On January 19, 2018, the Lees-McRae College Board of Trustees elected Dr. Herbert L. King, Jr. as the 16th president in the 118-year history of the institution. King will succeed Dr. Barry M. Buxton on June 1, 2018.

President-elect Dr. Herbert L. King, Jr. will arrive on campus having served as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, where he was responsible for all development, alumni relations and career functions of the college.

In 2010, King served as the Vice President for External Relations at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, and from 20042010 as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Ferrum College in Ferrum, Virginia.

King’s experience extends beyond the scope of higher education with time as both Executive Director and Director of Development at the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Homes in Brookneal, Virginia, where he was tasked with creating the organization’s first strategic plan, launching comprehensive facility renovation efforts and multiple fundraising efforts.

King received his Doctor of Education in educational leadership from The University of Virginia, his Master of Education in educational administration from Lynchburg College and his Bachelor of Arts in English and history from Hampden-Sydney College.


“I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to serve as the next president of Lees-McRae. I value its mission, its student-centeredness and I feel at home in the natural beauty that Banner Elk provides. My family and I are eager to become part of this community, and I am grateful for the trust that the board is placing in me to lead Lees-McRae into the future.”

Dr. Herbert L. King, Jr., President-elect


Over the course of his career, President-elect King led multiple efforts that resulted in over $150 million in direct gift support. King comes to campus with extensive marketing and public relations leadership, including institutional rebranding efforts.

While at Hampden-Sydney, King achieved the third, fourth and fifth-best fundraising years in the college’s history and the best years outside of a capital campaign. His time there was also marked by the two best years of endowment gift giving as well as setting the record for unrestricted gifts to the college.

Through the generated gift income, Hampden-Sydney was able to construct the $11 million Brown Student Center and the $4 million renovation of the Viar-Christ Center for the Arts. He also increased the alumni giving percentage from 29 percent to 36 percent in one fiscal year resulting in three Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awards.

King’s time at Hampden-Sydney also included serving as a freshman advisor and as the leader of the freshman learning and living community.

King has served on multiple boards during his career including Support to Eliminate Poverty (STEP), a community action agency for Franklin and Patrick Counties, board chair, trustee on the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Homes development committee and trustee on Hampden-Sydney College Christian outreach nonprofit, COGITO.   

"The trustees and the search committee expended a great deal of time defining the leader to lead us in the future—we found that person in [Herbert] Lee King. He possesses those qualities we were looking for—good communicative and collaborative skills, exceptional fundraiser and strategic planner, devotion to family and strong spiritual values. Not only does Dr. King understand the attendant challenges of the role, but he is excited about and wants specifically to be president of Lees McRae College."

W. McNair Tornow
Board of Trustees chairman and search committee co-chair

"Dr. King is the perfect exemplar of the values of Lees-McRae College. The innovation, collaboration, teamwork, leadership, inclusiveness, and dedication to the success of students he demonstrates makes him the perfect fit for the presidency. He recognizes the uniqueness of a Lees-McRae education, and understands the needs of the students here. I am excited to see the college continue to grow and prosper with Dr. King as president and look forward to what is ahead for all of us."

Mary Whiteacre
Class of 2019
Search committee member

"Dr. King embodies the values and spirit of Lees-McRae. He's spent his career in pursuit of knowledge and is committed to lifelong learning. His interaction with students is both positive and inspirational, showing a strong belief in student-centered success. It is evident that he is excited about the college and growing opportunities locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. I believe his strong communication skills, financial acumen, and desire for collaboration will strengthen Lees-McRae College for many years to come."

Dr. Laura Fero
Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences
Search committee member

"I have worked with Dr. King for the last six years and am confident that he will be an outstanding president at Lees-McRae College. I know him as a man of faith who always acts ethically and who is sensitive to the needs of others. He is a truly collaborative leader who shows respect for everyone with whom he works and who understands the importance of shared governance. In addition, he has a deep commitment to the transformative power of education."

Dr. Dennis G. Stevens
Hampden-Sydney College

Dr. King, his wife Tammy, and their three children, Jacob, 17; Kathryn, 14; and Aaron, 9

Search Process

Barry M. Buxton, 15th president of Lees-McRae College, announced his retirement on July 31, 2017. As such, the Board of Trustees began inviting nominations for an innovative and visionary leader in academic, fiscal, administrative and professional matters. A search committee comprised of trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, and students was formed to define the qualities of a transformational leader. These included, unquestioned integrity, depth of character and the ability to motivate and empower the campus community to reach beyond traditional responsibilities and ways of thinking to achieve institutional goals. From the beginning, the committee understood that while embracing the heritage and spirituality of the college, the new president would play a defining role in shaping the future of Lees-McRae.

Presidential Responsibilities