President Kyle honored at building dedication, luncheon
Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle, J.D., was honored on April 22 with a series of commemorative events.
Kyle will retire this June as Radford's sixth, and first female, president.
The day began with the building dedication of Kyle Hall, the home of the College of Business and Economics. The Radford University Board of Visitors (BOV) adopted a resolution on Feb. 2 to name the $44 million, 110,000-square-foot building after Kyle.
“Thank you so much for this special honor,” Kyle said at the dedication ceremony. “There is nothing more that you all could have done that would have touched me more, that would have meant more, that in my mind would have represented better than the naming of this building of which I feel I poured so much of myself shortly after arriving here.”
In attendance were several BOV members, including Rector Anthony Bedell, and special guests Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton, Del. Joseph Yost and Radford City Mayor Bruce Brown, who were joined by Dean of the College of Business and Economics George Low and Student Government Association President Colby Bender for the dedication ceremony.
Holton served as the keynote speaker and commended the university community for their hard work and praised President Kyle for her determination and guidance.
“It’s not all about one person,” Holton said. “It’s about a lot of people playing a role in so many different ways, but it does take leadership to really move the needle the way you have here at Radford. You have been especially blessed over the last 11 years.”
Low, along with Kyle, members of her family and the distinguished guests, unveiled a commemorative plaque bearing the building’s name that will hang inside Kyle Hall's main entrances.
“Today’s dedication of this distinguished structure is a fitting hallmark to President Kyle’s accomplishments that will remind us all of her vision and leadership,” Low said. “Thank you, President Kyle. This honor is well-deserved.”
An English beech tree was planted on the Kyle Hall lawn before the building dedication in recognition of the president's advocacy for the environment and campus sustainability.
Following the dedication ceremony, a special luncheon was held in Kyle Hall.
Board of Visitors member Mary Ann Hovis '65, who also serves as co-chair of the Presidential Transitional Committee, welcomed guests and introduced Hannah Gullickson, the student representative to the Board of Visitors.
Nancy Agee, president and chief executive officer of Carilion Clinic, gave the keynote address in which she reflected on the years she served on the BOV with President Kyle.
"Penny felt that it takes a village and that everyone is part of this university, and we're a team working together," Agee said.
Agee addressed President Kyle's many undertakings, including overhauling the university's core curriculum, promoting science and technology studies and building a long tradition of health sciences and education.
"Throughout her career, Penny has been a role model for leaders," Agee said. "Whether it's encouraging young woman and men to pursue careers in science or technology, athletics, or business, and so on, she's shown us all what it means to lead and what it means to serve as a catalyst for change, even when it's hard. So many times, Penny has boldly gone where no woman has gone before."
After Agee's remarks, the Radford University Madrigal Singers performed "Entreat Me Not to Leave You" and a surprise modified rendition of the "Sound of Music" classic, "So Long, Farewell," to honor President Kyle and her retirement.
President Kyle then took the podium, recognizing the special guests in attendance, many of whom traveled from across the Commonwealth to participate.
"Your presence today means the world to me," President Kyle said. "That alone, I will never forget."
Many guests stayed in Kyle Hall after the luncheon for tours of the building. Others toured campus and the new Center for the Sciences. At 3:30 p.m. the entire campus community was invited to a reception at the Governor Tyler House, Radford University's presidential home.
On June 1, 2005, President Kyle became Radford University’s sixth, and first female, president. Prior to her appointment at Radford, she had more than 30 years of experience in state government, higher education and the corporate and legal worlds.
Since her arrival, Radford University has secured approval and funding for more than $330 million in capital projects, including both new construction and renovation.
During President Kyle’s tenure, approval was secured from the Commonwealth of Virginia for Radford to offer its first doctoral degree, the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Counseling Psychology. More recently, Radford University has sought and gained approval for additional doctorates in physical therapy and nursing practice, as well as three new master's degrees. The university now offers 67 degree programs in 38 disciplines and two certificates at the undergraduate level; 22 master's programs in 17 disciplines and three doctoral programs at the graduate level; 11 post-baccalaureate certificates and one post-master's certificate.
President Kyle holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law and a Master of Business Administration degree from the College of William and Mary. She received her undergraduate degree from Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C.