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HU president among top 5 of two all-time best HBCU presidents

5/28/2013, 1:44 p.m.
Dr. William Harvey

— Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey is at the top of most influential Historically Black College presidents, according to two HBCU listings released in May. State of HBCUs and HBCU Digest both named Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey as one of the “Top 5 HBCU Presidents” of all time, for, among other things, demonstrating an ability to fundraise and pushing back against political opposition.

According to the State of HBCUs list, its criteria for the list, published in May, is “demonstrated the ability to fundraise, those who proved to be academic innovators, those who resisted and pushed back against political opposition, and those who fostered an atmosphere conducive to community building, social, political, and economic advancement.”

Other HBCU presidents on the State of HBCUs list are Booker T. Washington, Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, Johnnetta Cole and Robert Moton.

State of HBCUs noted that Harvey is one of the most recognizable names in the HBCU community, mainly due to his advocacy for HBCUs.

HBCU Digest’s listing “Five-Greatest HBCU Presidents,” also published in May, noted that the presidents were chosen for, “an ability to cultivate resources, to be a force against political and cultural opposition, to establish tradition and legacy among students and graduates, and to build the brand of an institution.”

Other presidents included on the HBCU Digest list are Benjamin Mays, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Dr. Frederick S. Humphries and Dr. Norman Francis.

Harvey is cited for his legacy as an entrepreneurial president, who transformed Hampton into a research powerhouse, by overseeing the University becoming the first HBCU to have total mission responsibility for a NASA satellite mission. He is also cited for his vision and leadership in opening the world’s largest freestanding proton therapy cancer treatment center in 2010.

"Over 35 years, Dr. Harvey has positioned Hampton to be one of the nation's elite hubs of student development, civic engagement, social influence and academic innovation. His leadership focus has been simple - dream no small dreams and make them a reality with sweat equity and teamwork," said Jarrett Carter, who publishes HBCU Digest. "In Hampton, Dr. Harvey was able to visualize the long-term value and influence of a university brand and to leverage it across social, political, economic and racial boundaries. That visualization has made Hampton one of the nation's iconic institutions of higher learning and makes him one of the greatest, if not the greatest, president in the collective history of historically black colleges."