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RU Prepares to Launch Centennial

RADFORD – Radford University’s long-awaited Centennial Celebration is preparing for launch. Already, colorful light post banners that line the perimeter of the university campus proclaim the Centennial theme of “Celebrating the Past, Forging the Future.”

The official celebration will be observed from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, and be highlighted by the Radford University Student Government Association (SGA) sponsored appearance of one of the world’s most dynamic social entrepreneurs.

Centennial Flags“We’re very excited about the year-long celebration that has been developed by our Centennial volunteers, and we hope it helps convey the excellence of our university to audiences throughout Virginia, the nation and the world,” said Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle. “We’re especially proud of the role that our SGA has played in making this celebration possible.”

The “Centennial Service Challenge,” which invites all RU students, faculty, staff and alumni to engage in creative acts of community service wherever they live, will course through the year-long celebration and serve as a common denominator that links every participant in the university’s Centennial observation, according to Dr. Gary Ellerman and Ms. Barbara-lyn Morris, who are serving as the co-chairs of the Centennial Steering Committee.

Ellerman, a retired professor, and Morris, a member of Radford College’s Class of 1965, said Steering Committee members chose to build the Centennial around a grassroots-based salute to the virtue of service because it symbolizes the way Radford University has been serving society since the school was chartered as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women in 1910.

Service will also highlight the Centennial’s “red-letter” day of celebration that will be held during the university’s Charter Day Convocation on March 24, 2010.

The RU SGA will sponsor an appearance by Blake Mycoskie, founder and proprietor of TOMS Shoes, as the keynote speaker in the campus-wide event. Mycoskie is widely admired for his pioneering role in socially responsible free enterprise.

Mycoskie, whose two organizational titles are founder and “chief shoe giver,” has built a company that promises to give one pair of new shoes to an impoverished child for every pair they sell. TOMS Shoe’s socially responsible business model, known as “One for One,” has already donated close to 500,000 pairs of shoes to needy children.

On the 24th, Mycoskie will present keynote remarks and meet with RU students in classrooms and more casual environments. A number of other visitors and dignitaries will be on campus for the Charter Day festivities.

The Charter Day presentation will serve as the pinnacle of a year-long series of festivities, special events and communication programs which have been created by dozens and dozens of volunteers participating on a variety of planning committees, according to Ellerman and Morris. A Centennial Advisory Committee of about 50 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members has held four “brain-storming” meetings to generate ideas and programs over the past two years. 

Those sessions resulted in the establishment of the “Three Pillars of the Centennial,” which are 1) Academic Focus and Faculty/Student Research, 2) Enhanced Culture of Service, and 3) Community Building Celebrations. Those broad initiatives will be expressed throughout a number of programs that will be held at Radford, in Richmond, and in communities around the state.

The Centennial observation will include cultural performances, athletic competitions, symposiums, convocations and other events during the 2010 calendar year. The Fall 2009 edition of the “The Magazine of Radford University” will be a special Centennial edition.

A Centennial calendar that features vintage photographs of Radford University from yesteryear as well as information about its growth and development has been produced and is for sale in local bookstores, retailers and online. A Centennial themed cookbook is being produced, as is a major history book that will document the institution’s first 100 years and chronicle some of the events and activities of the year-long Centennial Celebration.

The Radford University Board of Visitors passed a resolution in commemoration of the Centennial during their November meeting, and the 2010 Virginia General Assembly is expected to pass a commemorative resolution as well.;

Additional events scheduled for early 2010 include a Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, Jan. 20; Renaissance Music Academy Spring Extravaganza, Jan. 30; Homecoming, Feb. 5-6; Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra, Feb. 10; Charter Day, March 24; and the McGlothlin Celebration of Teaching, April 13.

For updated information about Centennial events, please monitor the Centennial Web site at

Dec. 9, 2009
Contact: Jeffrey S. Douglas, APR (; 540-831-5804)

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