Selu Celebrates 25 years of unique scholarship opportunities


President Kyle at the SELU 25th anniversary celebration.

On Oct. 12, Radford University and Selu gathered for a special evening to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 380-acre conservancy.

RU faculty, staff, students, friends and alumni attended the event, held during the university's Homecoming and Family Weekend.

RU President Penelope W. Kyle offered remarks in reflection of the important role Selu plays in the life of the university and the community.

"For the last 25 years, this property has made an impact on generations of students and will continue to for the next 25 years and beyond," Kyle said.

Selu Conservancy is RU's "outdoor classroom," a place for faculty, students and guests to perform fieldwork and bring the natural world into their learning experiences.

"Selu represents the best practices in education and scholarship," Kyle said. "That is why we are here today celebrating the 25th anniversary of Selu with all of you."


Matti Hamed shares her research about ecosystems at Selu.

Located on 380 acres along the Little River, the conservancy is home to the "Barn," a educational building that houses a science lab for field work and an observatory for astronomy classes and research; the "Farm," a typical 1930s farmhouse used by the Appalachian Studies program to interpret farm and home life for RU students, regional public and private schools and community residents; and a retreat center and a river-front boathouse used for corporate meetings, family reunions, weddings, school outings or other events.

The conservancy has proven to be a vital asset in the RU experience. Through private support, the university's goal is to increase the Selu Conservancy's endowment to $3 million dollars in order for the conservancy to be self-supporting.

John Bowles, who donated the land with his family for Selu a quarter of a century ago, was the keynote speaker. During his remarks he said it was an honor for him to celebrate the past 25 years and the future of Selu.


President Kyle, center, with John Bowles, and his cousin Olga Bowles.

"I will take this moment to savor this whole scene. Although it is not quite November, today, to me, is Thanksgiving Day," said Bowles.

Before dinner was served, students presented to the guests posters and displays, which highlighted the research they have conducted on its grounds.

In their remarks, both Kyle and Bowles praised the graduate-level research and academic activities conducted by RU undergraduate and graduate students. The facility has also played host to students from high schools around the state and, during the summer, participants in Virginia Governor's School programs.

Oct 15, 2014