RU hosts regional planning commission dinner at COBE
Radford University had the honor to welcome regional elected officials and planning commissioners as they came together for the New River Valley Planning District Planning Commission’s (NRVPDC) 26th annual dinner on March 12, in the College of Business and Economics Multipurpose Room.
Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle welcomed the more than 100 regional leaders from throughout the New River Valley to the dinner at which Dr. Charles Steger, retiring president of Virginia Tech, and Chairman of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors Joseph Sheffey M.S. '75 were named the inaugural winners of the organization's Citizen of the Valley and Champion of the Valley awards, respectively.
"It is our pleasure to help you celebrate this event and to help you recognize these special individuals," President Kyle said in welcoming remarks to the region’s leaders.
Kyle also pointed out to the guests, many of whom were new to the campus, that RU has been "busy and from the looks of things, we are going to continue to be busy."
The dinner, hosted by Michael Patton, chair of the NRPDC, and Kevin Byrd, executive director of the NRVPDC, united representatives from the counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski, the city of Radford, the towns of Christiansburg, Floyd, Narrows, Pearisburg, Pulaski, Rich Creek, and Radford University and Virginia Tech. The evening’s keynote speech was given by Charles Fluharty, president and CEO of the Rural Policy Research Institute, who shared his perspectives on the economic challenges and opportunities facing U.S. rural communities.
The NRVPDC is one of twenty one planning districts in Virginia that serves local governments in the area and their citizenry by providing services ranging from economic development to regional recycling. The purpose of the planning district commission is to promote regional cooperation, to coordinate the activities and policies of member local governments and to provide planning assistance to local governments.
Patton introduced the award winners and thanked RU for hosting the annual dinner that brings the region together. Patton remarked on the dramatic achievements and accomplishments at RU in capital construction growth and enrollment.
President Kyle noted that Radford University is in the midst of more than $300 million in new construction and renovations since 2005 and has enjoyed a record enrollment of 9,928 students in fall 2013. She also pointed out that RU has a key role in the region as a driver of economic growth and quality of life in the New River Valley, as well as serving as the home for RU’s faculty, staff and students.
In receiving the Champion of the Valley award, Sheffey reflected on his experience at RU and in the New River Valley during which he found mentors who inspired him to embrace the challenges of a 36-year career in public service and in higher education as an administrator at New River Community College.
Steger, who is retiring as Virginia Tech’s president after 14 years, earned the Citizen of the Valley award for his pursuit of a "course he pursued to establish Virginia Tech among the nation's premier research institutions" and his contributions to assist regional economic development.
Of Steger, Kyle said: "On a personal level, I am grateful for his friendship and advice. When I became Radford’s president back in 2005, Charles Steger made me feel welcome right away and has always been a trusted friend to discuss the variety of issues that confront higher education in Virginia."