2018 State of the University

Watch Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. reflect on an exciting and successful 2017-18 academic year, while keeping a keen eye on the university’s future during his State of the University Address on Oct. 19, 2018.

Read President Hemphill's State of the University Address

President Brian O. Hemphill
State of the University Address
Radford University
Preston Hall, Bondurant Auditorium
October 19, 2018
10:30 a.m.

Good morning, and welcome to the State of the University!

The State of the University is a special time when we come together, as one Radford family, to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and plan for the future.

And, today, we will do just that!

Without question, this is an important time in our storied history and one in which Highlander students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends have a unique opportunity.

An opportunity…to reflect upon our recent and resounding success, while preparing for our bold and promising future – a future that will be marked by lasting change and powerful results.

I would like to take a moment to extend my heartfelt appreciation and everlasting gratitude to a number of groups and individuals who have ensured the forward momentum of Radford University.

I must begin with the members of the Board of Visitors.

Please stand and remain standing as I call your name.

  • Rector Mark Lawrence;
  • Vice Rector Bob Archer;
  • Tom Brewster;
  • Georgia Anne Synder-Falkinham;
  • Jake Fox; and
  • Myriah Brooks.

Please know that your visionary direction and unwavering support have tremendously benefited Radford University.

You give so freely of yourself in service to our Great University!

Let’s give my bosses a hearty round of applause for all that they do!

In addition to the Board of Visitors, I would like to acknowledge members of our volunteer boards, which create such great opportunity and positive exposure for our University!

Would members of the following groups, please stand?

  • Foundation Board led by Nancy Artis;
  • Real Estate Management Board led by Georgia Anne Snyder-Falkinham;
  • Alumni Association Board led by Kevin Rogers; and
  • Athletic Foundation Board led by Abie Williams.

Please join me in giving these proud Highlanders a warm round of applause for all that they do!

To our shared governance team, please stand and remain standing.

  • Faculty Senate President Jake Fox;
  • Administrative and Professional Faculty Senate President Ashlee Claud
  • Staff Senate President Karen Montgomery; and
  • Student Government Association President Julianna Stanley.
Thank you for all that you do for our faculty, staff, and students.
You represent them with pride each and every day!
To members of the Leadership Council, including vice presidents and academic deans, please stand and remain standing.
The individuals standing before you have made great strides on behalf of Radford University!
I am honored and humbled by their unwavering commitment to teamwork, shared governance, and their direct engagement in all facets of our campus and our community.
Please join me in recognizing each and every one of them for their many accomplishments and hard work!
I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to acknowledge an individual who has continuously provided steadfast guidance and enduring support to me, our children, and the Radford family.
Please join me in giving my wife and your First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill a round of applause for all that she does.
Two years ago, as part of my Inauguration, I proudly stood before a large gathering of students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and supporters on Moffett Lawn.
At that time, I stated that…
“We must engage the Radford family in its totality in planning and executing a bold and innovative agenda, which positions us for the future.”
“We must be innovative in every aspect of our work!”
“Innovation must be our new normal.”
As I stand before you today, two years later, I can say the State of the University is strong.
I am proud of our focus on innovation and the progress we have made together!
The results of our work are clear.
This campus dedicated itself to a comprehensive year-long strategic planning process that resulted in the adoption of our five-year strategic plan, Embracing the Tradition and Envisioning the Future.
Since the plan’s adoption, nearly 10 months ago, we have worked diligently on implementation.

A few early results of our work include…
  • An expanded partnership with New River Community College;
  • A new partnership with Emory and Henry College;
  • The Harvey Knowledge Center located in McConnell Library;
  • The CORE Writing Center; and
  • The Enrollment Data Council.

And, with the implementation of the strategic plan, we have made needed investments in support of our critical mission, especially our academic programs.

Look no further than the Clinical Simulation Center located in Cook Hall.

Through an investment of nearly $1 million, the new state-of-the-art space features hospital rooms, exam rooms, interview rooms, and debriefing spaces.

The space, located on the third floor, replaces the former Clinical Simulation Center, which opened in 2006 in Radford University’s Corporate Park.

It also provides greater accessibility and functionality as it is located next to Waldron Hall, the home of the School of Nursing.

We have made other important investments, such as the Radford Amazonian Research Expedition or RARE.

The RARE Program provides students with the opportunity to travel to the Amazon, explore the Peruvian rainforest, and conduct personally-designed scholarly projects with global impact.

Due to our commitment to student research, a key component of our strategic plan, the University made a $25,000 investment in the RARE Program this summer.

Today, I am happy to announce that we will invest $100,000 over the next four years to advance this great program.

