There’s a New Sheriff in Town


If you haven’t heard, Dr. Desiree Williams is the new director of The William R. Harvey Leadership Institute.  Along with being the new director she is an assistant professor in the department of physical therapy, a yoga instructor, and Miss Virginia USA.

Dr. Williams was drawn to Hampton University because of a full academic scholarship. Prior to visiting Hampton University she never considered attending a HBCU coming from a predominantly white high school. It didn’t take long for her to feel at home and discover the beauty of being the majority rather than the minority. During her tenure at HU she was in the Leadership Institute, Honors College, Golden Key’s Honor Society, and Miss. Hampton 2010-2011.

“My goals were redirected my senior year after winning Miss. Hampton because it opened up a world of opportunities that I didn’t know existed“, Williams stated.  Upon graduating she was considering teaching with her certification in physical education. However, a conversation with Dr. Harvey inspired her to apply to Hampton’s Physical Therapy DPT program. She was granted admissions, which ultimately changed her career path.

Williams also started to compete in pageants more frequently. She was National Sweetheart in 2012 and as Miss. Virginia 2013 she participated in the Miss. America pageant. Now she serves as 2016 Miss. Virginia USA and is getting ready for the Miss. USA pageant. She’s preparing by doing community service, interviews, photoshoots, and working out. Occasionally, she travels to New York to meet with one of the best modeling coaches.

Even though she has accomplished many things, she was shocked when Dr. Harvey called her offering her the position in the institute. As a graduate of the institute she was honored and knew the title of director carried a lot of weight. Dr. Williams will love to see more inter-class collaboration and opportunities for students to practice what they’re learning. She envisions the current seniors being heads of various committees in the institute. They will then be charged with ensuring there’s productive work going on throughout the building amongst the other classes.

Overall, Dr. Williams wants her students to become empowered inside and outside of the campus, “...I want students to be able to make a name for the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute not just on campus but in the Hampton Roads community.”

As the new director, Dr. Williams is confident in her abilities to lead because of her closeness to the program. Hampton has taught her there is nothing she can’t conquer, and she’s ready for whatever is next.