Luncheon honors alumni who have made an impact in their professions, community and their alma mater
“Thank you all for volunteering to help Radford University,” said Kevin Rogers ’87, president of the Radford University Alumni Association, in his introduction to the Alumni Volunteer Leadership Business Lunch and Awards Ceremony. “I’ve never been so motivated to volunteer as I am today with President Hemphill at the helm,” Rogers continued.
The luncheon, which was held Friday, Oct. 14 in Kyle Hall, honored those alumni who have made an impact in their professions, community and their alma mater. The event – which hosted over 80 alumni, family and friends of Radford University – also helped to kick-off Radford University’s Homecoming Weekend 2016.
Shirley Williams Walton ’60 received the day’s first honor, the Outstanding Service Award, for her contributions to furthering the mission of the University, as well as her support to her community and to Radford University. “Radford means the world to me and I will always give back to her,” said Walton, who has dedicated her life and career to teaching and cooperative extension efforts throughout southwest and southside Virginia.
Walton, who has referred numerous students to Radford University, was also able to encourage her granddaughter, Hannah Gullickson ’16, to follow her example.
“I was able to relive my dreams when Hannah came to Radford,” Walton added.
“Philanthropy to my husband and I is simply paying it forward,” said Nancy Artis ’73, who was the recipient of the inaugural Outstanding Philanthropist Award. The award, which recognizes generosity and civic responsibility as demonstrated by significant financial contributions to charitable organizations, was given to Artis because of her support of Radford University as well as other institutions and community projects throughout Virginia and Colorado.
“Without the generous support of donors like all of you,” Artis continued, “I would not have been able to attend Radford University. That is what inspired me to become what I call an ‘active donor.’
“I find a need and I fill it. I challenge every person in this room to do the same.”
Stephan Cassaday ’76 received the Outstanding Alumnus Award, which recognizes a graduate who has made remarkable contributions to society through their profession. Cassaday, who entered Radford University with the first class of men admitted to the University, founded Cassaday and Company, an independent wealth management firm that manages $1.8 billion in assets. Cassaday and Company has been recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work” by Washington Business Journal, Washingtonian Magazine, Pensions and Investments, and Virginia Business Magazine.
This past year, Barron’s Magazine recognized Cassaday as the “#1 Advisor in Virginia” and as one of the top 100 financial advisors in the nation.
“Life is what you choose to make of it, and I learned that lesson here,” said Matt Crisp ’04 via his brother-in-law, Radford University student and Marine veteran Brandon Snead, who was accepting the Outstanding Young Alumni Award on his behalf. The award is given to an alumnus 35-or-under who has made significant career achievements and has been actively involved in Radford University programs or civic and volunteer activities.
Crisp, a finance student, left his mark as the founder of the Student Managed Investment Portfolio Organization, which today manages more than $1 million in investments. Today, Crisp serves as co-founder of Benson Hill Biosystems, an agricultural technology company focused on improving photosynthesis in crops. Crisp was a member of both the Radford University Board of Visitors and the Radford University Board of Directors, and he served on the Presidential Search Committee that selected President Brian O. Hemphill.
“I believe the possibilities are endless to the students and alumni of Radford University,” said Angela Joyner, executive director of Career Services at Radford University, who served as the luncheon’s keynote speaker.
“Everything you do at Radford matters – from the first day to the last day,” Joyner said while laying out her vision of what Career Services can help achieve. “My ambition is to create a center that fosters career and talent development. I want to begin that process as early as when students begin their application process – and the journey will not end when they graduate.
“It is a bold plan, but our students deserve nothing less. And the world deserves nothing less.”