In addition to investing in academic programs and valuable experiences, Radford University has made direct investments in our students.

We know that an investment in students is an investment in their success and – frankly – our future!

Historically, Radford University invested $4.2 million annually in direct scholarship support for students.

I am proud to say that – most recently – this number has grown to $7.5 million reflecting the student centered philosophy of the Radford family.  

This represents an increase of 81 percent.

And, it is a true testament to how we live our core values each and every day!

Now that deserves a round of applause!

I submit to you that we cannot stop there, and we will not stop there!

Indeed, the achievements of the Radford family are remarkable!

Our talented students, world-class faculty, dedicated staff, passionate alumni, and caring community members are proudly demonstrating their Highlander pride each and every day!

And, their impact is far-reaching and life-changing in so many ways!

Consider this…

Last Spring, the Artis College of Science and Technology was notified that its Department of Chemistry was recently added to the American Chemical Society’s list of approved institutions, an honor the department has worked diligently to attain for a number of years.

In order to receive approval, programs must meet rigorous established standards, including the quality of the curriculum, facilities, faculty research, and teaching load.

Could I ask Dean Orion Rogers and Department Chair Chris Hermann, and students, faculty, and staff from the Department of Chemistry to please stand?

Let’s applaud them for this achievement!

Thanks to the insight of administrators and faculty in the Davis College of Business and Economics, two distinguished business leaders and industry executives visited our campus.

During their visits, they shared their experience and knowledge with the next generation of business leaders.

In November, Jamie Webster, a senior director at the Boston Consultant Group’s Center for Energy Impact delivered the keynote address as part of the BB&T Global Capitalism Lecture Series.

A 1998 graduate, Jamie is an expert in energy markets and geopolitics with a focus on oil market balance evaluation and national energy policies.

And, in late April, the same lecture series brought Jason Silvers, a partner at Goldman Sachs, to our beautiful campus.

The Global Capitalism Lecture Series, sponsored by BB&T, is part of a semiannual symposium to stimulate thought and discussion about capitalism, the tenets of free enterprise, and the best practices of successful organizations.

Could I ask Grayson Patterson, Jason Ridinger, and Monica Wylie from BB&T to please stand?

Let’s applaud a community-focused corporation like BB&T!

Could I ask Department Chair Jeff Aspelmeier and Program Coordinator Valerie Leake to please stand?

Students, faculty, and staff from the Counseling Psychology program, please stand as well.

Housed in the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, the distinguished program, which has a focus on rural mental health, was named the best in the country for the 2017-2018 academic year by an online publication.

BestCounselingDegrees.net recognized Radford University’s Psy.D. program based on licensure percentage and other factors.

Radford University has one of the highest licensure percentage with 100 percent of graduates receiving their license after completing the program.

This program certainly deserves a hearty round of applause.

Next, I would like to ask Dean Margaret Devaney and Department Chair Holly Cline to please stand.

Design Intelligence has ranked Radford University’s Interior Design program as the nation’s 13th most admired undergraduate program.

This is an incredible honor and speaks to the quality of our program and its reputation in the industry and across the nation.

Students, faculty, and staff in the design program, please stand with your dean and your chair as we recognize your individual and collective achievements.

Thanks to the dedicated students, faculty, and staff from the Waldron College of Health and Human Services, Radford’s School of Nursing programs on the main campus and in Roanoke have been rated the No. 2 and No. 8 out of 48 nursing programs that were analyzed and 20 programs that were ranked.

The excellence of these programs was highlighted by registerednursing.org, an online education and advocacy site run by registered nurses to promote excellence in nursing.

Will Dean Ken Cox and Interim Director Iris Mullins, as well as students, faculty, and staff from the School of Nursing, please stand?

I think we can all agree that Radford University has garnered and will continue to receive significant recognition for signature academic programs in health sciences, healthcare and human services across the lifespan.

This most recent honor and the quality of our nursing program deserves a robust round of applause.

Let’s recognize their continued and outstanding efforts!

Such well-deserved accolades and remarkable progress come at an exciting time as friends and supporters of Radford University have provided increased support in so many ways!

Just a few short weeks ago, we came together as a Radford family to announce and celebrate the largest gift by an individual in the history of this University.

The incredible generosity of Sandy and Jack Davis will forever change our University.

Their selfless gift to current and future generations of Highlanders will create countless opportunities across our beautiful campus, especially for students studying in the Davis College of Business and Economics and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Without question, it was such a special day for our University!

Sandy and Jack, please stand so that we can honor both of you and express our everlasting appreciation for all that you do!

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in recognizing Sandy and Jack.

