Hundreds visit campus for Quest orientation
Radford University's new student orientation is off to an exciting start.
Quest began June 15 and continues through mid-July. During this period, more than 2,000 students and their family members are expected to visit campus.
The first wave of incoming freshmen arrived June 18 with an eagerness to explore and meet their future classmates.
Elizabeth "Betsy" Cornelius and her father, Robert, made their way into Preston Hall where guests gathered for a welcoming presentation by President Penelope W. Kyle and other university representatives.
Betsy, an outdoor enthusiast from Mechanicsville, is excited to "major in adventure," she said.
"I'm not going to be sitting in a lecture hall all the time," she said. "I'm going to be rock-wall climbing and scuba diving."
Betsy plans to major in recreation, parks and tourism with a concentration in recreation therapy. The campus and surrounding area will allow her to pursue her passion for nature. She's especially looking forward to a float down the New River, she said.
Robert Cornelius said he is proud of his daughter and her decision to attend Radford University.
"I know she's going to have fun and be successful here," he said.
Inside Bondurant Auditorium, the Corneliuses joined their counterparts as President Kyle, Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Shanley and Student Body President Colby Bender offered words of wisdom.
President Kyle welcomed the Class of 2019 and extended an invitation to their guests to return to campus anytime.
"This is a big moment in your lives," Kyle said. "A college education will make all the difference in the world. The day that we hand you your diplomas, you will have something that no one can take away from you."
President Kyle encouraged parents to stay involved in their students' college journey. Make sure they are getting to know their professors and keeping up with their studies, she said.
She also reassured them that the entire Highlander community is invested in their student's success.
"Parents, you are entrusting us with the most precious part of your life," she said. "I can tell you, all of our staff and faculty, we realize the seriousness of this responsibility, and we will live up to your expectations."
Bender, a rising senior, shared a nostalgic reflection of his Quest experience and encouraged students to look forward to the exciting journey ahead.
"Radford is my home now," Bender said. "When you are a Highlander, you are always going to have family here."
Kyle explained the multiple construction projects on campus. Of particular interest to the students is the "must-see" Student Recreation and Wellness Center, a building Kyle encouraged the audience to visit while on campus.
Zack Bezek and his father, Bill, are one step ahead of that advice.
The pair, of Manassas, visited campus in early spring and made a special stop at the new state-of-the-art facility.
"Zack fell in love with it," said Bill Bezek.
Incoming freshman Savannah Corbin of Culpepper has been falling in love with Radford for years, she said. That's when big sisters Victoria, a Radford University senior, and Lauran, a rising Radford University sophomore, were accepted.
"I've visited here so many times," Savannah said. "The small campus and classroom sizes – Radford fits me really well."
Earlier this week, two Quest sessions were offered to transfer students, who typically account for about 25 percent of incoming students. About 500 of these students will attend a Quest session this summer, including Azja Epps of New Jersey.
Azja is transferring to Radford from Clark Atlanta University as a rising junior. Interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy, Radford offers the courses she needs to complete her degree, she said.
"I was really impressed by Radford University's physical therapy program," Azja said. "And it is just so beautiful here."
Radford University offers three different orientation programs – two-day Quest, Quest Express – an abbreviated single-day experience - and Transfer Quest. All three programs incorporate tours of campus, academic advising, course registration and information sessions for both students and family members.
To enhance the experience, Quest Assistants (QAs) act as guides and accelerate interaction between the new students. QAs apply and start training for the program in early spring and return to campus in May for continued preparation.
President Kyle hosted a special luncheon for these student leaders on June 17 at the Governor Tyler House, sharing with them the important roles the QAs serve in representing Radford University to the newest students and ensuring a smooth transition to college for those new students.
The next two-day Quest session is scheduled for June 29-30. Quest Express begins June 22.