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Radford’s Brian Hemphill named new ODU president

Radford University President Brian Hemphill has been hired as Old Dominion University’s ninth president, ODU announced Friday. He will succeed John Broderick, the Norfolk university’s president of 13 years, who is retiring this year.

Hemphill, who has led Radford since 2016, will join ODU this summer, according to a news release Friday from the university. He will be ODU’s first Black president since the university’s founding in 1930 as part of William & Mary. It became an independent public institution in 1962.

“It is both an honor and privilege to be selected as the ninth president of Old Dominion University, a dynamic public research institution that has proudly served the Hampton Roads region and positively impacted the commonwealth of Virginia,” Hemphill said in a statement.   

Before joining Radford, Hemphill served as president of West Virginia State University for four years. Before that, he was vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Northern Illinois University for eight years. At Radford, he oversaw the university’s 2019 merger with the Jefferson College of Health Sciences, now known as Radford University Carilion, with 1,200 students enrolled.

Hemphill received degrees from Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, Iowa State and the University of Iowa, where he received his doctorate in higher education administration and policy studies. He is married to Marisela Rosas Hemphill, who worked in student affairs at Colgate University in New York and also has a doctorate from the University of Iowa. They have 8-year-old twins, Catalina and Cruz, and Hemphill has two adult children as well.

Kay A. Kemper, rector of ODU’s board of visitors, said in a statement that the board was “highly impressed with [Hemphill’s] substantial accomplishments in less than five years as president of Radford, as well as his commitment to a student-centered approach.” According to the news release, Radford saw record enrollment in the fall of 2019 and 2020, and Hemphill started a student retention plan and academic center to assist first-year students with their studies. Under his leadership, Radford received its largest federal grant in its history, $13.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education, and launched its largest capital project, the Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity.

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