Former Hampton University administrator is making history

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – It’s history in the making coming from Hampton Roads. On Jan. 1, Dr. Pam Hammond will become the first woman to be president of Virginia State University. She says she’s up for the job. And her mentor, one of the longest serving college presidents in the country, agrees.

10 On Your Side’s Anita Blanton sat down with them at Hampton University Wednesday.

A recent study found that only 26 percent of the college presidents in the U.S. are women even though women make up more than 57 percent of the students on college campuses. Some say it’s for a lack of role models that look like them – leaders like Dr. Pamela Hammond at Hampton University who is soon to be the first female president in Virginia State University’s 133 years.

“The university has such a proud history that to just be a part of that is amazing to me,” said Hammond.

She’s risen through the ranks at Hampton, from professor to dean to provost. And Wednesday was her last day.

“In terms of preparation everyone at Hampton is being prepared to be a leader, the students, staff and the faculty,” said Hammond. “Just being around Dr. Harvey is like being in a classroom everyday.”

This Thanksgiving with such a huge opportunity before her, she’s grateful for the mentor that groomed her for years. Hammond will become the seventeenth administrator under Dr. William Harvey in his 36 years at Hampton to go on to become a college president or president of a higher institution organization.  She’ll be the third woman to become a first.

“One of the first things I said that she should do is have a listening tour,” said Harvey. “Listen to students. Listen to faculty. Listen to alumni. What I’ve tried to do here is get very good people, men and women, young and more seasoned, and give them the opportunities to do well. I’m very confident that Dr. Hammond will do a very good job at VSU. She has the knowledge, experience, and leadership skills.”

As they sat down in Harvey’s office for the final time as president and provost, Harvey said he knew his mentee would be just fine. Just as he has for years, she’s paving the way.

“I think there are going to be more women presidents,” said Hammond.

Who knows what the future holds. But, Hammond will have her work cut out for her from day one at Virginia State. Last month, former VSU president Dr. Keith Miller abruptly announced his resignation after a drop in enrollment and a $19 million budget shortfall.

Dr. JoAnn Haysbert will now be the executive vice president and provost at Hampton University. She was the first woman to leave from under Harvey to become the first female president of Langston University in Oklahoma and returned after seven years.

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