. Spells, Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer, announced that the University’s Endowment now sits at more than $400 million and growing. She stated, “This marks the best financial position that the University has ever been in throughout its distinguished history.”
“The chief reasons why Hampton University has been able to consistently increase our endowment while other institutions and businesses are facing tough times financially are two-fold. First, our team emphasizes the importance of fundraising. Secondly, we practice fiscal conservatism as it relates to our expenditures. Hampton’s trustees have also made wise investments and business decisions in our financial portfolio,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President. “The collective competence of the team that has supported me during my 44 years of leadership has also played a major role in Hampton’s success.”
When Dr. Harvey first stepped onto campus in 1978, Hampton University’s endowment was at $29 million. During his impressive four decades of unparalleled leadership, Dr. Harvey and his team have increased the endowment by 1,279 percent and now it is more than $400 million as a result of new money and appreciation. Dr. Harvey “practices what he preaches.”
Many have labeled Dr. Harvey as one of the best fundraisers in the entire country and he “practices what he preaches.” The Harveys have contributed $10,300,000 to Hampton University with student scholarships being one of their main priorities. Approximately $3,000,000 of their donations have been specifically targeted for named scholarships, including Laron Clark, Jr. Scholarship Fund for First Generation Students; Alumni Legacy Scholarships, Royzell Dillard Scholarship Fund; String Ensemble Endowed Scholarship; Audrey B. Greene Scholarship Fund; City of Hampton Chief of Police – Pat Minetti Endowed Scholarship; Herbert E. Kelly Endowed Scholarship and Hampton University Chief of Police – Christopher Harper Scholarship Fund. Other scholarship funds have been contributed directly into general endowed scholarships.
The first couple’s history of giving also includes faculty and staff salary increases during lean financial periods. For an example, in 2011, Dr. and Mrs. William R. Harvey gave a gift of a million dollars to be used to increase faculty salaries. Also in 2011 and again in 2014, the Harveys gave donations of $166,000 and $108,403 respectively to support wage increases for fulltime, permanent Hampton University staff. At that time, Dr. Harvey indicated that it was not just the upper echelon of administrators who made up the team, but quoting Langston Hughes, he indicated that, “The dream belongs not just to the dreamer alone, but all the hands that helped to build.”
Hampton University is not the same place it was when Dr. Harvey arrived. Today, Hampton attracts outstanding students with high SAT scores who bring positive national and international attention to Hampton by winning prestigious scholarships and competitions, conducting research, as well as engaging in prominent leadership and service activities. Interest in the "Hampton Experience" has led to between 15,000 and 20,000 applications annually and a steady enrollment. Classified by the Carnegie Commission as a 'High Research Activity' institution, faculty and students conduct cutting-edge research in various areas. Dr. Harvey’s list of accomplishments is much too long to include each one, but they have benefited Hampton, the Hampton Roads Region, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the national higher education landscape.
A visionary, Dr. Harvey has embraced HU founder General Samuel Chapman Armstrong’s mission to have every aspect at Hampton University excel and to promote the development of character among all of the constituent groups. The William R. Harvey years, 44 and counting, will grace the record books as an unparalleled accounting of mega success, not just for the HU students, faculty, staff and alumni whose lives give testimony to the results of his labor, but also for the global community of stakeholders who will continually reap the benefits of his astute leadership for generations to come.
“I believe what has made Dr. Harvey’s presidential tenure legendary has been his ability to lead with a bold course of action,” said Wesley Coleman, Chairman of the Hampton University Board of Trustees. “While the rest of the world lives up to the status quo, Dr. Harvey for 44 years has taken the bull by the horns and used his keen business acumen to successfully grow the endowment and transform this institution of higher learning into a world-class research institution that always stands above the crowd. That is truly special."
Dr. Harvey’s contributions as a true transformational leader in the world of education and beyond are demonstrated by the greater level of access to education he created for students through his business acumen. In June 2021, Dr. William R. Harvey again demonstrated his spirit of commitment and generosity to students by establishing the Character, Legacy and Merit Scholarships and designating $3 million in renewable awards for eligible students. As a result of Dr. Harvey’s guidance and service, Hampton University is an internationally renowned world-class leader in higher education. Dr. Harvey has transformed Hampton University from a small college to a world-class university. Over 36,000 students have graduated under Dr. Harvey’s leadership. These students are destined for success as they join alumni who are leaders in some of the highest offices across a multitude of industries. Many alumni who were influenced by Dr. Harvey’s leadership will tell you how their alma mater excels above the rest.
“Over his historic tenure as President, Dr. Harvey’s leadership and vision have continually inspired others to dreams no small dreams, learn more, do more and become more,” said Doretha J. Spells, Hampton University Vice President for Business Affairs & Treasurer. “Dr. Harvey’s vision and strong business insight has grown the endowment at such a rate that the University has made significant impacts on the lives of students, faculty staff and others that cannot truly be measured.”
Fueled by Dr. Harvey’s leadership, the University built 30 buildings and completed a number of campus enhancements in practically every building. The University continues to plan, design and construct high-quality facilities that support the mission of this world-class institution. Each of these enhancements benefits students, faculty, staff and the entire Hampton University community. These latest enhancements include renovations and improvements, such as new research labs and new technology for classrooms, in academic buildings such as Buckman, Turner, and DuPont Halls. All residence halls received new or updated air conditioning units as well as bathroom renovations. These improvements can be found in Virginia Cleveland, McGrew, DuBois, Moton, Winona, Continuing Education Center (CEC), Stone, James, Harkness, and Twitchell Halls. The main entrance gate, several athletic facilities and technology upgrades in the classrooms have also been improved as a result of Dr. Harvey’s tenacious work.
Dr. Harvey has introduced innovations, which have solidified Hampton University’s stellar position among the nation’s colleges and universities. Among these are 92 new academic programs, including 12 new doctoral programs; multiple satellites on active NASA missions in space; a Severe Weather Research Center which produces rapid, accurate forecasts of fast-developing weather systems up to 2,000 miles away, such as hurricanes and tornadoes; and the largest free-standing proton therapy cancer treatment center in the world which treats prostate, breast, lung, ocular, pediatric, spine, head, neck and brain cancers. All of these accomplishments speak to his desire to leave the world better than he found it.
Dr. Harvey’s leadership continues to support Hampton University’s institutional vision and mission by ensuring high quality faculty and staff continue to thrive, to build character, and to help prepare promising students for successful futures.