Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Yesterday afternoon, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Austin Agho, Ph.D. distributed a personal message to faculty and staff throughout our campus community. In that message, he reflected on his 35-year distinguished career as an academic administrator, especially the past eight years at Old Dominion University.

When I first met Provost Agho approximately three years ago, I was struck by his warm personality and upstanding character, as defined by the care, honesty, honor, humility, sincerity, and thoughtfulness that he daily demonstrates in his personal and professional interactions. He is a true statesman, who has proudly served our campus, our community, and our Commonwealth with determination and distinction.

Additionally, Provost Agho has provided steady guidance and skillful leadership through difficult times, such as a global health pandemic, as well as many challenging and complex situations that routinely face organizations of our scope and size. He is to be commended for a job well done!

In yesterday’s message, Provost Agho thoughtfully shared and proudly showcased his unwavering passion for this great institution and our worthwhile mission, while also reflecting on a number of significant accomplishments and outlining his future plans, including a well-deserved retirement. In announcing his desire and intent to step down as the University’s top academic leader on June 30, 2024, he also shared that he will continue to be a critical part of our campus community.

Effective July 1, 2024, Provost Agho will serve as Senior Advisor to the President and Chief Integration Officer for a period of at least two years by playing a vital role in our post-integration efforts in various areas, such as academics, finance, human resources, information technology, and operations, before fully welcoming all that retirement has to offer both him and his family. I ask each and every Monarch to join me in extending our deepest appreciation and lasting gratitude to Provost Agho for all that he has done and will continue to do!

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge Alicia Monroe, M.D., who has led the Integration Management Office, or IMO, since her arrival in September of 2022. Dr. Monroe has provided critical insight and strategic direction on all matters related to our multi-year planning effort with Eastern Virginia Medical School. Please join me in extending our well wishes to Dr. Monroe as she prepares to conclude her Monarch journey in the coming months!

To ensure a seamless transition in our academic enterprise and maintain the positive momentum built by Provost Agho, I have asked Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies Brian Payne, Ph.D. to serve as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective July 1, 2024. A dedicated Monarch with exemplary service spanning a total of 22 years, Dean Payne is a tenured faculty member in the College of Arts and Letters, specifically the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.

An active researcher and accomplished author, Dean Payne has earned many accolades in his discipline and at our institution. He has been a key driver in much of the growth, innovation, and transformation that has occurred in recent years. I am confident that he will embrace this interim role and provide strong leadership throughout his appointment period, which is anticipated for the entirety of the 2024-2025 academic year. Please join me in congratulating Dean Payne and offering your support to him on the journey ahead!


Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.