John Montgomery ’81
“Radford University puts people first,” says John Montgomery ’81, executive director of the University of North Carolina Education Foundation. Montgomery and his wife, Sharie, will be hosting the alumni reception for Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill at their home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on September 22.
Montgomery also serves as executive director of the Rams Club, the fundraising arm of the University of North Carolina’s athletic department. In 2009, while acting in this capacity, the National Association of Athletic Development named Montgomery the Division I Fundraiser of the Year, a result of over 30 years of hard work and dedication, which began during his first year at Radford University.
“I’ve always had an interest in sports, specifically college sports,” Montgomery explains. “My freshman year I began volunteering for then-athletic director Chuck Taylor and also kept the home and away stats for the men’s basketball team. That experience really whetted my appetite for a career in athletics.”
That was a little different from the career Montgomery, who graduated with a double major in history and business, had originally planned for himself. “I thought I would teach history at a high school and maybe coach a little,” he says. “But Chuck introduced me to professor, Carmen Tegano, who took notice of my interests and my skills and recommended that I pursue a master’s degree in sports management.”
Professor Tegano was not the only Radford faculty member who saw potential in Montgomery. “Linda Killen, a history professor who was also my advisor,” he adds. “She was the first person to really take an interest in what I was doing academically, and – although I wouldn’t have admitted it back then – it was very comforting and inspiring. It gave me confidence in myself and it inspired me to seek a deeper connection with my professors and my classmates.”
The deeper connection that Montgomery sought was fostered by the Radford University community. “Radford has a great residential community,” he says. “I am currently affiliated with my fourth different school, and I have yet to find a close-knit campus like the one found at Radford University.
“I have, to this very day, great friends and relationships that began at Radford University.”
Montgomery believes that the interpersonal skills he learned at Radford University have been a major contributor to his professional success.
“Being from a small town,” the Pembroke native explains, “the exposure to the campus community really developed my ability to build more profound relationships with people. Meeting people from different backgrounds made it easier for me to understand people. That ability has allowed me to become successful both on a personal level and professionally.”
Montgomery recommends that Radford University students take advantage of the resources available. “Radford University offers so many opportunities to grow in so many different areas,” he adds.
“I encourage students to embrace their campus community – it is something special. Embrace your fellow students, the faculty, everything. You will enjoy the college experience more and I guarantee it will give you a more meaningful experience.”
For more information regarding the President Hemphill alumni reception, please visit https://connect.radford.edu/hemphill-tour.