Radford University hosts its inaugural Day of Gratitude
On November 11, 2022, Radford University hosted the inaugural Day of Gratitude to honor its generous donors and celebrate the achievements of its hard-working student scholarship recipients. Day of Gratitude included the annual Partners in Excellence luncheon and a new event, the Artis College Experience.
The Partners in Excellence luncheon provides the opportunity for scholarship benefactors to meet their students. For the first time, students whose scholarship benefactors would not be in attendance were also invited to Partners in Excellence. More than 275 students, donors, faculty and staff were present. By expanding this event, students could learn more about philanthropy at Radford University and the impact of scholarships.
Since TOGETHER – The Campaign for Radford University began, 133 scholarships have been established. This academic year, over 700 students benefited from the almost $3 million awarded by the Radford University Foundation. Michelle O’Conner ’91, Chair of the Radford University Foundation Board, believes there is no greater gift than scholarship support, which allows students the opportunity to expand their horizons, become leaders and pursue meaningful careers after graduation.
“The staff of the Foundation is committed to ensuring the current and future needs of our students are met. This would not be possible without the support of the donors who are here with us today,” said O’Conner. “Thanks to each of you for your commitment to Radford.”
One student impacted by scholarship support is Michaela Baker, a political science and sociology double major who will graduate in spring 2023. Baker spoke at Partners in Excellence and expressed her gratitude to those who have supported her educational journey at Radford.
“Having people be so generous to me and my fellow students here has made a huge difference in my college experience. More than half of my costs have been covered by scholarships. It’s allowed me not to be stressed about how to pay for my education, and instead focus on living up to my full potential,” said Baker. “If it wasn’t for your support, I wouldn’t be getting the leadership experience that will prepare me for life beyond Radford. Managing your peers can be difficult, and through my work to unify student organizations, and even develop a student-leadership summit, I’m getting real-world experience that I can take with me anywhere.”
Radford University President Bret Danilowicz was also in attendance.
“One of my priorities as a president has been to make sure for our students that we have access and affordability to college degrees. It is the support through scholarships that make our degrees accessible and affordable at this institution. This access to funding through philanthropy is so important. This makes a huge difference in the lives of our students,” said Danilowicz.
Moving this event into the month of November was inspired by the season’s spirit of gratitude, which was also present during the Veteran’s Day celebration held on campus prior to the event.
This year, a new event followed Partners in Excellence: the Artis College Experience, held in Reed Hall, Curie Hall and the Center for the Sciences. Steven M. Bachrach, Ph.D., Dean of the Artis College of Science and Technology, welcomed scholarship benefactors and recipients to attend this new event showcasing academic excellence and research, as well as the world-class facilities, in the Artis College of Science and Technology.
“What you’re going to see today is the great work that’s being done by our students and our faculty,” said Bachrach. “You’re going to be able to see what the students are involved in and the research work they’re engaged in – it is the showcase of the Artis College. We believe that the best way to learn science is to do science.”
Each department was represented in the Artis College Experience program:
- Anthropological Sciences Research Discussion
- Biology Poster Session
- Data and Information Management Research Showcase
- Drone Demonstration
- Effects of Sea Ice Terrain on the Atmospheric Boundary Layer Project
- Energy Balance on Gravel Surfaces with Energy Input from the Sun Project
- The Fermentation of Kudzu to Form Ethanol Honors Project
- Greenhouse Open House
- How to Create a Unique QR Code Using Maplets
- The Human Anatomy and Physiology Showcase
- Instrument Tours
- Museum of the Earth Sciences Open House
- Planetarium Solar Showcase
- Radford Amazonian Research Expedition (RARE) Room Tours and Program Exploration
- Save the Bees Demonstration
- Tree Rings from Virginia to Peru
- Virtual Reality Demonstration
Interim Vice President for Advancement and University Relations, Penny Helms White ’85, MBA ’87, hopes to showcase even more examples of academic excellence at Radford in the future.
“Our hope in revisioning this day is that in the coming years, we are able to spotlight a different college during each Day of Gratitude,” said White.
“To our donors and benefactors – what you do makes a lasting impact on the lives of our students. Your generosity allows us to build upon the foundation from which Radford University can grow and produce the well-educated leaders of tomorrow. To our students – look around, and see the people that believe in you. The people who want you to succeed. The people who enable a more transformative student experience at Radford University. We hope that as you look around the room, you are inspired by what you see. We are all proud of your achievements.”