CHBS Front_renamed

The Department of History is housed in Hemphill Hall, along with the other academic disciplines that are part of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences. Hemphill Hall is named after Brian O. Hemphill, the seventh president of Radford University. This five-story structure is located between McConnell Library and Muse Hall, and is on the site once occupied by Lucas Hall.  

If you are on campus, please come by and visit. You might stop by Starbucks for some refreshment before heading to the History Department offices on the fourth floor.


Our alumni are scattered from coast to coast and enjoying occupations in a variety of careers. Graduates of the History and Social Science programs are in law, business, digital marketing, law enforcement, policy analysis, journalism, park management, library management, archives, and many other fields. Many pursue work in education, at both the secondary and collegiate levels. Recent graduates are teaching in over 35 school districts in Virginia and other parts of the United States.

Featured Alumni
  • Please read below to see what some RU history alumns have done since graduation.
  • All alumni are encouraged to contact the History Department with news of their work in their respective fields, which may be featured here on the department's web site in the future.  Please write Dr. Sharon Roger Hepburn at and share.

Olivia DeStanley, Class of 2022, is engaged in graduate study at Trinity University in Dublin, Ireland. She is pursuing a degree in history and is studying Irish social history, particularly how the culture surrounding horses affected Irish history and the international perception of that country.






Christiansburg High School recognized Allison Epperly, as Teacher of the Year in 2021. Epperly graduated from Radford University in 2011 with a B.S. in Social Science.  She chairs the History Department at CHS and teaches world history and world mythology. As part of her work, Allison helped create curriculum for Montgomery County Public Schools concerning the Governor's Committee on African American History Education.

Allison has been teaching at Christiansburg High for ten years, and is part of a larger cohort of over 45 students that the Social Science program has produced in recent years who are now teaching social studies throughout the Commonwealth and in other states.


Shedd, Chris

Radford Graduate Receives Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Chris Shedd graduated from Radford University as a history major, and has taught United States history at Burley Middle School in Albemarle County, Virginia, for the past 15 years.  In April 2018, the Daughters of the American Revolution recognized him as the National History Teacher of the Year.  Chris makes the past come alive for his students by engaging them on a number of levels.  He brings out unusual and, even, strange events to capture students' attention, and encourages them to think critically about the past with projects such as "lies my teacher told me."  His students also develop digital presentations.  Most recently, they produced a virtual tour of Mulberry Row at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate, which is a candidate to become a Google expedition.  Chris is an example of the best in history instruction.  Congratulations Chris!

Travis, Philip

Travis Publishes Book

Philip W. Travis published Reagan’s War on Terrorism in Nicaragua: The Outlaw State (Lexington Books) in 2016.  Travis explores how the administration of Ronald Reagan sought to "roll back" the gains of socialism for the first time in the Cold War.  The emerging threat of international terrorism provided Reagan with a powerful justification for his aggressive policies in Central America.

Phil Travis graduated from Radford University with a bachelor's of science in history in 2001.  He went on to the University of Kentucky for a master's degree, and received his doctorate in history from Washington State University in 2014.  He has taught at the State College of Florida since 2015.

Sarver Roanoke's Other Star

Richard Sarver has added to his histories of the local steel industry in Roanoke, Virginia.  In 2017, he published Roanoke's Other Star, a follow-up to his 2012, Taking the Heat: A Steelworker's Story.  Flatwoods Press published both histories.  Roanoke's Other Star examines a small, independent steel operation and how it pioneered a revolutionary new steel-making process.  Richard's first book, Taking the Heat, relays his personal story of having worked in the steel industry since the age of 18.  As part of that story, Richard completed his degree in history while working full-time in the steel mill.

Sarver Taking the Heat