Dr. Kevin Hallock leans against a wall, smiling.

President-elect ready to hit the ground running

March 8, 2021

University News

During the pandemic, University of Richmond’s president-elect became disciplined about running and set a goal of running 1,000 miles in 2020.

Kevin F. Hallock easily surpassed that goal in August, and finished the year with 1,664 miles. “This year, I am on pace to easily pass that,” he said from his current home in upstate New York. Quite a bit of his running has been on a treadmill given the snowy winters where he now lives.

He admits he doesn’t much like running. “I just love the feeling of having run,” he said. “I feel better, I sleep better, and I have more energy.”

The discipline is evident in his career. He is a distinguished scholar, a gifted teacher, and an experienced and accomplished academic and institutional administrator. Hallock will join the University community this fall, at the start of the 2021–22 academic year as the University’s 11th president. He currently serves as the dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University, which is comprised of three highly ranked schools enrolling more than 3,600 students.

Richmond’s combination of an outstanding liberal arts and sciences education with excellent professional schools impressed Hallock. “Richmond is in rarefied air with how well this is handled and with the quality of the programs, students, and faculty,” he said. “The intense focus on the students and the teacher-scholar mentality among the faculty is simply terrific.”

Throughout the interview process, UR’s mission statement and values captivated him. “They are deeply resonant with the type of academic community that I strive to be a part of and the values that I hold dear.”

He was struck by the strong sense of community, the value placed on intellectual curiosity, and the diversity of disciplines. “People at Richmond respect difference and reasoned debate,” he said. “I would also note that my belief that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is of foundational importance to institutions of higher education was shared by people I met during the recruitment process.”

Hallock’s tenure will begin in the fall of 2021 at the start of the next academic year. During his first three months at UR, he will focus on meeting as many Spiders — both on campus and off — as he can “to listen, with curiosity, interest, and empathy, and try to understand their perspectives.”

Knowing that 100 days passes quickly, he said he is working on a “flight pattern” for how he can achieve his outreach. He also will spend time working to build trust with the many constituents of the University. “I consider myself to be an open, honest leader, who tries to make decisions that are objective, transparent and fair,” he shared. “In each of my previous academic leadership roles, my words and actions were always governed by my personal values, which include integrity; transparency; effort and hard work; collegiality and giving others the benefit of the doubt; and the importance of the well-being of the community.”

Although setting priorities is something he indicated he will do after better getting to know the community, Hallock said, “I know that I will want to focus on the experience and well-being of our students; support the creative work and research of our faculty; and ensure that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging permeates everything that we do.”

He became interested in UR early on in the recruitment process, and with each new piece of information about UR his enthusiasm grew. “Every step of the way, I was left with such an enormous sense of pride about the UR community, and I just knew it was a place I wanted to be.”