Opportunity to find a path
‘I want to make sure that someone else has access to the opportunities that Radford University offered me,” says Colby Raymond ’05, a former recipient of, and a current donor to, the Presidential Scholarship. The Presidential Scholarship is awarded to students who have excelled in the classroom during their high school careers.
Raymond, who currently serves as mortgage consultant at Tidewater Home Funding in Virginia Beach, did not intend to apply for a scholarship.
“When I was a senior in high school, my cousin — who worked at Radford University — recommended that I apply for the scholarship,” explains Raymond. The scholarship covered approximately 90 percent of her education.
Raymond came to Radford University with two drastically different ideas about where she wanted to go with her career.
“I came to Radford University to study the music business,” Raymond explains. “I didn’t know if I wanted to work in the mortgage industry or as an entertainment attorney.
“It wasn’t until after I graduated from Radford University that I realized that law school wasn’t for me.”
While the Presidential Scholarship enabled Raymond to plan for multiple careers, a different scholarship allowed her to study a different language and culture.
“Radford University gave me the opportunity to travel to China as a Kirk Scholar,” Raymond explains. “It allowed me to study Mandarin Chinese in China for three weeks.”
The Zylphia Shu-En Kirk Endowment was established in 1999 by Radford University alumnus and former university Rector R.J. Kirk ’76. The program, named in honor of Kirk’s daughter, enables selected Radford University students to travel to China and study the culture while continuing their Mandarin studies, with minimal expense to the student.
“The entire trip only cost me $500,” says Raymond. “The opportunities Radford University provided allowed me to become exposed to subjects I had never even thought about.”
Because of the opportunities provided to her, Raymond is now able to give back to her fellow Highlanders in a variety of ways.
“My cousin worked at Radford University and recommended that I apply for the Presidential Scholarship. It changed my life,” Raymond says. “When I had a friend who was a student at Radford University ask me for advice, I told them to get involved in as many activities as they could while they were there. That friend took my advice and got involved in the athletics program. I was able to pass my Radford University experience on to someone who then benefited from it.
“It just goes to show that Radford University offers opportunities that are just not found at other institutions.”