By Morgan Vincent | Script Staff Writer
Hampton University President, Darrell K. Williams, joins Starbucks executives to drink to the new Starbucks store. By Christian Thomas
The smell of coffee and baked goods will be wafting throughout Hampton University now that Starbucks Coffee Co. has held the official grand opening for their new location on Oct. 20. The grand opening for Starbucks kicked off Hampton’s Homecoming Weekend.
The new store is a result of over two years of planning with Starbucks, Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams said. Starbucks’ goal in opening the new Hampton Roads location is to partner a world-class university with a world-class corporation and take both organizations to the next level.
Hampton University’s Marching Force performs during Starbucks’ Grand Opening Ceremony. By Christian Thomas
Hampton University’s Marching Force opened the ceremony with one of their signature performances before President Williams enthusiastically spoke about HU’s partnership with Starbucks.
“We’ve been waiting on this for two and a half years, and we’re excited about this corporate partnership with Starbucks,” President Williams said. “It will provide so many opportunities for both our university and Starbucks. We have a chance to be the lead for how they work with HBCUs and other colleges.”
The community of Hampton comes together to celebrate the opening of Hampton University’s new Starbucks store. By Christian Thomas
The creation of this new Starbucks location is especially significant due to the fact that it is the first location equipped with a drive through on an HBCU campus and that Starbucks pays Hampton University for occupying the space.
President Williams has expressed confidence that Starbucks’ latest move will help deliver the “#1 student experience” he has promised thus far and provide revenue for Hampton University, as well as internships and permanent job opportunities.
President Williams later gave thanks to those who contributed to developing the new Starbucks location, such as Hampton’s City Council and Doretha Spells, the Vice President for Hampton University Business Affairs and Treasurer.
Vice Mayor Jimmy Gray expressed gratitude for Starbucks opening another corporate store in the Hampton community and said that having a Starbucks on HU’s campus will offer many opportunities to students.
“Having this store in this location is extremely important for what we’re trying to accomplish here: making Hampton a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Gray said.
Following Gray’s speech, the Starbucks Leadership Team gave their remarks. The leadership team includes Lance Sharpe, the Store Manager; Lucious McDaniel III, the Vice President of Regional Operations; and AJ Jones II, the Executive Vice President of Public Affairs.
“I had a great opportunity presented to me at my alma mater, and I wouldn’t go anywhere else,” said Sharpe.
Sharpe, a 2020 graduate of Hampton University, voiced his opinion on Starbucks’ impact on the HU community.
“I think corporate representation is great,” Sharpe said. “Building a relationship with Hampton, knowing they got a Fortune 500 company in their backyard and having all the support in the world is a unique part of our community.”
McDaniel expressed his thoughts on the partnership between HU and Starbucks.
“Today is the beginning of not only a wonderful relationship between these two great entities but it’s part of the journey,” McDaniel said. “Today’s wonderful students are on ambitious, individualized journeys, and we will be part of that.”
Jones spoke about the decision for Starbucks to partner with Hampton University.
“No matter where we are in the world, we are always going to pursue where there is excellence,” Jones said. “This is not about some idea of bringing the company and community together and having a nice show out. This is about the pursuit of excellence and what we can be together as an excellent partnership.”
Most importantly, students are also delighted at the opening of the University’s Starbucks location. Student Government Association’s President Tabius Wilson, Jr. was happy to welcome Starbucks to our home by the sea.
“Having the space to connect, collaborate and enjoy coffee will inspire the students of this illustrious institution in ways we can only imagine for years to come,” Wilson said. “This moment furthers our standard of excellence here at Hampton and allows us to walk into the next era of Hampton University,” said Wilson.
HU student Lauren Cyrus, a second-year political science major, shared her feeling about HU Starbucks.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, especially for students who need jobs,” Cyrus said. “It will also give students a place to study and chill out off-campus that’s still near, where we can work and go back and forth to classes on time.”
Hampton University student Jessica Walton, a senior finance major, conveyed her thoughts about the new Starbucks.
“I think it’s an excellent idea,” she said. “I think it will bring in a lot of revenue for the university, of course, but I think the students will appreciate it because there are study areas, and everyone likes Starbucks. I think it’s pretty cool and a nice innovation, in my opinion.”