#TJFBHM18: Dr. William R. Harvey, Longest Sitting President of Any HBCU


Dr. William R. Harvey is President of Hampton University. Since 1978, he has served with distinction as President and created a monumental legacy during his forty year tenure as one of the longest tenures of any sitting president of a college or university in the U.S.

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 and 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.

Dr. Harvey has achieved many accolades while leading Hampton University, including increasing student enrollment from approximately 2,700 students to over 6,300; and creating 92 new academic 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.

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.

The University has balanced its budget and achieved a surplus during Dr. Harvey’s years as President.  The endowment, which stood at $29 million when he became President, now exceeds $250 million.

Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White is Director of Digital Strategy for the Tom Joyner Foundation, a writer and editor.

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