Faculty benefits from HU president’s gift

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Print this page by Joan Tupponce

Members of the faculty at Hampton University will receive higher paychecks this year, thanks to university President William R. Harvey and his wife, Norma, who donated $1 million to be used as incentives to increase faculty salaries.

The donation gives each faculty member a 3 percent increase for the 2011-12 academic year. Additional 1 percent increases up to 8 percent will be given to faculty who have received grants, published articles in journals, provided outstanding service to the university and offered significant support to students. The same formula will be used for the next three years.

During the recent recession, Harvey froze salaries as well as equipment purchases, promotions, tenure and travel to prevent layoffs. His donation was a way to acknowledge the faculty’s cooperation. “It was something I thought would be quid pro quo,” Harvey says. “I was rewarding faculty for helping us but still promoting educational advancement.”

In an interview with CNN, a reporter asked Harvey where the couple found the money for the donation. He replied, “People like to drink Pepsi in Michigan.”  Harvey is the sole owner of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. in Houghton, Mich.

This isn’t the first $1 million donation the Harveys have made to the university. In 2001, the couple donated the same amount to provide scholarships for high school students from Hampton and Newport News enrolling in Hampton University who were interested in becoming teachers. That money was donated in honor of Harvey’s father, W.D.C. Harvey. About four students have received $10,000 a year from the fund since its inception.

“Our thought was that some areas such as business, technology and engineering had more scholarship money readily available than people going into teaching,” Harvey says. “If you didn’t have teachers, you couldn’t have businessmen, doctors, lawyers, etc.”

Harvey and his wife also set up a fund in honor of Harvey’s mother, Claudis P. Harvey, for university staff who demonstrate competence and support and have helped other departments and students.

Harvey, who has led Hampton for the past 33 years, is also the founder of the university’s Proton Therapy Institute, which opened in October. “We were able to finance $225 million during this bad economic time,” he says. “Now we are saving lives.”

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