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Radford University Celebrates 100 Years of Education and Service

RADFORD – One hundred years after it first opened its doors, Radford University and a multitude of its closest friends gathered on campus Wednesday for the university’s Centennial Charter Day Celebration.

The day-long celebration began with a ceremony that featured the Governor of Virginia as an honored guest, a keynote address from a philanthropic shoe giver, birthday cake and 100 red biodegradable balloons soaring into blue sky over the university’s Dedmon Center.

(See Charter Day Slide Show for more images of the day's events.)

Balloons releasedCharter Day provided a full day of activities for RU students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community. The event was designed and organized to serve as the pinnacle event in Radford University’s year-long Centennial celebration, commemorating 100 years of excellence in education and service.

RU President Penelope W. Kyle opened the ceremony saying that the first announcement should simply be, “Happy Birthday Radford University.”

“Today is our day to celebrate a century of educating tens of thousands of young men and women,” said President Kyle.

Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell served as an honored guest at Charter Day and commended RU on its of 100 years of service. “This is a great university,” the Commonwealth’s 71st governor said. “You have come a tremendous way.”

Gov. McDonnellMcDonnell commended Professor Donna Boyd, co-director of RU’s Forensic Science Institute, for her selfless commitment to serve the people of Haiti for two weeks following the major earthquake that devastated the country in January. “I congratulate you for your service,” McDonnell said to Boyd.

The governor joined TOMS Shoes Founder and keynote speaker Blake Mycoskie, Kyle and other special guests on stage for a ceremony recognizing RU’s rich history of service over the past century and looking forward to a new century of growth and opportunity.

Mycoskie, founder and “chief shoe giver” of TOMS Shoes, delivered the keynote address, and urged the university to “keep giving and keep service at the forefront, not just this year, but in the years ahead.”

Blake MycoskieTOMS Shoes is a footwear company focused on socially responsible free enterprise, donating a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair it sells.

In the afternoon following the Charter Day ceremony, Mycoskie held a seminar and a meet-and-greet session with RU students in the Hurlburt Student Center Auditorium. Mycoskie was chosen as the keynote speaker for the philanthropic principles that guide his company.

A celebration honoring a university’s century of service and education is not complete without anecdotes from those who have lived the experiences.

Shirley Walton, a member of the class of 1960 who is celebrating 50 years as an Radford alumna, provided a history lesson of Radford, recounting events from the day classes began to the present. “Whether you were part of our early classes or are a student today, we encourage you to embrace our history and traditions and help us put our mark on this amazing second century,” Walton said.

Gary Ellerman, co-chair of the Centennial Committee, gave special recognition to the Boy Scouts of America, which also is celebrating its centennial year. Ellerman presented a plaque to the Boy Scouts’ Blue Ridge Mountain Council.

Martin Mash, a former RU Student Government Association president who now serves as a field representative for U.S. Senator Jim Webb, presented an American flag as a gift from Webb to Thomas E. Fraim Jr., rector of the Board of Visitors. The flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol on March 10, the official 100th anniversary of the signing of the Radford charter.

Charter Day participants also had an opportunity to hear RU History Professor Mary Farrari present “1910: The Politics Behind the Creation of Radford University." The lecture focused on the movement for education reform in Virginia during the first decade of the 1900s and the people involved.

“We are a university that has made its mark in the first century and we will continue to make a mark in the century that lies ahead,” Kyle said.

Happy Birthday RU! In the front row (left to right): RU BOV Member Mary Ann Hovis, President Penelope W. Kyle, Rector of the RU BOV Thomas Fraim, and Delegate Anne B. Crockett-Stark (R-6). Back row (left to right): Delegate David Nutter (R-7), BOV Member Brandon Bell, BOV Member Mark Pace, SGA President Matt Clem and RU Faculty Senate President Steve Owen.

March 24, 2010
Contact: Chad Osborne (; 540-831-7761)

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