Suiting Up for Success                        

Dr. J. Orion Rogers and Valerie Rogers

The meaning of “dress for success” has evolved with the fashion of each generation, but what remains constant is the intrinsic value of feeling prepared and suited for the opportunities that we seek. Today’s college students enter a competitive job market armed with impressive achievements and prepared to showcase their best talents. Where they sometimes need help is being outfitted in suitable attire that inspires confidence and creates a positive impression during job interviews and other professional events.

Through his work with students, former dean of the Artis College of Science and Technology and interim provost and vice president for academic affairs Dr. J. Orion Rogers and his wife Valerie recognized this challenge and have been passionate about removing this barrier for Radford University students. They created the Rogers Career Readiness Endowment Award, a fund that provides students with brand new professional attire and shoes to help them look their best and feel fully prepared while presenting their research at conferences, career fairs, networking opportunities and interviews. 

“Valerie and I are honored to support the missions of Radford University that provide transformative experiences and learning opportunities for our students.  We are inspired by the commitment of the faculty and the Center for Career and Talent Development staff to prepare students for successful professional careers, and we are impressed by the resources and services provided by the Career Closet,” said Rogers. “We hope the Rogers Career Readiness Award will provide students experiences with selecting and fitting professional interview attire that will enhance their confidence and first impressions on prospective employers as well as at networking events and graduate school interviews.”

Patrick Beamish '22, recipient of the Rogers Career Readiness Endowment Award

Recent graduate Patrick Beamish is one of the inaugural recipients of the Rogers Career Readiness Endowment Award, awarded in Spring 2022. Beamish earned a bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity and looks forward to working in his field.

“Receiving the Rogers Career Readiness Endowment Award is a special help to me at this time. Having a new suit has boosted my confidence in talking to interviewers and during professional networking events. The gift is a very thoughtful way to help Radford students in their professional endeavors,” said Beamish.

Tracey Dudding also received the Rogers Career Readiness award. She graduated last month with a master of science degree in data and information management. Dudding will be joining the data science team at Carilion as a biostatistician engineer.

“This award will provide a great first impression to clients and physicians I will be working with,” shared Dudding. “I am no longer stressed or worried about affording a suit for this position. It has also relieved a financial burden, as most students experience a lack of funds until they start their first day.”

The Rogers Career Readiness Endowment provides professional apparel for Radford University students through the Center for Career and Talent Development. The endowment awards two or more students annually. Recipients are chosen by a Career and Talent Development committee with preference for students who are actively involved in Career and Talent Development events and activities. Selected students must demonstrate career preparation efforts.

After 28 years of service to Radford University, Dr. Rogers will retire at the end of this month but his commitment to student success will continue through his family's generosity and support.