Highlander Family Tour

By Justin Ward ’10

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The success of Radford University alumni is easy to measure. Just ask any banker in Atlanta, Georgia about Michael Donnelly ’88, who has 30 years of experience in the industry and is the regional vice president for Wells Fargo Bank.

Turn on the television and watch lawmen defending freedom or cowboys riding through the wild west on INSP, a television and movie network based in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Dale Ardizzone ’85, M.S. ’86, serves as the chief operating officer.

Or enjoy a conversation in Roanoke, Virginia, with David and Pebbles Smith, both Class of 1985, whose hard work and dedication to their careers helped them become faithful supporters and generous members of The Highlander Club.

Finding inspiration to flourish is simple within the Radford family. Helping alumni make those connections was the influence behind the Highlander Family Tour, a more than 2,000-mile, eight-city trek along portions of the East Coast led by President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., and First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D.

The tour launched in Bristol, Virginia, where Hemphill welcomed a crowd of devoted Highlander alumni, friends and family by addressing milestones and goals for the future.

“We have a lot of exciting work to do, and we have the right team in place to help move this institution forward! We take very seriously the role and responsibility that we have as public servants in meeting the needs across the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Hemphill said at The Olde Farm in Bristol.

Joined by University leadership, the Hemphills went on to visit Raleigh, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Roanoke, Virginia; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; and Centreville, Virginia, to meet with hundreds of other alumni and friends and listen to their Radford stories.

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Ashaunda Davis ’99 reminisced about her resilience during the tour in Atlanta. “To finish the path that we started the first day that I started at Radford University, it really indeed took a lot of fortitude. It took a lot of getting knocked down and getting back up. And, if I had not had that experience at Radford University, I can’t say that I would have been able to easily apply it to my career,” Davis said.

Hemphill and the alumni encouraged the Radford family to come back to campus, stay engaged and invest in students. Hemphill also shared information about new programs now available to students and the addition of Radford University Carilion.

A new honor called The Spirit of the Tartan Award was given to alumni and friends during each stop of the tour. The distinction is presented to an individual or couple, who invest passion and dedication in their community and alma mater.

The following Highlander supporters were chosen to receive the award:

  • Tom McGlothlin in Bristol;
  • Matthew Crisp ’04 and Kelly Snead Crisp ’04 in Raleigh;
  • Michael Donnelly ’88 in Atlanta;
  • Dale Ardizzone ’85, M.S. ’86 in Charlotte'
  • Nancy Artis ’73 and H. Pat Artis, Ph.D. in Roanoke;
  • Darin Ely ’93 and Jennifer Ely ’96 in Virginia Beach;
  • Matt Donlon ’82 in Richmond; and
  • Kevin Rogers ’87 in Centreville.

Dec 10, 2019
Justin Ward ’10