President Hemphill applauds Honors Academy students
Every chance he gets, Devin Jones visits the Governor Tyler House, the official residence of Radford University’s president.
“I always enjoy being here,” Jones said as he talked with friends, Ben Thiss and Brandon Dunford, on the front lawn of the residence. “The house is beautiful, and I enjoy interacting with the university president.”
The three are students in the Radford University’s prestigious Honors Academy, an academic program and vibrant community defined by intellectual curiosity and active engagement in the educational process.
The entire enrollment of more than 300 students was invited by President Hemphill to the home Sept. 13 for a reception to honor their achievements.
“It’s always an honor to be invited to the president’s house,” said Dunford, a Spanish and religious studies major from Dublin. “And it’s nice to be able to socialize a bit with the president and his family and also other professionals from the university. And it’s nice to meet other students who are motivated and driven.”
When the students arrived to the residence by bus, President Hemphill, First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, their twins, Cruz and Catalina, and the president’s mother-in-law, Maria Rosas, welcomed the smartly-dressed students, greeting them with hearty handshakes and warm hellos.
Later, the president formally welcomed the group, speaking under a large tent where students and many other university representatives had gathered to mingle and enjoy light refreshments.
President Hemphill acknowledged those in attendance and thanked the students for choosing Radford University.
“As we think about each of you – whether you’re a new student or whether you are a sophomore, junior or senior – we know that you had a lot of different options, but you selected this university to pursue your dreams and pursue goals,” he said.
The president told the honors students that they “truly represent the best of who we are. You represent the innovation; you represent the bold spirit; you represent what many people refer to as grit. As I think about each of you, I think there are such special things in store as I think about the great work you have the ability to do.”
Throughout the early evening event, many students lined up to talk with President Hemphill, handing off their phones to friends to capture photos of the moment.
“It’s an honor to be here, and it’s such an honor that he wants to engage with us,” said Kateri Schoettinger, a freshman from Cincinnati, moments after talking with the president.
Freshman Reggie Thompson of Woodbridge agreed, and added, “He’s a really cool guy.”
Aiden Cancasci is only three weeks in to his college career, but the freshman from Spotsylvania – he’s originally from Cleveland – is excited to be a part of the talented group of students who make up the Honors Academy.
“It will allow me to get outside my comfort zone, and I think it will push me to make myself better in all areas,” said the computer science and technology major shortly after talking with and having his photo taken with President Hemphill.
“To be invited here is a wonderful experience,” Cancasci said, talking about the event and then his choice to attend Radford University. “I came here for an open house and it just seemed really amazing and it felt like it would benefit me more to be here than anywhere else.”