With the recent momentous occasion, Sandy and Jack are leading the way.

Last year, the Radford family secured $15.2 million in philanthropic giving to support our University, our programs, and our students.

This is significant for a number of reasons.

The University averaged approximately $4 million per year before record-breaking fiscal years in 2016 at $8 million followed by 2017 at $10.7 million and 2018 at $15.2 million.

Of the $15.2 million, $11.1 million was dedicated to student scholarships!

Our strategic plan established a goal of raising $15 million annually by 2023.

I am proud to say that we met that goal in our very first year of implementation.

We must continue building upon that strong foundation.

And, we are doing just that.

At this time, I would like to ask Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lowery and Foundation Chief Executive Officer John Cox to please stand.

I would also like to ask Wendy’s team and John’s team to stand.

Folks, let’s give these dedicated and talented individuals a hearty round of applause for their many contributions to our University!

Like Wendy and John, the individual accomplishments of members of the Radford family are vast.

I must take this opportunity to highlight two traditions truly demonstrating what this campus does for our community!

Earlier this week, the Radford family engaged in our 3rd Annual Radford Gives Back event.

This annual event provides critical support to the Radford City Public Schools and the Bobcat Backpacks Program.

This is a program that is very near and dear to my heart and that of my family.

Our family has proudly participated every year!

And, in the last three years, the Radford family has provided nearly 50,000 food items to help needy students in our local area.

Could I ask retired faculty member Lee Stewart and Teresa Dickens in the Center for Career and Talent Development to please stand and remain standing for their work on this important project?

Could I also ask Radford City Schools Superintendent Rob Graham and Bobcat Backpacks founders Daniela Brunner, Jenny Riffe, and Jane Fisher, all of whom are proud Highlander alumni, to please stand and remain standing?

Let’s give them a warm round of applause and celebrate this important partnership in our community that is truly changing lives!

And, this past January, we joined together for the 5th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Each year, students, along with faculty and staff, volunteer throughout the New River Valley with various organizations at multiple sites.

The event is sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Scholar-Citizen Initiative, Diversity Awareness Programming, and McConnell Library.

Could I have individuals from these areas please stand and be recognized for their exemplary leadership of this important initiative?

Let’s applaud these individuals who are so very focused on supporting our communities and those in need!

Let’s also take this opportunity to showcase the academic and athletic accomplishments of Radford University’s student-athletes.

These talented Highlanders continued to impress with their academic performance throughout the 2017-2018 academic year.

Their accomplishments include:

  • 48 graduates;
  • 242 Dean’s List members;
  • 63 with a perfect 4.0 GPA; and
  • 26 major individual awards.

With two Big South championships and three post-season tournament appearances, it was a thrilling season and certainly one to remember!

I am so proud of our women’s volleyball team as they defeated­­ High Point University to become Big South champions, which propelled them into the NCAA tournament.

For men’s basketball, this past season also resulted in the first NCAA tournament win, which began with THE SHOT and included a memorable March Madness journey.

Can I ask Director of Athletics Robert Lineburg and all of our student-athletes and coaching staff in attendance to please stand?

Let’s show these talented individuals how much they mean to the Radford family!

And, we cannot forget the Highlander…the #1 mascot in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

The Highlander engages in athletic events, Quest, community service projects, and so many others!

And, clearly, in the State of the University…

As Highlanders, we are responsive.

We are resilient.

We are real.

And, while members of the Radford family are making their mark on our community and society, the landscape of our campus is changing before our eyes.

During the 2017-2018 academic year, we reopened Russell Hall, a true gathering place located in the heart of campus.

Russell Hall is home to a variety of offices that serve our students throughout their Highlander journey.

Without question, the offices located in Russell Hall have set a high bar for going above and beyond to provide a seamless experience on our campus!

We also reopened Whitt Hall, the home to High Impact Practices, Sustainability, Undergraduate Research, Scholar-Citizen Initiative, New Student Programs, Undergraduate Advising, and Faculty Senate.

Like Russell Hall, Whitt Hall provides a collaborative academic environment bringing together various offices and services, including the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

And, we are in the midst of a comprehensive renovation to Reed and Curie Halls.

The three-year renovation period is in full swing and will provide a complete state-of-the-art home for the Artis College of Science and Technology.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to recognize the namesakes of the Artis College, Nancy and Pat Artis, who are here today.

Nancy and Pat, please stand.

Please join me in thanking both of them for all that they do for this University!

This renovation of Reed and Curie Halls, coupled with the recent completion of the Center for the Sciences, will enable Radford University to garner regional, national, and international recognition for outstanding academic programs.

