New students begin their Radford journey at the New Student Convocation
On the eve of the start of the fall semester, freshman and transfer students gathered on McConnell Library Lawn on Aug. 26 for the annual New Student Convocation.
The sound of the Radford University Highlanders Pipes and Drums greeted the new students – a sound that will bookend their academic career on the campus and in the community.
Held outside for the second year in a row, the ceremony featured Interim Director for New Student Programs Joel Hanlon, the Master of Ceremonies, who kicked-off the program by welcoming students and thanking the entire Radford family, including the Division of Student Affairs, Facilities Management, the Police Department and the student assistants who made move-in a breeze.
“I had the privilege of meeting so many of you and your families as you came through Quest this summer as you got to experience our orientation program,” Hanlon said. “Now is the start of your academic careers.”
President Brian O. Hemphill took the podium and introduced his wife, First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, his two youngest children, Cruz and Catalina, and mother-in-law, Maria Rosas.
In his remarks, President Hemphill encouraged students to engage in the arts, attend sporting events, participate in community service projects and embrace the countless opportunities available to them.
“We are dedicated to providing the very best college experience possible for each of you,” Hemphill said. “You are the reason we are in higher education, the reason we have a passion for this profession. Now it is time for you to find your reason. Now it is time for you to find your passion.
“You are not alone on this journey,” Hemphill continued. “Embrace all of the exciting opportunities available for you on this campus and in this community. Enjoy the many moments you will experience on this campus.”
President Hemphill, who was a first-generation college student himself, gave a special message to the many incoming first-generation students.
“I want each of you to know that when I arrived on my college campus in 1988, I was nervous, excited and scared,” Hemphill said. “At the same time, I was determined. Determined to grow, learn and succeed. I promise you this: your Radford family that greeted you as you came in today will also help you grow learn and succeed. We will challenge you, we will encourage you and we very much believe in each of you.”
On behalf of Radford University faculty, Faculty Senate President and Associate Professor of Anthropology Jake Fox lauded the university’s faculty, who “are the most dedicated people you will ever meet,” Fox said. “They are dedicated to their disciplines, their creative and research agendas, but most of all, to your success and well-being at Radford.”
On behalf of the student body, Veronica Hyman shared some of her goals and provided tips to the incoming students.
“No matter how scared I was, nothing was going to stop me from achieving my goals,” Hyman said. “I wanted to be as successful as I could be in my college career.
“Run with your passion,” Hyman continued. “You never know who you will meet or where you will end up or what opportunities are ahead of you.”
Radford City Mayor David Horton welcomed the new students to campus on behalf of the City of Radford.
“We are so excited to have you here, and we hope that you explore not just the campus community, but also what is available off campus,” Horton said.
Following convocation, students made their way to Heth Lawn for the Class of 2022 photo. After the photo, students enjoyed a campus-wide picnic outside of Muse Hall.
Abby Slate of Roanoke reflected on why she chose Radford University.
“I visited campus and met some people and found a vibe I liked,” Slate said. “I can’t wait to branch out, meet new friends and do new things while studying and getting ready for this stage of my life.”
Kira Knotts of Clear Spring, Maryland, said that she is excited to take classes with the new Department of Dance Chair James Robey. “I’m looking forward to study abroad opportunities available at Radford,” she said.
Derrick Sutton of Waynesboro said that he is looking forward to the college experience and growing as a person.
Fall semester classes began Aug. 27. Club Fair, at which the university will showcase its more than 270 clubs and student organizations, is scheduled for Sept. 7 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on Moffett Lawn.