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Centennial Charter Day Celebration
Inspires Reflections by Alumni Ambassadors
RADFORD -- Representing the 65,000-strong Radford University alumni community, more than 100 RU alumni returned to campus to serve as Centennial Ambassadors for the Centennial Charter Day Celebration on Wednesday, March 24.
President Penelope W. Kyle welcomed the ambassadors and acknowledged their contributions toward the university “making its mark in its first century.” Shirley Walton ’60 spoke on behalf of the alumni community during the celebration’s program in the Dedmon Center and lauded the ambassadors for the ways they have “excelled in their careers and personal lives.”
Many of the ambassadors relished the opportunity to return to their alma mater on such a special day.
“My time at Radford was the most wonderful experience I had in my life,” said Doris Wall ’38, who was accompanied to the celebration by her son Ted and members of her Danbury, N.C. church. “I am honored to be here . . . on my own feet, with no cane and no assistance.“
William Robertson, M.S. ‘65, RU’s first African-American male graduate and a career foreign service officer, echoed Wall’s sentiments.
“It is just wonderful being home,” he said. “It is of great significance to me that I attended this university 45 years ago that prepared me to represent the United States in 65 countries around the world. I am so grateful.”
Sandra Daniels ’65 reflected on changes -- and a constant -- at the university. “It is amazing to see the many changes from my time, but it is reassuring to hear that the emphasis remains where it belongs -- on teaching,” she said. “I still see students today who tell me that their education remains the top priority at RU just as it was when I was a student at Radford College.”
Several ambassadors also shared how their time at Radford helped shape them personally and the influence of one special administrator.
Recalling her time at Radford during the war years of 1941-45, Edith Chapman ’45 called Radford a place where “she found room to grow up and gain her independence.” She also reminisced about the powerful influence of Radford’s longtime dean of students Mary Ledger “M’Ledge Moffett” and how Moffett inspired the Radford students to “be leaders.”
Odette Graham ’41, a former president of RU’s Alumni Association, also spoke of Moffett when she said, “she didn’t want anybody to leave here without being able to get a job and contribute.”
Ambassador Tom Blassey ’83 had the unique perspective of being an alumnus and a parent of a current student, his son Cole. “The great thing about Radford is the real sense of community,” said Blassey. “I always thought it was unique and I am glad to see today and hear from Cole that it remains strong.”
During the smiles and laughter of recalling their memories of RU’s first 100 years, the ambassadors looked with pride and excitement to the university’s next century and the many future generations of alumni to come.
“I am proud of my alma mater and its splendid future with good people dedicated to education and service,” said Janie Hardwicke ’38.
Brigham Doud, representing RU’s Centennial class of 2010, shares her outlook. “It is an honor to represent my graduating class,” he said,” and I am especially proud to carry on Radford’s celebration of heritage and service.”
The 100-year journey from 72 female students in the inaugural class to the tens of thousands of diverse individuals who today proudly claim Radford University as their alma mater has been one marked by great service and great achievement. The next 100 years hold endless promise for the university and the students it serves.
“Back in my day, you were a teacher or a nurse,” said Charlotte Riddick ’76. “Now the world is wide open and RU provides the opportunities.”
March 25, 2010