Radford University Foundation receives donation of renovated historic Radford home

Governor Tyler House

The Radford University Foundation has received a donation of a renovated house for use as the Radford University president's home.

The Radford University Foundation has entered into a lease with Radford University for $1 per year for the home for five years.

The house is a gift from two longtime friends of Radford University: Randal J. Kirk '76, former Rector of the Radford University Board of Visitors (BOV) and former member of the Radford University Foundation, and Georgia Anne Snyder-Falkinham, current member of the BOV, current member and former President of the Radford University Foundation, and current President of the Radford University Real Estate Foundation. The property and subsequent renovations were the result of gifts totaling more than $1.2 million to the Radford University Foundation.

"It has been a privilege to help make this special project possible for the benefit of Radford University," said Kirk. "This historically significant home will allow the university to extend a new level of hospitality to a variety of constituencies, including alumni, friends of Radford University and donors, students, faculty and staff, while also highlighting the historic ties between the region and the university."

"The renovation and restoration of Governor Tyler's former home was an honor, especially knowing that it will help preserve this special home for the long-term benefit of Radford University and the region," said Snyder-Falkinham. "This home, with both its history with Radford and the New River Valley and its beautiful and classic design, will be able to welcome future visitors to both Radford University and, by extension, the community."


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Renovations of the home commenced in fall 2012 and included the replacement of all windows and exterior doors, bathroom renovations, floor refinishing, and where necessary, replacement. The home's electrical system was entirely replaced and upgraded to ensure the house can satisfy modern needs, as was the home's plumbing system. During the renovation, a decommissioned system of gas lines once used for the house's lighting was removed. Included in the extensive renovations were new central heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that are more effective and energy efficient. Renovations also included a completely new kitchen to better facilitate official entertainment.

The home's exterior renovations included brick structural and facade repairs, the installation of a new garage with a connecting wing, as well as the installation of a new driveway, pavers and a back patio. Snyder & Associates General Contractor, of Blacksburg, led the renovations and repairs of the home.

During its May 9, 2014 meeting, the BOV voted, as part of its responsibilities to provide for the university president's official residence, to accept the home as the new home of the Radford University president, beginning with the fall 2014 term.

Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle currently lives in a home known as Hickory Hill, which has also served as the official residence to former RU Presidents Dr. Donald N. Dedmon and Dr. Douglas Covington.

The late Victorian/Queen Anne house, named Halwyck, located on Tyler Avenue in Radford, was built in 1892 and predates the founding of Radford University. The two-story brick dwelling was built by Virginia's 43rd governor, James Hoge Tyler (1846-1925), and his wife Susan Montgomery Hammet Tyler (1845-1927), who were influential in the early development of the City of Radford when it emerged as a railway hub and industrial center in Southwest Virginia.

Tyler was a farmer and businessman from Radford and Pulaski County who was known as "the farmer's friend" when he served in the Virginia Senate (1877-79), as lieutenant governor (1890-94) and as governor (1898-1902). He also made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate from Virginia in 1899. Among Tyler's political contemporaries was William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate, who was photographed on the veranda at Halwyck during Bryan's 1900 presidential campaign.

Halwyck served as Governor Tyler's residence until his death in 1925 and remained in the family until 1981. The home was purchased from its most recent owners in January 2012 as part of a planned donation to the Radford University Foundation. As a result of the donation and subsequent lease agreement, the home will soon serve as the official residence of Radford University's presidents.

The Radford University Foundation is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to raising, investing and administering private gifts for the benefit of Radford University. For more information on the Radford University Foundation, please visit www.radforduniversityfoundation.org.

For more information regarding Radford University, please visit www.radford.edu.

Aug 4, 2014