President updates Alumni on diplomas

Dear Radford University Alumni,

I want to take this opportunity to update you about the misspellings identified in recently issued Radford University diplomas.  I understand the embarrassment this has caused the RU family – our alumni, students, faculty and friends alike.  For this, I apologize on behalf of the University.

In the fall of 2012, the registrar’s office found it necessary to implement an upgraded commercial software system used to produce RU’s diplomas.  Part of the software transition required rekeying the narrative templates for our diplomas.  Despite a two-person review of the rekeyed templates, the misspellings were not detected.  Those templates were then used in the subsequent production of the diplomas.  Based on a university review of what happened, these misspellings appear to be concentrated with our May 2013 and December 2012 diplomas.  Additionally, based on some recent feedback to the registrar’s office, we are investigating whether any other graduates have diplomas with additional errors.

Not surprisingly, these errors have resulted in considerable negative media coverage of our great institution. We are not dismissing the seriousness of the effects of these actions.

As a result of these mistakes, we are reviewing how we create our diplomas with the aim of identifying and implementing a more effective quality assurance process.  RU alumni who have been identified as having incorrect diplomas will be receiving corrected diplomas from the University as soon as possible.  Because we know that this is an issue important to our affected graduates, the registrar’s office has established a customer service point of contact to answer any graduate’s questions about their diplomas: or (540) 831-2190.

While this unfortunate episode has made it easy for many to chastise Radford University and its alumni, I do not think it accurately represents what all of us know to be true: Radford University is an institution of higher education that values its students, is dedicated to providing a high-quality education, and is a place that has made a tremendously positive impact on so many generations of graduates.

Last week Radford University had the privilege of hosting Boys State of Virginia for the first time, an accolade in many respects for the University.  During my welcoming comments to those remarkable 800 young men, I shared with them my thoughts on opportunity, encouraging them to create opportunities for themselves and to be ready to take advantage of unexpected opportunities that they will encounter.

As I reflect on this very public misstep for our University, I am hopeful that it may serve as our collective opportunity to tell our families, friends, colleagues and communities what Radford University really represents.  We should be proud of RU’s accomplishments and continue to encourage prospective students to consider strongly the opportunities this university could present to them.  And, we should not be deterred in creating opportunities for RU.

Again, please let me thank you for your patience, understanding and support of your alma mater, Radford University.

Most sincerely,

Penelope W. Kyle

Jun 29, 2013
Joe Carpenter
(540) 831-7270