Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs


News Release

Contact: Joe King, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-4299

July 27, 2004

NIU names Hemphill vice president for Student Affairs

DeKalb — Brian O. Hemphill has been named the new vice president for student affairs at Northern Illinois University.

Hemphill comes to NIU from the University of Arkansas, where he has served as the associate vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students for the past three years. His hiring concludes a national search that began last fall.

“I am pleased that NIU has attracted a person of such experience and energy to bring renewed focus to student affairs,” said NIU President John Peters. “When we elevated this job to a cabinet-level position, it was my feeling that students needed to be heard at the highest council of the university, and I am confident that Dr. Hemphill will provide them with a strong voice.”

In his new position, Hemphill will oversee almost all university functions related to student life, including Student Housing and Dining, Health Services, Accessibility Resources, Judicial Affairs, Student Legal Assistance, Campus Childcare, University Programming and Activities, Student Media, Counseling and Student Development, Career Planning and Placement, Campus Recreation, Greek Life and others. Hemphill currently handles many of those duties at the UA, and his experience and dedication in those areas made him a natural choice, said NIU Provost Ivan Legg.

“He has an infectious enthusiasm for the job, and he is very articulate. We are quite confident we are putting this position into the right hands,” said Legg, to whom Hemphill will report.

Hemphill, who has spent his entire professional career in higher education, said quality programs and service to students will top his long list of priorities.

“Leadership at its finest is service.  The contribution of student affairs to a university community should have service at its core,” said Hemphill, whose philosophy is that higher education has a responsibility to provide students with a holistic learning experience, offering a broad range of services, staff, and systems to ensure a quality experience from orientation to graduation.

"I truly believe that students receiving strong curriculum and co-curricular experiences are more likely to graduate successfully and meet the challenges of our changing world,” Hemphill said.

“NIU is a great institution with a tremendous future,” he said. “Dr. Peters has laid forth a very clear vision for the university, and it will be exciting to be a part of bringing that vision to life.”

Impressed with the quality of leadership provided by Legg and the staff in NIU’s Division of Academic and Student Affairs, Hemphill plans to spend the first several months of his time on campus working closely with the staff to define the division’s mission, vision, and goals.  He also intends to work with the entire university community to assess the strengths, while reviewing areas which are in need of improvement. From there, the division will draft a comprehensive strategic plan to guide its activities for the next several years. In addition to talking with his staff about such issues, Hemphill plans to spend time gathering information from students, faculty and staff.

“I don’t plan to spend a great deal of time at my desk. I will be out and about on campus. I will be diligent about connecting with students to ensure that the decisions we make on their behalf are always in their best interests,” he said.  Hemphill stated he was committed to hit the ground listening.

Hemphill’s first day at NIU is Aug. 23. He replaces Gary Gresholdt, who retired from NIU after 34 years, the last six as vice provost for student affairs.

Prior to joining the University of Arkansas, Hemphill served as the associate dean of students at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and held the position of assistant dean of students at Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa. He began his professional career at Iowa State University of Science and Technology as the coordinator of minority recruitment and retention services in the College of Education. He has made many presentations and published numerous articles relating to student affairs on college campuses, and has worked as a consultant.

He has served as a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators since 1994, chairing several committees and serving as a regional and national coordinator during that time.

Hemphill earned his B.A. in organizational communication from St. Augustine’s College, in Raleigh, North Carolina, and his M.S. in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University of Science and Technology. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Iowa.

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