What does #HighlandersRise mean to you?

With so much uncertainty in these unprecedented times, there is one thing we can all be certain of: HIGHLANDERS RISE!

As a society, we have a shared practice of rising when we are facing a moment that evokes such a response. In a literal sense, we stand up in response to the circumstances.  

When a judge enters the courtroom, we rise.
When we say the pledge of allegiance or sing the national anthem, we rise.
When we applaud an amazing performance, we rise.

In the past few weeks, we have experienced a great deal of change and an equal amount of uncertainty. Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. said it best in a recent communication to students, faculty and staff. “That change has disrupted nearly every facet of our society and our work. In a world of uncertainty, there is comfort in seeing the compassionate nature of the Highlander spirit, as well as the resiliency of the Radford family. Without question, we are in this together.”

As noted by President Hemphill, we find ourselves in unchartered territory. It is up to each of us to choose a response that reflects a commitment to rise.

What can that look like for the Radford family and individual Highlanders? It does not need to be complicated. Often, the simple, seemingly little, things are the biggest. It is about looking for the good in all situations, finding opportunities to remain connected and celebrating community, all while maintaining a commitment to excellence.

Welcome the day with a warm cup of coffee.
Send a thank you note to a faculty or staff member.
Step outside to see the flowers bloom.
Listen to the birds chirp.
Connect with a family member or friend to catch up.
Text an encouraging word.
Mail a thank you card to a healthcare worker.
Share your appreciation with a first responder for their tireless efforts.
Find an opportunity to safely serve.
Check in with each other.
Above all, remember, we are in this together.



Highlanders are able to push through fear and frustration to pursue their hopes and dreams, even in trying times. Our resiliency sustains us, and our responsiveness empowers us. The entire Radford family, both near and far, is demonstrating a tremendous amount of strength.

Now, more than ever, we must be community minded and think beyond ourselves and past the here-and-now. We must have care and compassion for those we love and those we have never met. Our actions and alignment with guidance from health officials are a demonstration of the Radford University core value of community. This is one critical way in which we can collectively rise.

As we look toward a shared future, as one Radford family, we must continue to celebrate the excellence and success of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

We are seeking stories of encouragement, inspiration and service from within the Radford family.

If you have a story to share, please email the submission to univrel@radford.edu. Share your individual journey in making a difference through this unprecedented time using #HighlandersRise.

Join us, as we are relentless in our pursuit of community and commitment to each other.


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