Convocation celebrates opening of Radford’s 2017-18 academic year

Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill addresses the 2017 Convocation.
Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill addresses the 2017 Convocation.

To commemorate the opening of the 2017-18 academic year, President Brian O. Hemphill welcomed the Radford University family back to campus at Convocation in Bondurant Auditorium on Aug. 24.

President Hemphill greeted and recognized Radford’s new faculty members and recognized shared governance partners Faculty Senate President Jake Fox, Administrative and Professional Faculty Senate President Sandra Bond, Staff Senate Vice President Allison McCoy and Student Government Association President Julianne Stanley as well as members of the University’s Leadership Council. City of Radford Mayor Bruce Brown and Manager David Ridpath were also recognized and welcomed at the University’s annual gathering.

The seventh president of Radford University reflected appreciatively and resolutely looked ahead.

“Last year, things happened here at Radford that were so positive for this institution. Because of you and your dedication, commitment, hard work, determination and perseverance, people are noticing and investing and believing in what is happening on this campus.” said Hemphill to the Convocation’s more than 500 guests.

The university’s largest alumni gift of $5 million from Nancy ’73 and Pat Artis and the impending culmination of Radford’s yearlong strategic planning initiative were among the highlights that Hemphill referenced.

He renewed his commitment to “regularly engage in communication and dialogue with the entire campus.”  Well-attended, engaging forums for classified and AP staff occurred recently, and open sessions for faculty and staff are set for Sept. 5 and 6. They will, according to Hemphill, be part of “a continued high-degree of engagement.”  


In addition, Hemphill will premiere the State of the University address on Oct. 6 during the university’s annual Homecoming and Reunion Weekend.

As Radford advances, Hemphill said there would be much to look forward and to celebrate.

On August 28, Radford will finalize a guaranteed transfer agreement with Northern Virginia Community College which will ensure a seamless transfer of academic credits for NOVA graduates who transfer to Radford.

On Sept. 8, Hemphill and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe will announce an accelerated academic program and new academic platform, called IMPACT, which will be the first and only of its kind at a four-year public educational institution in Virginia.

Hemphill reiterated that Radford’s collective strength comes from its students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.

“Because of you who work every day together as one Highlander family, we are transforming Radford into a premier university within the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond with our keen focus on teaching, research and service.”

Key elements of the annual convocation ceremonies are the recognition of the recipients of the annual Radford University Foundation Faculty Awards and induction of faculty into the Million Dollar Circle.

Nominations for the Radford University Foundation Faculty Awards come from the university community and recipients are recommended to the president. President Hemphill joined Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Graham Glynn and Faculty Senate President Fox to recognize the following award recipients and their student scholarship designees:

  • Laura Noll, research compliance manager in the College of Graduate Studies and Research – Anna Lee Stewart Award for Contributions to Faculty Development. Student scholarship recipient: Rebecca Wiegmann
  • Niels Christensen, director of the Radford University Honors Academy – Award for Administrative and Professional Excellence. Student scholarship recipient: Bridgett Oliver, awarded posthumously, with funds going to the memorial scholarship fund named in her honor
  • Pamela Frasier, associate professor of health and human performance ­ – Distinguished Faculty Advising Award. Student scholarship recipient: Danielle Rock
  • Ricky Cox, instructor of English and coordinator of the Farm at Selu – Distinguished Service Award. Student scholarship recipient: Rebecca Newton
  • Agida Manizade, associate professor of mathematics and statistics – The Distinguished Creative Scholar Award. Student scholarship recipient: Alex Moore
  • Parvinder Sethi, professor of geology – The Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor Award. Student scholarship recipient: Zachary Yates
The 2017 class of Radford University Million Dollar Circle
At the 2017-18 Convocation, two Radford faculty members were welcomed to the Million Dollar Circle. From left, Provost Graham Glynn; honorees Professor of Biology Jeremy Wojdak and Associate Professor of Nursing Vicki Bierman; interim Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research Laura Jacobsen and President Brian Hemphill.

President Hemphill then joined Provost Glynn and interim Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research Laura Jacobsen to welcome two new members to Radford’s Million Dollar Circle:

  • Vicki Bierman, associate professor of nursing
  • Jeremy Wojdak, professor of biology

The Million Dollar Circle program recognizes members of the Radford faculty who receive a cumulative total of $1 million or more in external grants or contracts.

In support of separate initiatives, Bierman and Wojdak obtained a total of more than $2.6 million in grants from sources such as the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration and the National Science Foundation

Following the Convocation ceremonies, President Hemphill hosted a reception in the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences which opened a year ago at the beginning of the fall 2016 semester.



Aug 25, 2017
Don Bowman
(540) 831-5182