University celebrates Homecoming and Family Weekend
It happens this time every year.
Members of the Radford University community – past and present – gather on campus for Homecoming and Family Weekend to reconnect with old friends and faculty and to meet new people and build relationships that will last through future generations of Radford alumni.
The university celebrated its annual Homecoming and Family Weekend Oct. 16-18 with special events to engage current and former students and their families with the Radford University community. This year, visitors experienced the vast changes around campus and explored the new facilities and offerings while sharing in memories of the past.
Homecoming event highlights included the Alumni and Family Village, Women of Radford Luncheon, an alumni lacrosse game and the annual Step Show.
Family Weekend featured a range of cultural and educational events, such as dance and theatre performances, the Appalachian Folk Arts Festival and planetarium shows. Sports fans cheered on the Highlanders at volleyball and soccer games.
Early on Saturday, Oct. 17, Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle hosted parents and families for the "Conversation with the President" in the Covington Center Atrium. The president provided updates about the university, which was followed by a question-and-answer session.
The group raised questions about academic and professional opportunities on campus, safety, parking, career placement and student activities. Parents praised the accessibility and enthusiasm of the university’s faculty.
Jennifer and Joe Brady of Virginia Beach attended the conversation to learn about the institution where their son Jordan is a freshman.
“I think it was awesome to see them set up a conversation like this on their own and coming to meet the parents,” Jennifer Brady said. Her husband agreed.
“You can tell the president and the administration really do care about what they’re doing here with the students,” Joe Brady said.
As part of the weekend festivities, the Class of 1965 celebrated its Golden Reunion at the Governor Tyler House on Saturday evening.
Classmates from the then all-female institution, Radford College, gathered for a special reunion dinner, hosted by President Kyle. Forty-eight people attended the event, including alumnae who had in previous years celebrated the 50-year milestone.
"I think this is a wonderful event that brings many of you back to campus," Kyle said. "We are so glad you are here."
Inside the house, classmates reminisced about the past and shared fond memories of their alma mater. For some, the recent visit to campus was their first since graduating half a century ago.
"When did they start calling us women?" joked Emogene Dellinger Adkins '65, who recalled a different title assigned to the female students in the 1960s.
"We were ladies."
Earlier, more than 100 women of all ages gathered and reminisced about Radford’s history and celebrated the women who make up today’s campus community at the third annual Women of Radford Luncheon.
President Kyle joined the alumnae from several generations and classes to celebrate the university's prestigious origins and history.
”We’re all women of Radford, but in our history there have been some very extraordinary women,” President Kyle said. “These women and many more broke the glass ceiling in business, technology and other fields to pave the way for future generations. Every one of them are Radford University treasures.”
Edna Osborne ’65, a member of the Golden Reunion returned to the campus from Warner-Robins, Georgia, and talked about the campus and the current generation.
“It has been magnificent. The campus is very appealing,” Osborne said. “You can tell the students have pride in their school.”
Another classmate, Esther Skrivseth Powell of Alexandria, reflected on an experience as a Radford student, perhaps, unique to her generation.
“We boarded the train at midnight and walked right up the hill to class at 8 a.m. after playing cards all night,” Powell recalled. “All Radford women played bridge, and played it well.”
Leading up to the weekend, the university hosted the Partners in Excellence luncheon on Oct. 15. The annual event brings together scholarship recipients with their benefactors.
Karol Willis Hull ’62, benefactor of the Karol Willis Hull Scholarship for Carroll County students, served as special guest speaker for the event.
In her speech to the nearly 200 guests, Hull succinctly stressed the importance of every endowed scholarship. “Without a scholarship, I could not have come to Radford,” she said.
Brittany Willard, a junior elementary education major and the 2015-16 recipient of Hull’s benevolent award, spoke on behalf of this year’s scholarship recipients. “Thank you for your generosity and trusting your gift to a total stranger.”
President Kyle also hosted students from the university’s Honors Academy Thursday night at the Governor Tyler House.
“When I got the invitation, I was really excited,” said Julia Kell, a freshman English major from Blacksburg. “I wanted to meet the president.”
During the reception, President Kyle met with students throughout the evening and took a few moments to address the group.
“Being part of this Honors Academy is going to change the way you look at academics,” President Kyle said. “I wanted to get all you together here this fall so I could let you know how much the Honors Academy means to Radford University and how much it means to me personally.”
Michaela Ingle, a freshman accounting major from Norton called the invitation “exciting” and “a really nice gesture.”
Ingle said the “invitation to the president’s house is especially nice for people who live far away. It makes them feel comfortable.”