Hampton University has named alumnus and U.S. Army retired Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, a 1983 graduate of Hampton University, as the institution’s next president. Williams met his wife, Myra, while attending Hampton. She also graduated from the university in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree. The couple, married in 1987, will be the first president and the first lady to both hold Hampton degrees.
While in uniform, the general was a familiar face at Stars & Stripes, a Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) fixture hosted in rotation by each of the military services during the annual science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) conference. The Stars & Stripes program highlights the contributions of Black men and women in support of national and military service. Williams also received a BEYA Stars & Stripes Award in recognition of his work to mentor next-generation leaders.
A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, Williams earned his bachelor’s degree in 1983 at then-Hampton Institute. Williams also holds three graduate 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, and a master’s in national security strategy (distinguished graduate) from the National War College.
Chosen as Hampton’s 13th president on March 30 by the university’s Board of Trustees, Williams brings four decades of experience leading military and commercial business enterprises, as well as nonprofit and academic leadership experience, Board of Trustees Chairman Wes Coleman said.
“When President Harvey told us of his decision to retire, we knew we wanted to build upon what he has accomplished,” said Coleman. “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.”
President William R. Harvey retires on June 30 after leading Hampton for 44 years. The Board of Trustees created a presidential search committee in 2021 after Dr. Harvey announced his retirement.
“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,” said Williams in a statement. “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.”
Williams retired from the U.S. Army in 2020 after 37 years of service. His last leadership position was as the director of the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). He oversaw a 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.
From 2015 to 2017, Williams led the Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee, Virginia, a military installation. There, he was responsible for the Army Logistics University and the professional military education and training of Army logistics junior officers, warrant officers, and non-commissioned officer students. Additionally, he assured the welfare and safety of 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 Army instructor of the Year, one of his many awards.
Currently, Williams is employed by Leidos, and serves as the company’s United Kingdom vice president and managing director of the U.K. Ministry of Defence logistics commodities and services transformation program, providing global logistical support to U.K. military forces.
While a student at Hampton, Williams was Mister Freshman 1979, a Reserve Officer Training (ROTC) scholarship cadet, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and senior class president. Myra Williams was a four-year member of the Hampton concert choir and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The couple has two adult children.