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Hampton University names alumnus and retired three-star general Darrell Williams as new president

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

U.S. Army retired Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, a 1983 graduate of Hampton University, who earned the title of Mister Freshman, will serve as the institution’s next president.

Williams was chosen from almost 300 applicants after the Board of Trustees created a presidential search committee in January 2021.

After Dr. William Harvey, who served as president of the historically Black school since 1978, announced his retirement, Trustees began their extensive search for a replacement.

“We embarked on a search for a proven strategic leader. The skills Lt. Gen. Williams brings to Hampton encompass what institutions of our size need,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Wes Coleman.

“In a global world increasingly dependent on technology, this kind of strategic leadership expertise and knowledge can only help move our institution forward over the coming decades.”

Coleman continued:

“Running a university is complex, as was made evident by the global pandemic. So, when President Harvey told us of his decision to retire, we knew we wanted to build upon what he has accomplished.”

Williams, of Alexandria, Virginia, currently serves as vice president and managing director of Leidos. In this Fortune 250 technology company, he oversees the U.K. Ministry of Defense Logistics Commodities and Services Transformation (LCST) program.

He provides global logistical support to U.K. military forces.

According to a news release, Williams attributes his business and leadership roles at Leidos to helping to prepare him for this next exciting chapter at Hampton.

He retired from the U.S. Army in 2020 after 37 years of service.

His last leadership position was as the first African American and the 19th director of the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).

Williams oversaw a global workforce of over 26,000 civilian and military professionals.

Under his watch, the DLA annually provided over $40 billion in global logistical support to all U.S. military services, designated international partner and allied military services, and 42 U.S. government organizations and federal agencies.

During the early stages of the pandemic, the DLA provided over $1 billion in COVID-19 relief to the DoD and other federal agencies.

From 2015 to 2017, Williams led the Army Combined Arms Support Command and the Fort Lee, Virginia, a military installation.

He was responsible for Army Logistics University and the Professional Military Education and training of thousands of Army logistics junior officers, warrant officers, and non-commissioned officer students.

Additionally, he led the installation’s strategic engagement with the Richmond, Petersburg, Hopewell, and Colonial Heights communities.

He assured the welfare and safety of the over 25,000 students, staff and faculty, families, and support organizations.

Early in his career, he served as a leadership and logistics instructor at Fort Lee and was named an Army instructor of the year, one of his many awards.

Williams, a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, earned his bachelor’s degree in 1983 at then-Hampton Institute.

Williams also holds three graduate school degrees: a master’s in business administration from Pennsylvania State University; a master’s in military art and science from the Army Combined and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and a master’s in national security strategy (distinguished graduate) from the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.

In the news release, Williams said he is honored to be chosen as Hampton’s 13th president and is looking forward to “returning to serve.”

“I love Hampton and bring a wealth of strategic leadership experiences, including management of large global organizations, as well as the academic and nonprofit experience necessary to successfully lead the university,” Williams stated.

“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 tomorrow’s continuously evolving, technology-driven workforce.”

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