Officials are touting the new property as a signal that State is poised for growth. (They still aren't sure what they'll use the property for, and don't plan to make substantive moves toward renovation in the immediate future.)
There are softer things too, like Hemphill's strong relationship with the faculty and university community - the accomplishment he says he is most proud of.
"That was something that was very important to me," he said. "When I came in we were really looking at how we could enhance and advance the relationship between the administration and faculty."
For a university president, Hemphill is known for being especially visible on campus.
He spends his free time the campus grounds and hallways. On a recent walk from his office to the construction site on the edge of campus, groundskeepers, staff and students greeted him with a smile and a familiar wave.
"You have to be authentic, and be who you are," he said.
Hemphill's plan to rejuvenate State was multi-pronged: he wanted to recruit more students, dress up the university's physical presence and work on the public perception of the school. To get started on all those things, though, he began with the alumni.
"The alumni are so important because they're your history, your legacy," Hemphill said.
He started reaching out to former State students and the other pieces started falling into place: alumni help a university recruit new students, donate money to the school and help with the public image.
"I want every person who has ever walked the halls of State to be connected to the university still in some way," Hemphill said.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.
Other Top Headlines