These facilities will allow us to continue our journey in being a premier leader in cybersecurity education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Finally, we have embarked on a journey to develop a vision and advocate for funding of the Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity.

These projects are critical components of our campus infrastructure and our future.

They are driving much of the conversation behind a campus-wide master planning process.

The ten-year master plan will be informed by engagement from the campus community, including recently-held open forums.

Could I have members of the Master Planning Committee to please stand?

These individuals began meeting in April and will continue to work diligently over the course of the next year, which will result in the development of our master plan.

Please join me in applauding these dedicated individuals.

As our campus changes, our programs and services are also evolving.

Last year, I stood before you as part of my inaugural State of the University address to announce the Highlander Research Rookies Program.

From that announcement, a working group was formed and spent last Fall and Spring developing program criteria and identifying the inaugural class.

These freshman and sophomore students come from 13 cities, four states, and two countries.

They have identified varied interests ranging from flooding and climate patterns in Asia; perceptions of student learning in Nepal; and the effect of runoff on bacterial drug resistance.

And, today, I am so honored to introduce the inaugural class of Research Rookies and their faculty mentors.

The dynamic duos of students and faculty represent every academic college at our University.

To our Research Rookies and their faculty mentors, please stand and remain standing!

Could I also ask Dr. Joe Wirgau, Director of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, to please stand with this distinguished group?

I say to each of you that I cannot wait to see what the future holds for these Highlanders!

Please join me in applauding this distinguished group of talented scholars and their faculty mentors!

And, we cannot forget the students, faculty, and staff that have made our IMPACT Program a resounding success.

Launched just over a year ago, this program has become a trademark of Radford University across the Commonwealth and our region!

This past summer, we celebrated our first graduate and welcomed our fourteenth strategic partner.

Since that time, we have celebrated two additional graduates.

Today, I am honored to stand before you and say that we currently have 488 IMPACT students enrolled at Radford University!

I would like to ask the entire Chachra IMPACT Lab team to please stand and be recognized for their innovative spirit and entrepreneurial efforts!

They are truly leading the way!

There is another group that has been working around the clock to move forward an exciting and important initiative.

There are approximately 100 individuals on our campus and in Roanoke, who are devoting countless hours in order to merge Jefferson College of Health Sciences into the Radford family of colleges and departments.

Through the Steering Committee, as well as various subcommittees, these individuals are embracing innovation in securing a future for our region and the Commonwealth.

Slated for merger completion next fall, these individuals are working collaboratively and diligently to meet extensive state and accreditor requirements.

Could I have all of the individuals working on the merger to please stand?

Let’s applaud these individuals for providing leadership during this merger!  

What will Jefferson College of Health Sciences students, faculty, and staff find in the Radford family?

They will find an inclusive campus with the founding principles of teaching and learning…

A caring community driven to serve…

An innovative spirit with limitless opportunity…

And, an academic community that is focused on teaching excellence!

I am confident that our campus will continue to evolve as innovative programs and initiatives, such as the Chachra IMPACT Lab and the Jefferson College of Health Sciences merger, continue to take shape.

Due to our bright future and our strong reputation, I am pleased to make another special announcement about a unique opportunity!

Today, I am pleased to announce the establishment of the Presidential Fellows Program.

The program creates opportunities for faculty members to dedicate time, expertise and passion to a specific project, while fulfilling the University’s mission to serve current and future generations of Highlanders.

Administered and sponsored by my office, the program offers reassigned time to one faculty member during the spring semester to pursue an idea that is designed to enhance the University’s focus on teaching, research, and service.

While fulfilling Radford University’s core values, the Presidential Fellows Program strives to embody the spirit of excellence, creativity, discovery, and inclusion, while providing a supportive environment for leadership growth, professional development, and relationship building.

I am looking forward to the selection and contribution of the inaugural Presidential Fellow!

Each and every one of us here today possesses the determination, persistence, strength, and tenacity to achieve the ambitious goals we have established for ourselves and our campus.

We must embrace our critical mission.

We must continue our great work.

And, we must tell our powerful story.

We are prepared to define and redefine Radford University.

A University that is driven by our vision of becoming the premier, innovative university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond with a keen focus on teaching, research, and service.

A University that is driven by our mission of empowering students from diverse backgrounds by providing transformative educational experiences.

A University that is driven by our core values such as student empowerment; excellence; intellectual freedom; and innovation – just to name a few!

As I began, the State of the University is strong!

We are committed to our vision.

We are dedicated to our mission.

We are focused on our core values.

We are responsive.

We are resilient.

We are real.

We are Highlanders!

God Bless each of you, and GO HIGHLANDERS!