Photography by Cade Martin

Richmond's 11th president

May 18, 2021

Curriculum Vitae

Kevin Hallock is an economist and labor market scholar. He comes to Richmond from Cornell University, where he was dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.
By Matthew Dewald

In March, the board of trustees announced the appointment of Kevin F. Hallock as the University of Richmond’s 11th president. The announcement described Hallock as “a distinguished scholar, a gifted teacher, and an accomplished academic and institutional administrator.” He says that his focus on well-being informs his approach to leadership.

“In my time as an academic leader, I have striven to create an environment where all members of our academic community feel the same sense of belonging that I have enjoyed,” he said. “The first new position we created in my first role as dean was that of assistant dean for student experience and well-being. Our decision to incorporate the focus on well-being was critical and intentional. We must create an environment where all members of our community have the opportunity to thrive.”

Hallock will join the UR community at the beginning of the 2021–22 academic year. At Cornell University, he most recently served as dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and was previously dean of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and chair of the universitywide economics department. At Richmond, he will hold an appointment as professor of economics in the Robins School of Business and affiliated faculty appointments in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and the philosophy, politics, economics, and law program in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Hallock said he became interested in UR from the first day of the recruitment process last fall, impressed by the “strong sense of community” on campus and unmistakable care for students, exemplified by the “teacher-scholar mentality among faculty.” It was obvious to him that everyone he met “really, really cared about the well-being of students.”

University presidents tend to bring something of their disciplinary backgrounds with them to the position. Hallock is an economist and labor market scholar who was most recently dean of a business school and prior to that dean of a school focused on social sciences. He notes that economics departments at most institutions are in colleges of arts and sciences and that economists study a wide variety of subjects related to how people and organizations maximize desirable outcomes with constrained resources. Sometimes that outcome is financial profits, but it could also be reading comprehension among children in a city, reducing crime, improving alumni engagement, or advancing student outcomes.

“Economists think on the margin,” Hallock said. “They want to know if something changes, what is the likely change to something — or everything — else? Thinking like an economist can actually be pretty valuable when leading an organization because there are constant decisions, and we should always do our best to make the best decisions, given the constraints we face.”

He plans to use his early days as president building relationships on campus, in the community, and with alumni.

“I’m going to spend a lot of time trying to get to know people and understand their different perspectives,” Hallock said. “I believe strongly in being transparent, inclusive, empathic, and fair. I really look forward to working with students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of the University to build on the greatness of what we already have and help move us forward to an even more remarkable future.”