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Dr. Bill Kennan Returns to School of Communication Faculty
By Jamie McCormick
Dr. William R. Kennan has been part of the Radford community for the past 29 years and has served in various capacities, including a stint as vice provost.
After a brief sabbatical he is returning to the faculty as well as taking up the position of director of Radford University’s Military Resource Center, which he helped create. Kennan is also the new advisor for the recently named Vincent Hazleton Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America.
Kennan started his career in communications as a journalist at the “Northwest Arkansas Times” when he was only 18, working for the family of then Sen. William Fulbright. His focus was on sports but he also did work with the layout and design of the publication. Going to the University of Arkansas for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees gave him the opportunity to cover Razorback sports as well as become familiar with the management side of print publications.
Coming to Radford in 1987 with his wife Betty, who is also a professor in the School of Communication, they didn’t plan on staying for an extended period of time and wanted to move back closer to their families.
“When we moved here, we were living in Texas at the time and I promised her we would stay no more than five years,” says Kennan, “24 years later and we’re still here. We love this place.”
Over that time, Kennan spent seven years as part of the faculty, then nine years as the director of the School of Communication. He then spent three years as associate dean before moving to vice provost for five years.
While working as associate dean he handled many responsibilities, including everything from budgets and academic dishonesty.
During his tenure as vice provost Kennan says, “I did everything. I ran commencement, I was the chief liaison, had oversight of pretty much all the academic support units like career services and international education, pre-major advising, teaching and learning center, I did all of those.”
Even though he has been working with the MRC since it began, January was the beginning of his directorship. He hopes to recruit more veterans to take advantage of their educational benefits and give them a place where they can interact with others who understand and can relate to what they have been through. There are about 330 veterans, including dependents, currently at Radford and Kennan aims to expand the resources available to them to make the adjustment from military to civilian life as smooth as possible.
As advisor for PRSSA he is there to help when they need it. “I’m just … their mentor and advisor. They…keep me informed of what they’re doing. See I think, coming out of a journalism background myself, some connection with the PR part of communication is very important,” Kennan advises.
Looking back at his accomplishments, Kennan has been a very good asset to Radford, even outside of the School of Communication. Any student fortunate enough to come into contact with him will definitely benefit from what he has to say and contribute to their education. It will be exciting to see what this educator and mentor has planned for Radford and its students in the coming years.