Radford sophomores celebrate midway point to 2020 graduation
Almost half the Class of 2020 turned out to celebrate passing the midway point on their paths to graduation at the inaugural Halfway There Celebration at Radford University April 17.
For Samantha Goldsborough, a sophomore special education major from Damascus, Maryland, the festive afternoon provided a pre-birthday windfall as she accepted a $4,000 Presidential Scholarship from President Brian O. Hemphill.
“Tomorrow is my birthday and this award makes my 19th birthday the best-ever,” said Goldsborough who added that she “has fallen in love with Radford because the professors are amazing and have made me feel welcome.”
The event, which wound from the steps of the McConnell Library to the Bonnie Plaza, included a stop at the campus fountain into which members of the approximately 1,400-strong sophomore class tossed commemorative coins.
Krista Lansing, a sophomore athletic training major from Orange, and Liza Goldwater, a sophomore marketing and management major from Manassas, locked arms, made a wish and flipped coins over their shoulders while posing for pictures with their canine compadres-Apollo and River.
Lansing said her wish was for a good job after graduation and Goldwater’s wish was for a GPA of 3.8 or higher.
“We are making our way,” said Goldwater. “We are now used to college life and are getting better at studying, doing the work and keeping up a healthy routine.”
Vice President of Student Affairs Ann Marie Klotz said she anticipated the event becoming a tradition that highlights the sophomores’ work and dedication in achieving an often-overlooked milestone toward graduation and opening a new chapter in their Radford experiences as upperclassmen.
“The Radford family is doing this for you now, so you know that we will be with all throughout your academic career,” Klotz said during the opening ceremonies.
President Hemphill echoed that assurance during the Halfway There closing ceremonies when he called on the Class of 2020 to reach out and engage the Radford family of faculty and staff as they complete their degrees.
“Look around you,” President Hemphill said. “The faculty and staff here today and across the campus remain committed to helping you overcome the challenges and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that will come with your graduation.”
For Tyra Jones, a sophomore exercise science major from Suffolk, the Halfway There celebration provided a chance to accentuate the positive.
“It has been eventful and there has been some stress, for sure, but I have met my best friend and the new experiences have helped me grow,” said Jones.
Jeff Bracken of Derry, Pennsylvania, reflected on what being halfway there meant to him.
“I am halfway on my way toward playing music for a living,” Bracken said. “My Radford experience has been a big upgrade. The faculty have been fantastic, the community great and I love the area, especially at this time of year.”
Bracken said Radford has enabled him get involved and then rattled off a list of extracurriculars – pep band, wind ensemble, brass quintet and brass ensemble – that he expects to help him fulfill his dream.
Cerra Ebbecke, a sophomore marketing major from Long Island, New York, is also an active Highlander. She is an admissions tour guide, student government and fraternity leader and dancer.
“It has been kind of eye-opening to think back on the passage of two years,” Ebbecke said. “I have to say, though, that there are so many opportunities to get involved and I am glad that I have taken advantage of them.”