April 18, 2022 – Higher education-focused Storbeck Search, part of the Diversified Search Group, has placed Darrell K. Williams as the new president of Hampton University in Hampton, VA. He will succeed William R. Harvey, who retires on June 30 after leading Hampton for 44 years. The assignment was led by Shelly Weiss Storbeck, global education practice lead and managing director; Jeffrey Alston, senior associate; and Lisa Solinsky, senior associate. “When president Harvey told us of his decision to retire, we knew we wanted to build upon what he has accomplished,” said Wes Coleman, board of trustees chairman. “We embarked on a search for a proven strategic leader. The skills Lt. Gen. Williams is bringing to Hampton encompass what institutions of our size need. In a global world increasingly dependent on technology, this kind of strategic leadership expertise and knowledge can only help to move our institution forward over the coming decades.”
Mr. Williams was chosen from almost 300 applicants. The board of trustees created a presidential search committee in January 2021, after Dr. Harvey announced his retirement. Storbeck Search led the university’s initial selection process. Based on a select set of competencies and through interviews, the applicants were narrowed to a pool of 15 and then three finalists. These three candidates were presented to the board of trustees. The board voted Mr. Williams as president at the end of March, and he accepted the position on April 8.
Mr. Williams brings four decades of proven success in leading complex military and commercial business enterprises, as well as non-profit and academic leadership experience. He is presently employed by Leidos, a Fortune 250 technology company, and serves as the Leidos United Kingdom vice president and managing director of the U.K. Ministry of Defense Logistics Commodities and Services Transformation (LCST) program, providing global logistical support to U.K. military forces. Mr. Williams attributes his business and leadership roles at Leidos with helping to prepare him for this next exciting chapter at Hampton. Mr. Williams retired from the U.S. Army in 2020 after 37 years of service. His last leadership position was as the first African American and 19th director of the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). He oversaw a global workforce of over 26,000 civilian and military professionals.
“I love Hampton and bring a wealth of strategic leadership experiences, including management of large global organizations, as well as the academic and non-profit experience necessary to successfully lead the university,” Mr. Williams said. “I am thrilled to have been selected as the next president. I will work tirelessly with students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community to prepare our graduates for today and for the continuously evolving, technology-driven workforce of tomorrow.”
Hampton University, founded in 1868, provides a broad range of technical, liberal arts, and graduate degree programs. In addition to being one of the top historically black universities, the university offers 54 bachelor’s programs, 43 master’s programs, and 13 doctoral programs. Hampton University supports nearly 4,000 students representing 49 states and 35 territories and nations.
Higher Education Recruiting
Ms. Weiss Storbeck launched Storbeck Search in 2007 to focus on executive search in the education and non-profit sectors. Now part of The Diversified Search Group, the firm works on behalf of colleges, universities, schools, and non-profit organizations across the nation, with headquarters in Pennsylvania and local offices in every region. Storbeck Search has conducted searches for some of the country’s top colleges and universities, private schools, and non-profit institutions. Its roster of university clients includes Brown, Columbia, Haverford, Johns Hopkins, Lawrenceville, Michigan State, Northwestern, Pomona, Princeton, Swarthmore, and the University of Wisconsin, among others.
Dr. Alston brings to executive search seven years of administrative and student affairs experience in higher education, assisting students in career development. His career demonstrates a commitment to recruiting talent, building relationships, fostering student career development, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Before entering executive search, Dr. Alston worked at East Tennessee State University as director of university career services.
Ms. Solinsky has extensive experience in the education and non-profit sectors and a commitment to connecting individuals with mission-driven organizations. She has successfully managed searches for independent schools, colleges, universities, and non-profits for positions including head of school, chancellor, president, provost, and CEO, as well as senior leaders focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. Prior to entering executive search, Ms. Solinsky served as director of development at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, where she managed fundraising and donor stewardship programs. Previously, she served in development roles at the American Red Cross, Haverford College, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media