Campus welcomes new students during Quest 2016 (with video)

President Kyle was presented with an honorary Quest sign at the Welcoming Ceremony during Quest 2016.

Radford University welcomed more than 500 students and their family members to campus on June 16-17 for the first traditional Quest session of the summer.

Quest, the university's comprehensive new student orientation, is offered to transfer students and incoming freshmen. While Transfer Quest sessions last just a day, the traditional Quest sessions are spread over two to allow students to fully immerse themselves in the college experience.

"Thank you for making Radford University your choice," President Penelope W. Kyle told students and their guests at the Welcoming Ceremony on June 16. "You made this choice together, and we are going to live up to those expectations."

Quest staff recognized President Kyle's support of the program throughout the past 11 years with a special presentation of an honorary Quest sign and foam finger – school spirit items no Quest Assistant is without during the summer.

"This has been an amazing experience for me," President Kyle said. "I have been so proud to be here. Students, before you know it, you will be calling Radford University your second home."

Logan Griffith of Springfield, Ohio, is more than ready to make that adjustment. His mother, Kari, shares in that excitement, even if she didn't at first, she admitted.

"He's the first of our children to go off to college, so we're all new to this," she said.

Logan plans to join Radford's cross country team. Coincidently, as an out-of-state-student, he first learned of the university after a cross country meet. There, he met Radford men's cross country coach Eric Thatcher.

"We stayed in touch, and coach eventually encouraged me to visit campus," he said.

Earlier this year, after a five-and-a-half-hour trip, the Griffiths arrived for a tour.

"I had every intention of not liking it," Kari Griffith said with a smile. "Knowing that he may go off to school so far away was a scary thought."

But Radford's outstanding faculty, staff and coaches, up-to-date facilities and "warm and welcoming" environment changed Mom's mind quickly.

"I called my husband afterward, and said, 'I don't want to love it, but I really do,'" she said.

Logan said he is unsure of what he will major in, but he definitely knows he is going to spend a lot of time "running around campus."

A Quest Assistant greets students and family members during new student orientation.

Incoming freshman Autumn Harless, on the other hand, will be doing a lot of cheering.

Autumn, of Roanoke, will be a member of the Highlander cheerleading team. She plans to complement that hobby with a major in sports medicine.

"I want to become a physical therapist," she said. "I had heard really good things about the program, and when I visited campus, I knew this was the right place for me."

Autumn's mother, Cindy, is excited to watch her daughter grow in a university setting and reach her career goals.

"I'm looking forward to her making her own way," she said.

Although the Harlesses live not too far from Radford, Autumn has decided to live on campus, a move her mom feels is very important.

"I want her to really embrace college – meet new people and get involved," she said. "I want her to take every opportunity thrown at her and at least try it."

New students are exposed to Radford University's multitude of opportunities during Quest. They receive academic advising, meet faculty and staff and sign up for fall classes. Quest Assistants – current student leaders – act as guides and mentors, engaging new students in ice-breaker activities that make finding a friend a little easier.

Friends and future roommates Merrin Devan and Skyler Ayres of Forest said they're eager to make new friends and explore campus.

"I'm excited about living in the dorms," Merrin said.

"And I'm ready to check out the classes," Skyler added.

Both students said they plan to get involved in a student organization - possibly with Radford University's yearbook, The Beehive.

"That's where we first met in high school and became friends, so it just seems fitting," Skyler said.

Quest officially began on June 13 and 14 with two Transfer Quest sessions.

President Kyle talked with students and family members on June 14, explaining that she, too, was once a transfer student.

"I know what it is like," she told students. "But I can assure you that it will be an easy transition for you here. You will be a member of the Radford University Highlander Family."

Transfer student Carolyn Balkey of Buena Vista attended orientation with her mother, Jennifer, who is an RU alumna. As a legacy student, Carolyn said she felt "really comfortable" on campus. She plans to apply to the nursing program this fall and to become involved in the dance club.

"I am so excited to move in," she said. "I'm looking forward to learning new things and making new friends along the way."

Quest 2016

Jun 17, 2016
Mary Hardbarger