UpwardAction Salutes Hampton University President William R. Harvey

UpwardAction Salutes Hampton University President William R. Harvey


Dr. William R. Harvey has served as the president of Hampton University (~ alma mater of UpwardAction CEO TC Cooper ~) since 1978.   In addition to leading Hampton, he is also a successful entrepreneur who  has owned  a Pepsi Cola bottling company for 28 years (as of the date of this article).
Dr. Harvey is a native of Brewton, Alabama – where his father was a civil rights leader and entrepreneur.  He attended Talladega College and after graduating in 1961 served three years with United States Army, during which time he saw duty in Europe and the United States.

Building a Legacy

Dr. Harvey grew up in Brewton Alabama and graduated from Talladega College.   He went on to serve in both the United States and Europe as a member in the United States Army.  After serving in our armed forces,  Dr. Harvey attended Harvard University, where he received his doctorate in college administration in 1972.  

After Harvard, Dr. Harvey began a distinguished career in academia.   He served as:

  • Assistant for Governmental Affairs to the Dean at Harvard University
  • Administrative Assistant to the President at Fisk University
  • Administrative Vice President at Tuskegee University

After his service at Tuskegee, Dr. Harvey took the helm of Hampton University, an historically black college and university (HBCU).  
During the past 35 years, Dr. Harvey has led Hampton University into being one of the nation's most prestigious small colleges and home to a multi-million dollar new student cafeteria overlooking the Hampton River, the tallest building in the city of Hampton – Harbour Center, the first NASA mission to be managed entirely by an HBCU and world’s largest cancer proton treatment center (which was built two years ago on Hampton's campus).

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Dr. Harvey said: 

When I interviewed for the presidency at Hampton 36 years ago, I said that if I were selected, I would run Hampton like a business for educational objectives. The objective is academic.

President Harvey has certainly done this and much more.  Thanks to his leadership, the university in involved in numerous business ventures that include; building a four-star Marriott in Newport News and Hilton Garden Inns in Virginia Beach; owning and operating a small shopping center on the edge the school's campus that generates over a million dollars every year in profit.    


Dr. Harvey has been married to his wife Norma for over 46. They have a beautiful family of 3 children and multiple grandchildren. 

His legacy continues to be a family and university built on a strong foundation that will continue to withstand the tests of time.   

You can learn more about Dr. William R. Harvey on Hampton University's website at HamptonU.edu and in the Huffington Post.  

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