Convocation ceremonies launch new academic year at Radford

President Brian O. Hemphill addresses the 2016 Convocation.

On the eve of the 2016 academic year, the Radford University community joined President Brian O. Hemphill in Bondurant Auditorium on Aug. 25 for his first Fall Convocation since becoming Radford University’s President on July 1.

Interim Provost Joseph Scartelli introduced Hemphill to the almost 500 Radford faculty, staff and administrators, saying: “I am confident that you will see what I have witnessed and will look forward with enthusiasm to President Hemphill’s detailed and collaborative dialogue with us about his goals for Radford University.”

Hemphill invited the Radford community to join him in fulfilling his vision of “transforming Radford into an innovative, premier university in the Commonwealth of Virginia with a keen focus on teaching, research and service.”

Hemphill expressed confidence in the university’s students, faculty and staff as well as the institution’s future.

“We have great people who love this university, who care about our students and who are passionate about the work we do every day,” Hemphill said.

To guide the process, Hemphill pledged himself to four principles – excellence, accountability, transparency and student-centeredness. He then outlined the means by which he hopes to engage the campus community in regular communication and dialogue. 

Hemphill called for campus-wide engagement in support of the pending six-year strategic planning process and also invited active campus participation in a Budget Planning Summit on Sept. 9. The President noted the value of his recent open forums with the A/P and classified staffs and the prospects of those planned with faculty and students on Sept. 6 and 7. He also talked about the impact of his recent orientation meetings with the faculty of Radford’s seven colleges and plans for upcoming academic department tours and meetings.

Reflecting on his career in higher education, Hemphill said, “There is nothing that we can not accomplish together, absolutely nothing. If you are willing to lock arms for the common good, the common good of the Radford family, there is nothing we can not achieve.”

President Hemphill welcomed the 53 new faculty members with whom he had met during their orientation sessions last week. He also welcomed Faculty Senate President Carter Turner, A/P Senate President Sandra Bond, Staff Senate President Marie Testerman, SGA President Jacinda Jones and then greeted two special guests – the City of Radford’s Mayor Bruce Brown and Manager David Ridpath.


Awards recipients with President Brian O. Hemphill: Kyanna Jenkins; Tara Phelps-Durr (The Distinguished Faculty Advising Award); John Leonard (The Award for Administrative & Professonal Excellence); Claire Adomeit; Donald R. Jones; Jerry Kopf (The Distinguished Service Award); Brian Hemphill; Danielle S. Pompa; Tod Burke (The Distinguished Creative Scholar Award); Conner Philson & Jason Davis (The Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor Award).

The celebration of the recipients of the annual Radford University Foundation Faculty Awards and induction of faculty into the Million Dollar Circle are key parts of the annual convocation ceremonies.

Nominations for the Radford University Foundation Faculty Awards come from the university community and recipients are recommended to the president. President Hemphill joined Faculty Senate President Turner and Provost Scartelli to recognize the following Radford University Foundation Faculty Award recipients and their student scholarship designees:

  • Olga Pogorelsky, associate registrar for curriculum – Anna Lee Stewart Award for Contributions to Faculty Development. Student scholarship recipient: Kyle Maziarski.
  • John Leonard, assistant director of student activities – Award for Administrative and Professional Excellence. Student scholarship recipient: Claire Adomeit.
  • Tara Phelps-Durr, associate professor of biology–Distinguished Faculty Advising Award. Student scholarship recipient: Kyanna Jenkins.
  • Jerry Kopf, professor of management – Distinguished Service Award. Student scholarship recipient: Donald Jones.
  • Tod Burke, professor of criminal justice  – The Distinguished Creative Scholar Award. Student Scholarship recipient: Danielle Pompa.
  • Jason Davis, associate professor of biology and associate director of the Honors Academy – The Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor Award. Student scholarship recipient: Conner Philson.

President Hemphill also joined Provost Scartelli and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research Dennis Grady to welcome the newest members of the Million Dollar Circle:

  • Margaret Devaney, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Katherine Hawkins, dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences
  • Paul Thomas, associate professor of philosophy and religion

Devaney, Hawkins and Thomas were instrumental in securing almost $1.5 million from the Virginia Department of Education to enable Radford University to host the Governor’s School for the humanities and visual and performing arts for the last two years.

Following the Convocation ceremonies, President Hemphill hosted a reception in the Center for the Sciences, which opened for classes in January.


At the post-convocation reception in the Center for the Sciences, Graphic Designer Nakia Shelton (left) shares a laugh with President Hemphill (right).

Aug 27, 2016
Don Bowman
(540) 831-7523