President Hallock greets the Spider family ready to engage and excel

August 17, 2021


There comes a moment when every Spider takes in the UR campus and realizes that they’re home. This summer, our incoming president, Kevin Hallock, had the chance to explore Richmond before settling in for the start of the academic year at one of the nation’s top private universities. 

In August, Hallock moved from Ithaca, New York, where he was dean and professor of strategy and business economics at Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business, the Joseph R. Rich ’80 Professor of Economics and Human Resource Studies, and founding director of the Institute for Compensation Studies. He spoke about some of his first impressions of UR, as he and his wife Tina began to meet the campus community.

What was it like to tour campus for the first time as president-elect?

We were quite anonymous for a while, wandering around a bit. We enjoyed going through the academic buildings, the faculty areas and where staff are working, the athletic facilities, the Modlin Center for the Arts — all of the buildings are universally wonderful. Then after a while, a few people started recognizing us, and it was interesting to see that unfold. 

It's still a new experience, and people — whether they were visitors to campus, or parents or staff, or faculty or students — were welcoming and kind and friendly. That was nice for both me and for Tina. We really enjoyed stopping and speaking with students, staff, and faculty.

I’ve heard you have two rescue dogs — will they get a chance to check out campus?

They will love that. And I'm hoping that the campus community enjoys meeting them too. One of them is pretty mellow but the other is quite a puppy, gregarious — a little overly friendly, frankly. She is only 2 years old, and a year and a half of that has been in COVID. She hasn't been socialized as much as would be ideal for a young dog. She's just happy. She doesn't know she's not so good with personal boundaries.

What was it like seeing where you’ll be living?

One thing that I like about the house is that it has wonderful space to host members of the campus community. I consider it the home of the University. The proximity, being near students, and attending events in the evening and being able to walk right back home, is quite appealing to me and Tina.

There is a beautiful brick wall over part of the property, and a bit of fence has been added so that our two dogs will have a place to play safely. That's the one change we're making, so that we can keep our dogs close by.

Did you see any campus spots you think might be future favorites?

I would say places where students are congregating will be places where we like to go. We have enjoyed walking around the lake. We enjoyed seeing students competing in athletics. We love the Modlin Center. In the new Well-Being Center, we had lunch two days in a row and had exactly the same thing both times and loved it.

Are you a sports fan? Any thoughts on the Spider teams?

Absolutely. My first sports love was baseball. But I'm interested in just about any sport. I'm quite fascinated by people who have exceptional ability in whatever they do — in the arts, in the sciences, or the humanities. It’s remarkable to see incredibly talented people doing their work, and there are lots of opportunities to see that when you're in a place like the University of Richmond. 

I went into the Spider Shop and purchased a field hockey t-shirt and a baseball t-shirt. And then I came back the next day and I told the kind person behind the counter, ‘I want to buy one t-shirt from every sport,’ so when I'm running around campus, I can show my pride in each of them.

Any thoughts about the city itself?

This is easily the biggest and most interesting town we've ever lived in, by far. We’ve typically lived in small, college towns. There are so many opportunities in the city for our students, staff, and faculty to engage, contribute and learn.

What’s one thing you’d like people to know about you?

Through the recruitment process, there was an intense focus by the staff and faculty at the University on the well-being of students. And that's entirely consistent with my views about higher education, a focus on the students and their experience from admission to graduation, and beyond as lifetime members of the campus community and an interest in their well-being.

This University is extraordinary. And we can advance and be among the most remarkable places in America. Given time and effort and resources, from staff, faculty, students, and alumni, we can get there. It's just such a great opportunity, and Tina and I are delighted to be here.