Radford University family welcomes students for fall semester

President Brian. O. Hemphill addresses students at New Student Convocation on Aug. 28 in Bondurant Auditorium.

Quintin Goodman arrived at Radford University only a few days before classes began, but the freshman from Virginia Beach already loves the campus environment.

“It’s a great atmosphere, and it has lots of positive vibes and lots of positive people,” he said.

Goodman wants to study marketing at Radford.

“I’m interested in money and investments,” he said, but he’s also actively looking to involve himself in activities outside the classroom.

“I want to meet a lot of people, stay connected and get involved with the campus. I want to see what Greek life is about, and get involved in community service,” he said as he waited with other freshmen and transfer students to enter Bondurant Auditorium for New Student Convocation on the evening before classes began for the fall 2016 semester.

Radford University brought together more than 2,000 new freshman and transfer students for the convocation on Aug. 28 to kick off the new academic year.

Freshman Brianna Martineau of Virginia Beach was happy to see so many of her fellow students turn out for the event.

“Radford does a really good job of including everybody in activities that bring the whole school together,” said Martineau, whose mother also attended Radford University.

At the convocation, Philosophy and Religious Studies Chair Carter Turner, who also serves as president of the Faculty Senate, spoke on behalf of the faculty to the students, telling them they were “about to embark on what will be the most empowering and transformative period” of their lives.

“There is nothing like college in this world. Nothing,” Turner said. “You will meet people here who are so much like you that you will develop friendships that last the rest of your lives. And you will meet people here who see the world very differently than you do and whose simple presence in your lives will challenge and shape you in ways that are hard for you to even imagine.”

President Brian O. Hemphill, who assumed the role of Radford University’s seventh president on July 1, told the gathering he hopes they see the many opportunities ahead of them at the university and encouraged them to become involved on campus and in the community.

“I want to see you engaging in the arts. I want you cheering on our student-athletes. I want you participating in community service,” President Hemphill said. “And ultimately, I challenge you to find your niche within this community, find your niche like so many others before you that have traveled this path as Highlanders.”


Kimmy Stafford, a senior nursing major from Virginia Beach, welcomed the students and offered congratulations.

“You have truly chosen the best university to call home for the next four years," she said.

She shared stories of how she found success at Radford and offered advice to the students about how they can get the most out their college experience.

“Your success is dependent on the people you meet along the way,” Stafford said. “Somewhere in this room is someone who is going to share the same attitude, the same values and the same goals as you and is going to make an impact on your college career. It is up to you to find them.”

Radford Mayor Bruce Brown told the students that Radford University will help shape their futures and encouraged them to participate in and enjoy the numerous opportunities available to them in the city.

“This university and her faculty are going to help define who you are, who you will become and the contribution that you’ll make to your community and your country,” Brown said. “Embrace it. Engage it. Enjoy it, and be part of it.”

Following a short video to promote and recognize the university’s athletics programs, the convocation concluded with the Radford University Spirit Squad leading a cheer with the students and then leading them out of the auditorium and onto Heth Lawn.

There, the students gathered for a class photo and formed the numbers 2020 while donning red Radford University T-shirts.

Standing in the first 2 of 2020, waiting to pose for the photo, Taryn Cochran, a freshman from Ruckersville, talked about choosing Radford for its interior design program. “My high school teacher told me it was a really good program,” she said. “Plus, it’s a beautiful campus. I love it here.”

The next day, thousands of students flooded campus for the first day of classes. They were eager to explore the new academic buildings, including the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, and catch up with their friends and favorite professors.

While some students are just beginning their Radford University journey as freshmen, many are winding down their college careers. The 2016-17 academic year marks level 4 nursing student Maggie McDaniel's last at Radford University. She graduates this winter.

"As I begin my last year here, I am upset to be closing this amazing chapter of my life, but I am also very ready to open a new chapter in my future career," said McDaniel, of Virginia Beach.

"Radford University has prepared me for my future as an RN. The nursing program allows for ample clinical hours with hands-on training and classroom time to reiterate the clinical concepts. I have also learned to live on my own, prepare my own meals, manage money, balance school with social life and become a well-rounded member of society."

The first week of classes also marks the first week of BE S.E.E.N. (Be Successful Through Engagement and Education Now), the university's comprehensive initiative designed to get students involved on campus from day one. Six weeks of fun and engaging events are scheduled, including the Club Fair, which will occur on Sept. 2 at 3:30 p.m. on Moffett Lawn.

To see of a schedule of upcoming BE S.E.E.N. events, visit the Student Activities website.

Aug 31, 2016
Mary Hardbarger and Chad Osborne