Dr. James L. Hurley is the 28th President of Tusculum University.
Through the implementation of the University’s strategic plan – University Thriving: Sit Lux Standard 2025 – Dr. Hurley has set a course for advancing the state’s first higher education institution to become a distinguished, first-choice university. Building upon its 225-year history of tradition and educational excellence, Tusculum University under Dr. Hurley’s leadership is investing in new opportunities centered on program development, academic distinction and student success.
Energizing the campus, community and region with an academically entrepreneurial vision to raise and advance Tusculum’s profile, Dr. Hurley is implementing strategic transformative changes. These include the conversion from college to university status and creation of the College of Health Sciences; the Niswonger College of Optometric Medicine; the College of Science, Technology and Math; the Physician Assistant Studies program; and the Academic Research Consortium.
Dr. Hurley’s commitment to serving students evinces itself in his development of centralized offices for student success, designed to strengthen the overall learning experience. Additionally, he has led efforts to enhance dining and athletic facilities; to increase student leadership, study abroad and research opportunities; and to modernize residence halls and student study centers across campus. As a first- generation college graduate, Dr. Hurley has focused on improving access to opportunity for first-in- family, low-income students through the development and funding of the Pioneer Launch and First Scholar programs.
In his commitment to support and equip Tusculum faculty and staff, Dr. Hurley has secured funds to renovate and repurpose Tredway Hall. This $5 million dollar project will provide a cutting-edge facility, with state-of-the-art technology and new methods for dynamic teaching and learning. The refurbished historical structure will serve as home to the Colleges of Business and Education.
Prior to Tusculum, Dr. Hurley served as President at his alma mater, the University of Pikeville (UPIKE), and as Chief Operating Officer at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU). During his tenure at UPIKE, the university accomplished the largest fundraising campaign in its 125-year history, securing nearly $65 million to build new academic buildings, to renovate existing facilities and to develop new programs of opportunity. Under his leadership, the university achieved six consecutive enrollment gains and increased retention and graduation rates. He also founded the Kentucky College of Optometry.
Dr. Hurley is known as a community oriented leader and serves on the board of directors for the following regional organizations: Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville & Greene County, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, Fellowship of Christian Athletes of East TN and Greene County Partnership Chamber of Commerce. He is also a nationally recognized leader in higher education for strategic visioning, financial forecasting, capital fundraising and enrollment management.
Dr. Hurley holds a doctoral degree in leadership and finance from Morehead State University, a master’s of science from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree from UPIKE.
He is married to Kindall Hurley, who serves as physician services and community benefit coordinator at East TN Children’s Hospital. They are the proud parents of three children, Drew, Carter and Blayklee.