Nothing Can Rain on Class of 2012's Parade

Lt. Gov. Bolling

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling encouraged graduates to set lofty goals and dream big dreams.

In a ceremony shortened by rain, Radford University observed its 2012 Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 5, with President Penelope W. Kyle conferring degrees on nearly 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Kyle drew cheers and applause from graduates and guests, many in rain gear or huddled under umbrellas, when she proposed condensing the main event so individual colleges could begin the ceremonies at which diplomas were presented.

In brief remarks, the president expressed optimism about the new graduates' prospects. "You are entering a more robust job market than previous classes have done," she said.

Kyle complimented the university's faculty, telling graduates, "They have prepared you well for the challenges ahead. … Go forth with confidence and Highlander pride."

Kyle introduced the keynote speaker, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, who polled the audience on whether he should deliver his prepared speech in the rain or "just talk for a few minutes." The latter option drew enthusiastic applause.

Bolling opened by quoting the class motto at his own high school graduation: "Your life is an unpainted picture. You are the artist. Paint the picture well."

He counseled the graduates to do so by setting lofty goals and dreaming big dreams. "I challenge you to have a vision for your life," he said. "You can be anything you want to be."

Students under umbrella

Students share an umbrella as they march to their seats during 2012 Spring Commencement Ceremonies on Moffett Lawn.

Bolling also challenged the graduates to be well-rounded people. "There's more to life than being successful in your career," he said, emphasizing faith, family and giving back as the keys to a full, balanced life.

graduate being hooded

Graduate Marcia  Kay Nowell smiles after being hooded by Assistant Professor Jennifer Mabry.

Kyle then introduced the rest of the platform party, including members of the Radford University Board of Visitors, Provost Sam Minner, university deans and other RU officials. She closed by recognizing recipients of the 2012 awards to outstanding teaching and professional faculty.

Preceding Saturday's events was the hooding and commencement ceremony Friday for the College of Graduate and Professional Studies at the Dedmon Center. Faculty mentors presented academic hoods to students earning master’s degrees, and two students received Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees.

Other commencement activities Friday were the ROTC commissioning of 11 cadets as officers; the School of Nursing pinning ceremony for 68 graduates; and the donning of the Kente and Graduado honoring the accomplishments of the university’s graduating seniors of African-American and Latino heritage.

For more photos from 2012 Spring Commencement, visit Radford University's Facebook page, and don't miss the commencement video.

May 5, 2012
Bonnie Erickson