University Celebrates Homecoming 2011

Alumni raised money for charity, took in some world-class art, rekindled old friendships and were reminded why Radford University remains such a big part of their lives during Homecoming 2011.

“It has been a nice day,” said Lynchburg resident Kevin LeReau ’86, who attended Homecoming 2011 with his wife, Judy ’85, and daughter, Jessica.  “I am very proud of how RU has grown.”  The LeReaus, who were excited to showcase their alma mater for Jessica through one of several organized campus tours, were the lucky winners of the RU Alumni Association’s Free Homecoming Package drawing.

Friday’s festivities began when alumni returned to the classroom to share their experiences and advice with current students as part of Alumni Teaching Day.  

Nancy Adams speaks to class.

Alumna Nancy Adams, human resources director for Altria Group, speaks to Professor Basel Saleh’s Principles of Microeconomics class during Alumni Teaching Day.

“I'm thankful for the many experiences and opportunities I had at RU because I would not have been as successful professionally without them,” said Emily Williamson ’09, a clinical research associate and coordinator of breast cancer clinical trials at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., who participated in the College of Science and Technology’s Alumni Career Panel. 

RU students enjoyed a series of campus Homecoming activities throughout the preceding week, including a pep rally, a pre-game tailgate and bonfire that culminated in Saturday’s coronation of the 2011 Highlander King and Queen.  Tim Kennedy, a junior psychology major representing the Student Government Association, was elected king and Nicole Chambati, a marketing and management major representing the Delta Sigma Pi sorority, was elected queen. Their crowning took place during half-time ceremonies of the men’s basketball game against Coastal Carolina.

The men’s team lost a tough one to Coastal Carolina 86-63, but the women’s team knocked off Coastal Carolina 66-55 during the afternoon homecoming game. 

Highlander king and queen with President Kyle

President Penelope Kyle congratulates 2011 Highlander King Tim Kennedy and 2011 Highlander Queen Nicole Chambati.

A popular destination throughout the weekend was the RU Art Museum where an exciting new exhibition, “Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Whistler: Masterpieces of World Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” is on display through early March. RU alumni and guests savored the work of about 30 international artistic masters such as Post-Impressionistic icon Vincent Van Gogh, American impressionist James Abbot McNeil Whistler, pop artist Roy Lichtenstein and contemporary artist Sally Mann.

“It is exciting to have works of such prominent artists here,” said Zach Thompson ’09.  “The collection is so diverse.  The Lichtenstein just popped off the wall as I walked in.”

For some, fine art was followed by a unique Radford taste treat.  The iconic Chrustie, a spicy fried pizza dough snack - made famous by Chancey’s, a popular restaurant among RU students in the 1980’s and 90’s - was featured during a Saturday afternoon reception in the Dedmon Center. The treat was recreated by Chartwells from a recipe that can be found in RU’s Centennial Cookbook.

“As students, we had them once or twice a week, and I am glad we could experience them again together,” said Akemi Sadler ’97 who was joined by her Tyler and Muse Hall roommates Cheryl Miller-Malone ’97 and Alicia Yowell-Muny ’98. “They were like a little piece of heaven in your mouth.”

Chrusties are a favorite memory for those alumni who experienced them. 

“They were the perfect exam and late-night snack, a late-night tradition,” said Crystal Hubbard ’00. “I cherish the memories of the moment when the little box finally arrived at the door.”

Alumni gather for a post-game barbecue

Alumni and friends gathered for a post-game Dread the Red Barbecue.

Alumni closed out the 2011 Homecoming Celebration at the Dread-the-Red Barbecue and enjoyed an opportunity to talk Highlander sports with RU coaches and reflect on their times at Radford. 

Athletic Director Robert Lineburg formally introduced his coaching staff to the guests who gathered for the event and sports-themed door prizes were given away.

An estimated 225 alumni, students and community members took a bracing dip into the New River during the university’s second annual Highlander Polar Plunge. The river bank at Dudley’s Ferry Landing was crowded with onlookers and well-wishers as the swimmers hit the 34-degree water to raise about $17,000 for Special Olympics. The event was sponsored by the Radford City Police Department.

Showing their Highlander pride with red chest paint and superhero shorts, RU students Matt Meyerson, Alex Becouvarakis, and Justin Oresik eagerly dove in.

“It feels good, really good,” said Becouvarakis after his plunge. “It’s fun, exciting and nice to know we’re helping the Special Olympics.”

The RU community enjoyed a variety of other events during Homecoming week - reunions, recitals by professor Robert Trent and guest pianist Evangelia Mitsoupoulou, alumni basketball games, a spring Club Fair, a comedy show by Jen Kober and an “Evening at the Bonnie” with free bowling, billiards, music and refreshments in the Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center.

To see additional photos, visit the Facebook Gallery.

Jan 29, 2011
Don Bowman