Following a unanimous vote by the VMI Foundation Board of Trustees, the Foundation will present its Distinguished Service Award to Conrad M. Hall ’65. Hall will receive the award at the Founders Day convocation ceremony Nov. 10, 2023. Since it was first presented in 1969, the DSA has recognized dozens of alumni and friends whose service to the Institute, dedication to the mission of the VMI Foundation, and professional achievements and distinctions are exceptionally commendable.
A native of Norfolk, Virginia, who matriculated from Richmond, Virginia, in 1961, Hall received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He held rank in his three upper-class years, serving as a cadet lance corporal, cadet corporal, and, in his 1st Class year as a 1st Battalion cadet lieutenant, and he was active in a variety of cadet activities. In 1965, he represented VMI in a statewide competition on an engineering topic—solar energy—and placed first. A Distinguished Military Graduate, Hall served in the U.S. Army as an artillery officer from 1966–68. After serving as a basic training infantry officer at Fort Knox, Kentucky, he was an air defense officer with the 38th Artillery Brigade of the 8th U.S. Army in South Korea.
After graduating from the University of Virginia’s Colgate W. Darden School of Business with a Master of Business Administration degree in 1970, Hall joined Landmark Communications, Inc.—a company for which he had interned in summer 1969—and remained with the company and its affiliates until his retirement in 2009. His career consisted of assignments in finance, operations, and general management in publishing, targeted media, and broadcasting. He served as treasurer of Landmark, vice president and business manager of the Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star, and vice president for operations. In 1981, he joined the Landmark corporate staff as vice president for human resources and labor relations, and he became executive vice president and chief financial officer in 1985. In 1989, he was appointed president and chief executive officer of Trader Publishing Company, which was renamed Dominion Enterprises in 2006. Dominion grew rapidly and became a leading media and marketing information services company serving the employment, automotive, real estate, marine, recreation, and industrial markets in the United States and internationally. Under Hall’s leadership, Dominion created more than 20 market-leading websites, including AutoTrader.com, ForRent.com, and YachtWorld.com. In addition, the company published more than 500 magazine titles with a combined monthly circulation of 2 million. He was a director of Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. from 2010–20 and was a member of the board’s Audit and Finance Committee and Governance Committees.
“Conrad Hall is the embodiment of a VMI graduate: An accomplished business leader and an active citizen. Through his extensive service ... he has made the Institute a better and stronger place."Ernesto V. Sampson Jr. ’98, VMI Foundation president
Hall has served on the boards of many civic and nonprofit organizations, including the Greater Norfolk Corporation, United Way of South Hampton Roads, the Norfolk Academy, the Mariners Museum, and the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. Keenly interested in history—in 2020, he published his first book, A Select History of Mathews County Virginia, 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries—Hall currently serves on the boards of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Colonial Williamsburg Company, and the Virginia Historical Society.
He also has applied his experience and knowledge to the advancement of higher education in Virginia, especially in the Hampton Roads area, where he has served on the boards of visitors of Norfolk State University, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and Old Dominion University. He is a trustee of the ACCESS College Foundation and served as chairman of the board and the chairman of a $20 million endowment campaign. Hall received an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters from Old Dominion University in 2008.
Hall has a long record of service to the Institute. He was a trustee of the VMI Foundation twice, first from 1995–2005 and then from 2007–14. He was a member of many committees, including the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Strategic Planning Committee, and he was the organization’s president from 2002–04. As the president of the Foundation, he also was an ex-officio member of the boards of the VMI Alumni Association and the VMI Keydet Club. In 2009, he was one of the founders of VMI Investment Holdings, LLC, which manages the endowment of VMI and four other related entities, and was its first chairman until 2013. He was appointed to the VMI Board of Visitors in 2014 and served two full four-year terms. During his time on the board of visitors, he was a member of the VMI Alumni Agencies Board. He was one of the inaugural members of the cabinet of the Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III 1962 Endowment for Academic Excellence and remains a member. He served as vice chairman of the recently completed $340 million endowment campaign, An Uncommon Purpose.
In an interview, Hall described going through some old records and discovering a $5 check he had written to the VMI Foundation in 1965. Since then, he has never wavered in his support of the Institute. He has provided generous support to various activities at VMI, especially the academic program. He is a major donor to the Peay Endowment, and in 2017, he established the Conrad M. Hall ’65 Chair in American Constitutional History.
Ernesto V. Sampson Jr. ’98, VMI Foundation president, noted, “Conrad Hall is the embodiment of a VMI graduate: An accomplished business leader and an active citizen. Through his extensive service to the Institute through the board of visitors, VMI Foundation, and VMI Investment, LLC, he has made the Institute a better and stronger place. VMI has been the fortunate recipient of Conrad’s dedication, leadership, and insight since he first gave it $5 as a newly minted alumnus. It will be an honor to present him the Distinguished Service Award.”
Scott Belliveau '83 Communications Officer - Executive Projects
The communications officer supports the strategy for all communications, including web content, public relations messages and collateral pieces in order to articulate and promote the mission of the VMI Alumni Agencies and promote philanthropy among varied constituencies.