|This portrait of Donald N. Dedmon by Z.L. Feng hangs
in McConnell Library.
|This issue of RU Magazine, a publication first conceived by President Donald N. Dedmon, is dedicated to his memory.
Dr. Dedmon died February 13, 1998 in Naples, Fla., at age 66.
“I was deeply saddened to receive this news,” said president Douglas Covington. “I will always remember President Dedmon as a caring friend and ally who left a legacy of many significant accomplishments and contributions to higher education in general and Radford University in particular. He was an eloquent orator, an admired scholar and a dedicated steward of RU’s progress for more than two decades.”
“Dr. Dedmon left a profound, positive and permanent imprint on our university,” said James Stutts, rector of the RU Board of Visitors and a 1978 RU graduate. “He served this university with distinction and he will always be remembered as a major influence on this institution’s proud history.”
When Dedmon became Radford’s fourth president on March 20, 1972, it was a women’s college with 3,670 students. When he announced his retirement in June 1994, he was bidding good-bye to a coeducational institution of 9,546 students.
Dedmon presided over 22 years of growth in the university’s size, quality and stature. He engineered its transition from single sex status shortly after he arrived and led the advancement to university designation in 1979. He was a major force behind the growth of athletics to the Division I level and the main athletic facility is named in his honor.
During the Dedmon era, the Radford faculty doubled from 251 to 508, total employment increased from 522 to 1,061 and the number of degree programs jumped from 83 to more than 100. The RU Foundation was started and now manages assets of over $20 million to support academic programs and scholarships.
Dedmon came to Radford from Marshall University where he served as acting president and vice president for academic affairs. His academic career included stints as a professor, department chair and dean at various universities.
The Missouri native earned his bachelor’s degree from Southwest Missouri State University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in oral communication from the University of Iowa. He received an honorary doctorate from Marshall in 1992.
He was cited as one of the most prolific scholars in communication studies in 1993 by Communication Education, received the Distinguished Communicator award from the Virginia Speech Communication Association in 1991, served as president of the Big South Conference from 1986-92 and was chairman of the Virginia Council of Presidents in 1983-84.
When he announced his retirement, Dedmon said “I can think of no place I would have liked to spend the major part of my career than here at Radford.”
An initiative is underway to endow a scholarship in Dedmon’s honor. Contact the RU Foundation for details at (540) 831-5108.