kevin hallock speaking from podium

Kevin Hallock inaugurated as University of Richmond's president

April 12, 2022


Since arriving at Richmond, President Kevin Hallock has spent a significant amount of time listening and learning from the community. The feedback “is a gift,” he told those gathered for his inauguration as the 11th president of the University of Richmond on April 8.

His listening tour has taken him to all corners of the community, and it was only fitting that during the ceremony at the Robins Center, senior Makayla R. Callender gifted Hallock with a “UR Passport,” which provides suggestions for places to engage with people across campus and become even more immersed in the Spider community.

In his remarks, Hallock also emphasized the importance of community. “I will work as hard as I can to help our university become even more remarkable than it is today,” he said. “Today is a celebration of our university and our community and all that makes it both distinctive and distinguished.”

The labor market economist identified UR’s people and resources, the array of offerings, and the city and region as the institution’s top assets. “An economist might call these comparative advantages,” he said.

Hallock said he is “struck by the character, maturity, drive, and strength of UR’s students” and is “impressed with how focused our hardworking staff are on the student experience.”

He said the University also has a secret sauce, which is the faculty’s engagement with students and their deep commitment to fostering a culture of mentored research, scholarship, and learning. Hallock shared that he had applied to teach a first-year seminar in the fall. “I am delighted that my course was approved last month!”

He also commended alumni, who make possible much of UR’s success. “They provide career advice, hire our graduates, [and] offer scholarship support.”

Hallock said he hopes the community will engage around five areas of opportunity: access and affordability, belonging, well-being, academic excellence, and community engagement. “These five key areas of strategic importance can serve as our guiding lights.”

He wants all UR students to be able to pursue their educational goals without feeling constrained by costs. “Where I intend to work very hard is expanding financial aid opportunities for families in the ‘middle income’ category,” he said.

Hallock and his wife have committed to endowing a scholarship at Richmond. “Tina and I have decided to put our money where my mouth is,” he said.

And while Hallock appreciates the energy around building a community of care and belonging, he acknowledged that not everyone feels like they belong at UR. “What is important — and what I ask of all of you — is to listen to each other and to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Seek to understand — and whenever possible, assume positive intent.”

He also acknowledged that understanding the institution’s history is a step to becoming more inclusive. The Board of Trustees recently voted to change the name of six buildings. “I recognize that the path to this decision was rocky and that not all members of our community agree with this decision,” he said.

The University cares about learning and intends to preserve and make accessible a complete historical record related to those six buildings and their previous namesakes.

He cited the University’s commitment to well-being as another opportunity. “At Richmond, we believe success in college goes beyond academic accomplishments — it is also about equipping students to flourish and lead resilient and well-balanced lives.”

The fourth opportunity is academic excellence. Teaching, mentoring, and research all matter at Richmond, and the University should support faculty who are impacting students. “They are part of our recipe for academic excellence, and they should be rewarded,” Hallock said.

The University has a clear comparative advantage on the fifth opportunity: community engagement. “We have an extraordinary city and region right here, and many of our competitors do not have this.”

Hallock said he is confident that the opportunities will become “synonymous with the Richmond name.”

“I am grateful and lucky to be embarking on this journey with all of you,” Hallock said. “We are part of something really special here, and I believe the best days for our university are ahead.”