A Groundbreaking Gift

H. Pat Artis, Ph.D., and Nancy E. Artis ’73

At the May 25, 2021, groundbreaking ceremony for the Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, longtime Radford University supporters and benefactors Nancy E. Artis ’73 and H. Pat Artis, Ph.D., explained what motivates them to give in such meaningful ways: the example set by their fathers, Harry P. Artis and Harry W. “Hap” Eisenhart.

Both men served in World War II as naval aviation machinist mates. They survived, returned to lives of service, raised their families and instilled their children with a thirst for education.

“We have chosen to honor their investment in our lives through our gift to name the Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity,” Pat Artis told the dozens of Radford University supporters who attended the spring ceremony. “This gift will provide scholarships — continuing our fathers’ vision — to help fund current and future generations of students who will study in this magnificent building.”

The Artises’ latest gift to Radford University, in the amount of
$6 million, will support scholarships in the Waldron College for Health and Human Services, the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Department of Athletics. In 2017, they gifted the University $5 million to establish the Artis Endowed Scholarship Fund. In appreciation, the Artis College of Science and Technology was named in their honor. To date, the Artises have contributed nearly $12 million to support Radford University students and programs.

“Today, the commitment and generosity of Nancy and Pat Artis take yet another bold step forward,” said President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.
Because of the Artises’ generous contributions, Radford University continues to create life-changing opportunities for current and future generations of Highlanders.

Because of the Artises’ generous contributions, Radford University continues to create life-changing opportunities for current and future generations of Highlanders.

“During my visits to Richmond, I often hear the energy and excitement for what is being accomplished by Highlander students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends,” said Board of Visitors member Mark Lawrence at the ceremony. “The truth is that people know Radford University, and they are closely following the progress and success of our campus. In recent years, under President Hemphill’s leadership, there have been many achievements and advancements. In turn, the level of support for this University has grown significantly at both local and regional levels. One clear example of that support is the project that we are all gathered here to celebrate today.”

Perhaps one of the most powerful testimonies to the Artises’ philanthropy and to all those who support the University at every level is Olivia McLean, a rising second-year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders master’s program.

She shared her personal journey with attendees of the groundbreaking ceremony.

McLean, of eastern Canada, enjoyed a fulfilling career as a musician before suffering a burst blood vessel on her vocal cord.

“This experience led me to want to know more about the voice, its disorders and how to fix them,” McLean explained. “What began as a career derailment eventually became a catalyst that sparked my interest in speech and language disorders and led me here.”

This past semester at Radford University, McLean worked with a female client who had a cognitive impairment that greatly affected her language skills.

McLean used her passion for music to connect with the client, who “was with unabashed enthusiasm singing along and belting out words and phrases from the song,” she said.

“I am grateful to be learning the science and discipline of speech language pathology so that I can help others to improve their ability to express themselves and communicate with the world,” she continued. “I’m thrilled to be here to witness the groundbreaking of this new building dedicated to the visual and performing arts, health and human services and the interprofessional educational practice of these two areas of study. These programs are strong independently, and with a dedicated space to facilitate collaboration and interprofessional practice, it will only strengthen the educational experience for future Radford students and help them to be even more well-rounded practitioners in their professional careers after they graduate.”

Jun 21, 2021