About the President

Dr. William R. Harvey

Dr. William R. Harvey is President of Hampton University and 100% owner of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Houghton, Michigan. Since 1978, he has served with distinction as President of Hampton University and created a monumental legacy during his thirty year tenure—one of the longest tenures of any sitting president of a college or university in the country. Dr. Harvey is described as “one of the most focused individuals that one can meet. He is relentlessly single-minded” when it comes to the advancement of the University. During the time that he has served at the helm, Dr. Harvey has made countless contributions to the University, our state and the nation. Few individuals have demonstrated the dedication to education and service that Dr. Harvey has demonstrated throughout his distinguished career.

A native of Brewton, Alabama, he is a graduate of Southern Normal High School and Talladega College. After graduating from Talladega College, Dr. Harvey served three years on active duty with the United States Army. During that time, he saw duty in Europe and in the United States. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve. Dr. Harvey earned his doctorate in College Administration from Harvard University in 1972. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as Assistant for Governmental Affairs to the Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University; Administrative Assistant to the President at Fisk University; and as Administrative Vice President at Tuskegee University.

Since being named President, Dr. William R. Harvey has introduced innovations, which have solidified Hampton University’s stellar position among the nation’s colleges and universities. His innovative 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 tenure as President, the student enrollment at Hampton University has increased from approximately 2,700 students to over 6,300. Moreover, the average SAT score of entering freshmen has increased approximately 300 points!

His commitment to expansion and innovation in academic programs has resulted in 76 new academic programs being implemented under his watch. Some of these new thrusts include undergraduate programs in Computer Science, Marine Science, Entrepreneurship, Chemical, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Airway Science, Emergency Medical Assistance Management; graduate programs in Business Administration (MBA), Applied Mathematics; and doctoral degrees in Physics, Pharmacy, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, Nursing and Physical Therapy. Dr. Harvey promotes a learning environment that encourages faculty research rivaling that of major research universities across the nation. Hampton University is in the process of building the first proton therapy cancer treatment center in the Commonwealth of Virginia—an unparalleled hub for cancer treatment, research, and technology. Weather satellites have been launched to study noctilucent clouds to determine why they form and how they may be related to global climate change. From Alzheimer’s research and alternative fuels to nanodevices combining diagnostic and therapeutic functions for early diagnosis and treatment of arthritis, under the competent leadership of President Harvey, Hampton University is poised to become a leader in research and technology not only in the Hampton Roads area and Virginia, but nationwide. These new programs, together with existing ones, have placed and kept Hampton on the cutting edge of higher education.
Dr. Harvey is the visionary and leader behind numerous community and educational initiatives. In 1994, he chaired the Virginia Peninsula United Way Campaign. He was the first African-American to head the organization's annual drive and raised a record setting $6.6 million. Dr. Harvey chaired the annual fundraising dinner for the National Conference of Christians and Jews and was the first guest host at the Celebrity Luncheon for the Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Red Cross. A Star Scout as a young boy, he endowed an outstanding leadership award and leadership forum for the Colonial Virginia Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Dr. Harvey continued to share his treasure with the Peninsula community when he and Mrs. Harvey endowed a $1,000,000 scholarship in honor of his father for students from Hampton and Newport News who aspire to be teachers.

He also implemented programs to help stop juvenile delinquency, truancy and illiteracy. In 1992, Dr. Harvey initiated the Job Education Training (JET) Corps, a program modeled after the 1930's Civilian Conservation Corps. Students from the school districts of Hampton, Newport News, James City County and Williamsburg, Virginia were selected to participate in the program which emphasized the academic skills of math, communication, reading and health in the mornings. In the afternoons, they were taken to public work sites to labor on a job which paid minimum wages for 40 hours per week. During the eight-week course, the program emphasized character building, values, discipline and work ethics. In 1989, Dr. Harvey instituted project H.O.P.E. (Hampton's Opportunity Program for Enhancement), which admits African-American males into Hampton who have potential for college, but do not meet the full academic requirements needed to matriculate at the University. Participants are given a reduced course load, assigned a coordinator who monitors their social and academic progression, and each receives a $1,000 scholarship.

For Dr. Harvey, enhancing the University’s physical facilities has been an integral part of his determination to create a physical environment conducive to learning and living. Therefore, during his presidency, the University has erected 18 new buildings and has spent some $50,000,000 on the renovation of existing facilities.

An astute businessman, Dr. Harvey applied his business acumen to the needs of Hampton University when he initiated a University-owned commercial development consisting of a shopping center and 246 two-bedroom apartments. All after-tax profits from the Hampton Harbor Project are primarily utilized for student scholarships. Additionally, the Project creates jobs, provides services, increases the number of African-American entrepreneurs, and expands the tax base in the City of Hampton. The proton cancer treatment center will be an improved health care facility that will not only ease human suffering and save lives, but will also be an economic driver for the university, the region and the state. It will provide new highly skilled jobs for the Hampton Roads area and increase the local lodging, entertainment, and tourism consumer base.

Dr. Harvey’s financial leadership is indicated in the financial growth and stability Hampton has achieved during his thirty years as President. The University has balanced its budget and achieved a surplus during each of those years. The endowment, which stood at $29 million when he became President, now exceeds $250 million. The University’s first capital fundraising campaign in 1979 had a goal of $30,000,000. That campaign raised $46.4 million. The most recent campaign had a goal of $200 million and raised $264 million.

In sum, Dr. Harvey has transformed Hampton University from a small black college to a world-class leader in the field of higher education. Today, the University boasts a number of distinctions that set it apart from other mid-sized institutions in the nation. Students are afforded the unique opportunities to engage in an equestrian program and/or to join the sailing team. Faculty are poised at the leading edge of discovery with patents on such items as a breast cancer detection device and prosthesis for artificial limbs. Recently, Hampton University was one of only four institutions in the nation to compete for and win the distinction of serving as a National Physics Frontier Center. In 2003, the University secured a $92 million dollar grant to launch weather satellites into orbit—making it the first HBCU to be solely responsible for a major NASA mission. Also, in 2003, a $12 million contract was won by the University to provided 4.5 million textbooks and supplemental materials to African countries. Hampton University is a world-class institution because of the vision of its chief executive officer.

Along with his duties as President, the corporate boards that Dr. Harvey serves on, or has served on, are Fannie Mae, Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Signet Bank, Newport News Shipbuilding, Wachovia Bank (Mid-Atlantic Region), Newport News Savings Bank, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Houghton, Michigan, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, and the Harvard Cooperative Society. He is a member of Virginia Association of Higher Education, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, and the Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.

Dr. 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, the President’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges, 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.

Dr. Harvey’s achievements have been recognized through inclusion of Personalities of the South, Who’s Who in the South and Southeast, Who’s Who in Black America, Who’s Who in American Education, International Who’s Who of Intellectuals, Two Thousand Notable Americans, Who’s Who in Business and Finance, and Who’s Who in America.

Dr. Harvey is married to the former Norma Baker of Martinsville, Virginia, and they have three children—Kelly Renee, William Christopher, and Leslie Denise—and three grandchildren, Taylor, Gabrielle and Lauren.