Multicultural Congratulatory Ceremony held as part of commencement celebrations


Dr. Frank Alexander Clark, M.D., keynote speaker at the Multicultural Congratulatory Ceremony.

Some of Radford University's graduating students joined together in celebration at the 2015 Multicultural Congratulatory Ceremony on May 8 in the Covington Center for Visual and Performing Arts.

A tradition for nearly three decades, the ceremony offers students a chance to reflect on the diversity of campus and the bonds they have forged in their time at Radford.

"We know we are different today [at Radford] than we were the day you arrived," said Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle. "We want you to go out and lead and experience success, but we have loved having you as part of this community."

Since Kyle's arrival in 2005, special focus has been placed on cultivating a more diverse and inclusive campus. In a telling metric, the percent of minority students in Radford’s new freshmen classes has grown from 12 to 32 percent in that time.

Frank Clark, a board-certified adult psychiatrist at Carilion Clinic/New River Valley medical Center in Christiansburg, was the keynote speaker for the event. 

"You will go forth and pursue opportunities," he told the graduates. "I know this because all of you sitting here in this room are leaders. I am proud to be here with you tonight."


Clarissa Pyles, right, bends down so that her grandmother, Audrey Pyles, to put the stole over her head as part of the Multicultural Celebration.

Brittany Brown, a Class of 2015 graduate, gave the student address. She reminded the audience of Barbara Johns, a student from Brown's native Prince Edward County, Virginia who in 1951 led a student movement for equal education. Brown spoke of the inspiration she's received from Johns and urged her fellow newly minted alumni to remember their own inspirations for success.

Other speakers included Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion Crasha Townsend, Dean of Students Irvin Clark, Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Shanley and City of Radford Mayor Bruce E. Brown.

The program also featured a dance performance by student Darius Cureton and a vocal performance by Patrice Edwards ’15 and Justice Edwards.

The 2015 Multicultural Congratulatory Ceremony was sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion as part of the 2015 Spring Commencement celebrations.

May 12, 2015