2014 Graduate Hooding Ceremony takes place at RU


Dr. Brad Bizzell hoods Master of Science in Educational Leadership student Sandra McDonald Stalnaker during Friday's Graduate Hooding ceremony

Eighty-eight students were awarded master's and doctor's degrees on Friday, December 12, at the Radford University College of Graduate and Professional Studies Graduation and Hooding Ceremony, part of the 2014 Winter Commencement.

An enthusiastic crowd of family members, friends and faculty, all eager to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduate students, attended the event, held in Bondurant Auditorium.

Keynote speaker Sam Minner, RU provost and vice president for academic affairs, offered thoughts on the importance of a graduate degree, reminding graduates that they have achieved a special distinction.

"In the lives of many people…attaining a graduate degree is among the most meaningful days in their experience." He went on to urge the new graduates to reflect on this personal achievement as well as what it will mean for the future.

Following each graduate's hooding by a chosen faculty mentor, RU President Penelope W. Kyle conferred the degrees on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the RU Board of Visitors. Joining the ceremony and representing the Board of Visitors was Rector Mike Wray.

The College of Graduate and Professional Studies awarded the following degrees at the ceremony:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (4)
  • Master of Science (46)
  • Master of Occupational Therapy (23)
  • Master of Business Administration (9)
  • Master of Arts (3)
  • Master of Fine Arts (3)

Becca Knicely, of Charlottesville, celebrated the hooding with her family, boyfriend and friends. She said that pursuing her M.S. in Corporate and Professional Communication at RU was "one of the smartest decisions" she has ever made.

"It gave me real-life experience in the field of communication and public relations, but it also helped me network with people in the area," Knicely said.

Knicely began her graduate studies while still an undergraduate student at RU through an accelerated program offered by the School of Communication.

"I believe that life is all about creating yourself, and Radford University was the best foundation that I could have asked for," she said.

Liz Vermillion, of Woodbridge, received her M.S. in Education at the hooding. For Vermillion, it was hard, but rewarding work.

"It feels very good to be done," she said, "but my program, it was perfect."

Now, Vermillion will return to Northern Virginia to seek a teaching position. Helping her celebrate were her parents, Dave and Deb Vermillion.

"She did such a good job and we're just very proud," Deb Vermillion said.


Gary Schirr hoods Genet Gebeyaw Takele as part of Friday's Graduate Hooding ceremony.

Warren Goodin, originally from California, received his Master of Occupational Therapy degree and was pinned earlier on Friday in that program's pinning ceremony.

"It has been a pretty intense two years, from the hands-on experiences to things like paperwork, but I feel like I'm ready," Goodin said.

Goodin will go on to take board certification tests and seek a job as an occupational therapist, potentially back out west.

"For now it's a relief to be finished," he said.

To see additional photos of the hooding ceremony, visit the RU Facebook page.

Dec 16, 2014