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Radford University Presents Centennial Commencement

RADFORD, Va., May 8, 2010 – Moffett Field was transformed into a sea of Highlander red on Saturday, May 8 as students, family, friends and faculty gathered for Radford University’s 2010 Spring Commencement.

The day was a milestone for both the graduates and the university. In honor of RU’s Centennial Year celebration, commencement robes were red instead of the traditional black.

red gowns at the Centennial commencementRU President Penelope W. Kyle conferred degrees upon 1,624 undergraduate and 344 graduate students. Six individual college ceremonies were held at sites across campus following the main ceremony.

(Visit RU on Facebook for video from Saturday's Commencement ceremonies. See Commencement Photos for an online slide show.)

Marketing and branding giant and keynote speaker David N. Martin challenged each graduate to define their strengths and become “a competitive power” with “added value to bring into the marketplace” as they seek to begin their careers in a recession-challenged job-market. (Read transcript of Martin’s commencement address.)

“People are much more complex and multi-faceted than products,” acknowledged Martin, creator of the iconic “Virginia is for Lovers” campaign, and founder and senior brand consultant of Martin Branding Worldwide. “A brand signals an expectation of performance. That expectation never changes, and that’s what each of you” has to deliver, he said.

David N. Martin“You are part of the advance wave of the Web Generation – the down-load, uplink, fully-in-touch, always-available, completely-informed army of young people who have grown up with the Internet and have naturally assimilated all of its gyrations,” said Martin, referring to the graduates as “digital natives.”

In welcoming remarks, President Kyle told an estimated 10,000 people about the remarkable progress RU has made since awarding its first teaching certificates and degrees to an all female student body shortly after its founding in 1910.

She said RU expects to present its first doctoral degrees in 2012 and outlined progress on a number of building projects, including construction of the $44 million “signature” building for the College of Business and Economics project, which got underway during ground-breaking ceremonies presented at the beginning of the weekend’s Centennial Commencement festivities.

“We are expanding. We are growing. We are taking a rich and remarkable foundation and creating a future at the beginning of our second century that knows no limitations,” said Kyle, reminding graduates that they are a special part of the university’s history.

“You represent the closing of one century and the launching of the next century,” said President Kyle. “However, at the core, Radford will always be Radford, that special place that became your home, and it will always be your university.”

Kyle urged graduates to stay engaged with the RU community. “There is no greater demonstration of the success of this university than the personal and professional success of you, our alumni,” said Kyle.

Senior Class President Lauren Duffy reflected on the past years and the significance of this year’s graduation. “This semester marked the beginning of our university’s Centennial celebration. One of our goals during Centennial is to make a difference in the world through service, in the name of Radford,” said Duffy. “We began to work towards this goal this semester. So, I challenge each and every one of you to go out as Radford University graduates and keep making a difference.”

Congratulatory greetings were also presented by Mary Ann Hovis, a member of the Class of 1965 who is completing an eight-year term of service as a member of the university’s Board of Visitors.

Immediate Past-President of the Faculty Senate and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Stephen Owen was awarded the university’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of the leadership and service he has provided for the university.

In addition to Owen, four faculty members were recognized for their outstanding service and accomplishments. Associate Professor of Marketing Angela Stanton received the Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor Award. The Distinguished Creative Scholar Award was presented to Professor of Geography Grigory Ioffe. Professor of Education Elizabeth Dore was the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Advising Award. The Award for Administrative and Professional Excellence was presented to Professor of Psychology and Director of the Honors Academy Joseph King.

Christopher WertOutstanding Student Award recipients included graduate students Alison Dauray of Alexandria, George Edward Harrington II of Manassas, and Aislinn Lowry of Blacksburg; seniors Jessica Nicole Burton of Yorktown, Aysha Allison Bodenhamer of Mount Airy, N.C., Zachary David Carroll of Virginia Beach, Brittany Nicole Christian of Cary, N.C., David Jordan Houff of Blacksburg, Michael Douglas Hyman of Winchester, and James I. Gearheart of Floyd; junior Suzanne Mueller of Montpelier; sophomore Christopher Pregot of Chantilly; and freshman Ciera Piggott of Newport News.

The most popular major among undergraduate students was management and education was the most popular for master’s students.

May 8, 2010
Contact: Bonnie Q. Erickson (; 540-831-5804)

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