Alpha Kappa Psi has an evening with the president
Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle met with members of Alpha Kappa Psi Nov. 5, offering words of wisdom and encouragement to the students concerning their future academic and career endeavors.
President Kyle began the evening session praising the students for aligning themselves with the principles of Alpha Kappa Psi, a business fraternity open to all majors.
"Belonging to a professional fraternity like Alpha Kappa Psi is a great start for each of you," Kyle said. "To have a group you can network with while you're still in school is a great thing for you to do and it's something that will help you."
Alpha Kappa Psi invited the president to visit the group and discuss "options and recommendations for paths to take after graduation," said Alpha Kappa Psi President Emily Grant.
Many of the fraternity members are on schedule to graduate in May, making this an opportune time for the members to seek advice from the university's president, Grant said.
"Not only is she [President Kyle] a faculty brother of our chapter, but she is obviously a great leader, role model and the epitome of professionalism," said Grant, a senior economics and management double major from Virginia Beach. "She has a great deal of knowledge and insight that we can all benefit from."
In addition to those majors within RU's College of Business and Economics, a number of disciplines were represented at the group talk, including students pursuing degrees in political science, nursing, psychology, studio art, social work, media studies and sports medicine.
Kyle spoke of her own education and varied career experiences. "My career was unusual at my time because most people either left graduate school or undergraduate school and went to a particular job and stayed there," Kyle said.
The president referenced a magazine article that speculated many individuals who have recently or soon will graduate from college could have as many as 15-20 jobs during their working lifetimes.
Kyle noted her career path, which was unusual for her generation, mimics what lies ahead for many of RU's soon-to-be graduates. "My career at the time was quite unusual and it was because opportunities presented themselves to me," she said.
Kyle taught English at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton before becoming an attorney and later worked for a major corporation, CSX, becoming the company’s first female officer. She later became the Virginia Lottery Director before transitioning before being selected to serve as RU's sixth and, first female, president.
"All of my decisions were not plotted or planned by me," Kyle explained. "And maybe that's a good message for you all at this time. You can't always say you know exactly what you're going to do and when you're going to do it. You have to be nimble. You have to be prepared for sudden change."
President Kyle urged the Alpha Kappa Psi members to be flexible and open-minded to opportunities and to "always make sure the people you work for know that you are dedicated to that job and that you do a good job. Because they're not going to recommend you [for opportunities] if they don't think those things about you."
Stressing the importance of flexibility, Kyle said "You have to make absolutely certain that the people who work with you know that you're dedicated to that job, that you're always learning, you're hard working and that you are willing to consider new opportunities for the organization when they come along. Otherwise, the chance for someone to present another opportunity to you most likely won't happen."
Following her talk, Kyle, for more than an hour, answered numerous questions from the students who were happy to hear words of advice from the university president.
"I feel like Dear Abby," Kyle said with a laugh while fielding questions about academics and careers while sprinkling in additional personal stories that related to students' concerns.
"She definitely has good advice," said Brandon Boswell, a senior political science major from Brooklyn, New York, who is scheduled to graduate in December.
Michael Goodale, a fourth-generation RU student, was thrilled to have an opportunity to chat with President Kyle.
"I really love the fact that she came to talk with us," said Goodale, a senior political science major from Alexandria. "It was interesting to hear from her about her different jobs because she fits into what is being said about our generation having many different jobs. She relates to our generation."