Editor's Note: This article was updated to include the date of the presidential transition. The Collegian was informed by UR communications on March 5 that Hallock will begin both his role as president and appointment as a professor this fall.
Kevin Hallock, professor and dean at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson College of Business, will be the next president of the University of Richmond.
Hallock’s selection as UR’s 11th president, which board of trustees rector Paul Queally and vice rector Susan Quisenberry announced in an email to the campus community Thursday, comes after current-president Ronald Crutcher requested in September 2020 for the board to begin searching for his successor.
When Hallock joins the UR community as president at the start of the 2021–22 academic year, Hallock will also hold an appointment as an economics professor in the Robin’s School of Business, with 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, according to the email. When Crutcher steps down, he will remain a part of the UR community as a professor.
When asked what his main goal will be as president, Hallock wrote in an email to The Collegian that it was hard to pick only one.
“There is such a wonderful foundation from which to build,” he wrote. “Richmond is amazing and on an upward path to prominence.
“If I had to mention one singular goal, as I sit here more than five months from my start, I’d like a guiding light to be that every single Spider feels the same sense of belonging that I feel on the afternoon of the announcement to join your community.”
According to the Thursday email, Hallock has a record of pushing diversity initiatives at Cornell, including advocating for increased diversity among faculty and staff at the SC Johnson College and creating a fund to increase the number of underrepresented students in Ph.D. programs.
Hallock did not answer whether he would continue Crutcher’s Making Excellence Inclusive initiatives but emphasized the importance of the topics the initiatives address.
“My view is that issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging must be a bedrock on which we [stand],” Hallock wrote.
Hallock visited UR for four days during the recruitment process, he wrote, noting that he thought the campus was stunning.
“I also had lots of socially distanced and masked interviews and meetings and we explored the city a bit,” he wrote. “We fell in love with the community very quickly.”
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Living near a college community will be familiar for Hallock and his wife, Tina Hallock, who met when they were four years old in a small rural town, Hadley, Massachusetts, near Amherst College.
“We have spent our entire lives (except for a semester I spent in DC as an intern in college) living in small college towns,” Hallock wrote. “We are eager to get to know Richmond. We are super-excited about living in a new part of the country.”
Overall, UR seemed like the perfect match, Hallock wrote.
The Collegian’s interview requests to members of the search committee were directed to Queally and Quisenberry. Quisenberry declined to comment on the specifics of the search for UR’s next president, explaining that it was confidential, but provided general information about the process, Quisenberry wrote in a statement shared with The Collegian by Cynthia Price, associate vice president of media and public relations at UR.
The position prospectus served as the committee’s guide as they searched for the next president, Quisenberry wrote. This document includes community input collected via a survey and a listening session with search consultants from Spencer Stuart, a search and leadership consulting firm, during the fall of 2020 about the skills, experience and priorities the next president should have.
“The committee also devoted time to anti-bias training as a group to ensure that we do our best to conduct a search that recruits the best talent from a diverse pool of candidates,” Quisenberry wrote.
The committee, whose majority of members were white and male identifying, comprised trustees, professors, department heads, alumni and current students, for a total of 15 members.
The president position at UR attracted many strong and accomplished candidates, Quisenberry wrote, and while the committee reviewed candidates and recommended finalists to the board, the board ultimately made the selection.
“The faculty, staff, and student members of the committee are all active participants in every element of this work,” she wrote. “They are outstanding representatives of the University and we are grateful for their involvement and contributions.”
Student governments were also given the chance to provide input to the board during the selection process last fall, said senior Noella Park, Westhampton College Student Government Association president.
“In this whole new search for the new president, they came to the student government both RCSGA and WGCA, and they had a forum where all the student leaders on both of the bodies could come up to the microphone in front of the board of trustees and speak to what we were looking for,” she said.
Park said she felt this showed Crutcher valued student input, which she said Crutcher’s actions throughout her time at UR also reflected. He and his wife, Betty Crutcher, took time to make personal connections with students, Park said.
“I didn’t imagine going to college and being able to just say hi and speak in a candid way to the president and I do,” Park said.
Park hopes this effort to get to know students continues with the next president.
“Understanding what it means to be at UR, and the intricate community level things that are not just quantifiable — like, you can't just look at a pile of numbers and be like ‘okay this is the Richmond experience’ — I think that personal connection and ability to build those connections are going to be really crucial for students, faculty and the new president,” she said.
Professor of political science Monti Datta explained that Hallock will be entering a community that has begun to reckon with injustice.
“President Crutcher is clearly a man who cares deeply about racial and social injustice, and under his watch, UR has made progress,” Datta said. “I actually think the UR campus is near a tipping point in which student groups, along with faculty and staff-led efforts, are pushing for more social justice reform efforts on campus.
“Those seeds were planted under the tenure of President Crutcher.”
Senior AJ Polcari, Richmond College Student Government Association president, was surprised that UR selected a president with a background in business — and he would have liked to see UR’s first female president. However, Polcari thinks Hallock’s background in inequality research could help UR grapple with the issues Datta mentioned.
“I think that type of perspective, someone who is very policy driven and has written about the structural issues in our country and in our world for that matter, I think he could be a really great influence,” Polcari said.
Hallock’s research focuses include the gender pay gap, compensation design, compensation in nonprofits, executive compensation, layoffs, labor market discrimination, and disability in labor markets. He holds three degrees, a B.A. in economics from University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.
Students can use the form that has been made accessible on UR’s website to send a message to Hallock, if they are interested.
Lifestyle writer Caitlin O’Hare contributed to reporting.
Contact managing editor Emma Davis at email@example.com.
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