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Sun, Fun and Friends Highlight Weekend of Activity at RU and in Radford

RADFORD – Alumni, student families, and guests joined the RU community of students, faculty and staff for a festive weekend that included the first-ever Welcome Back Reunion Weekend, the 14th annual Highlanders Festival and Family Weekend.

An estimated 11,000 people visited campus and enjoyed activities ranging from a downtown parade and lacrosse reunions to ceremonial activities like the “Donning of the Ring,” in which RU students donned their class rings for the first time.

President Kyle and Mayor Starnes“Family Weekend is a tradition that RU has celebrated for over thirty years and was an ideal opportunity for our students’ families to experience first-hand the atmosphere of learning and enrichment that RU’s faculty, staff and students experience daily,” said Alice Coughlin, associate director of student activity operations.

(Please see Photo Gallery for an online slide show of photographs from the weekend's events. Click on the images on this page for larger versions of the photos.)

Family Weekend festivities began on Friday in the Covington Center when President Penelope W. Kyle hosted an opening reception for families of RU students. The RU Foundation’s “Partners in Excellence” luncheon was another highlight of a busy Friday as the recipients and donors who endow RU’s academic scholarships gathered for a luncheon at which President Kyle, RU Foundation President Georgia Anne Snyder-Falkinham and RU Provost Wil Stanton recognized the 2009-10 Presidential Scholars and other scholarship recipients and thanked the donors who provide the funding for the RU academic scholarship program.

Beneath Saturday’s blue skies and comfortable fall temperatures, the RU community and its guests enjoyed a series of activities on Moffett Field, the Dedmon Center and Heth Lawn. On Heth Lawn, guests enjoyed the Folk Arts Festival, sponsored by the Appalachian Events Committee, which featured displays of regional arts and crafts and performances by area musicians.

RU’s alumni returned to campus for activities that included several reunions by baseball, field hockey, softball and lacrosse alumni, and a volunteer leadership program that included the organizational members for the upcoming class of 1960 reunion.

“It was fabulous to see and greet so many RU alumni and to feel their enthusiasm for their alma mater,” said Laura Turk, director of alumni affairs.

One of the many highlights was the first-ever RU lacrosse alumni reunion at which alumni from 14 states were represented and featured the return of three coaches. The alumni game was dedicated to former lacrosse player Mike Stevens ’84 who recently died of brain cancer.

“The partnership with Family Weekend and the Highlanders Festival gave us a tremendous opportunity to show off the beautiful campus, entertain our alumni guests and connect with the many legacy alumni whose children are now RU students,” said Turk.

On Moffett Field, the 14th Annual Highlanders Festival featured music, craft and vendor displays, a sheepherding exhibition and the traditional Scottish games. The Highlanders Festival is a joint partnership between the City of Radford and RU and began on Friday with a "Taste of the Highlands" event, sponsored by Main Street Radford, followed by a Ceilidh, or jam session featuring area Celtic and traditional music.

“All of the weekend’s events – the tastings, 5K run, pancake breakfast, festival parade and on-campus events were great successes,” said Laurie Buchwald, Radford City Council member and a co-chair of the Highlanders Festival Steering Committee. “The collaboration between the university, the city, and volunteer groups such as the Rotary, Main Street Radford, Tourism, RU Fishing Club, RU Ambassadors, and the SGA are what make this weekend possible and we thank them all.”

Oct. 5, 2009
Contact: Don Bowman(; 540-831-7523)

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