Radford University alumni honored at luncheon
“This is my first Homecoming back since I graduated, and it is truly humbling to be singled out among so many deserving people,” said retired Col. Kevin Hudson ’90 at the 2018 Alumni Volunteer Leadership Business Lunch and Awards Ceremony, held Friday, Oct. 19 in Kyle Hall.
The third annual event – which hosted over 175 alumni, family and friends of Radford University – honored those alumni who have made an impact in their professions, community and their alma mater.
Hudson, an executive with YAM Management in Scottsdale, Arizona, was the recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award, which recognizes a graduate who has made remarkable contributions to society through their profession.
“Radford University was the gateway to my family since I met my wife here,” Hudson continued. “I was actually admitted to Virginia Tech and came to Radford’s campus to celebrate with some of my friends. I loved the campus so much that I walked into the registrar’s office that day with my transcripts in hand and received admittance to Radford University on the spot.
“I don’t have a single regret.”
As a student, Hudson was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and served on the executive board of the Interfraternity Council. Many of his fraternity brothers were in attendance at the luncheon to see Hudson receive his award.
After graduation from Radford University, Hudson enrolled in the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidates School, where he graduated with honors. Hudson would then go on to serve our country with distinction for over 25 years. Today, Hudson serves on the board of directors for Support Education and Employment for Veterans as well as the national board of directors for the Navy League, which advocates for support for sea service families. He is also an active member of the Knights of Columbus and he, along with other Radford alumni, have initiated an honor scholarship to support Radford University students who are ROTC, veterans or first responders.
“It all started here,” said Hudson. “I believe the three pillars of success are hard work, education and a support network. I receive all three at Radford University.”
Audra Shekleton ’04 received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which 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.
Shekleton, who serves as an assurance partner at EY, has been recognized in a Washington Business Journal article celebrating women in leadership. She also leads the Women’s Network and the People Advisory Board within EY, and she assisted in starting the Richmond Chapter of Women in Business Executives. Shekleton also serves on the central Virginia board of directors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and works with the March of Dimes High Heels for High Hopes campaign.
“When I was notified that I had received this award, I told my husband that it’s the last year I’d be eligible,” Shekleton joked. “I owe much of my career to the faculty and staff here at Radford University.”
Shekleton acts as a Radford University alumni leader, serving on the Davis College of Business Advisory Board, hosting the Richmond Business and Government Leaders meeting, and representing Ernst & Young at the campus Firm Night, providing internship and job opportunities to students and alumni as well as assisting with admission recruitment efforts.
The Outstanding Philanthropist Award, which recognizes exceptional generosity and civic responsibility demonstrated by financial contributions to charitable organizations within their community, including the Radford University Foundation, was given to Joe Sheffey M.S. ’75, who was unable to attend the ceremony.
Sheffey served for 28 years on the Pulaski Board of Supervisors – including 20 years as the chair – becoming the first elected minority in the New River Valley. Upon retiring after a 36-year career in administration with New River Community College, Sheffey was named to the Hall of Fame for the Virginia Community College System.
As a former scholarship recipient, Sheffey understands the importance of private support and has given to the Radford Annual Fund for over 35 consecutive years.
The General Assembly even honored Sheffey during the 2015 session with House Joint Resolution No. 837, which commended him for his years of service and his many accomplishments on behalf of the people of Pulaski County and the Commonwealth.
“I have to thank three people that inspired me to give back – my wife, my father and my mother,” said Anthony Smith ’98, recipient of the Outstanding Service Award, which recognizes graduates who have made exceptional contributions to furthering the mission of Radford University through continued support of their community and the University.
Smith, vice president at Service Contracting of VA, Inc., serves as chapter leader for the Alumni Association New River Valley chapter, which helps to plan and execute area events. Smith also serves on the Athletic Foundation Board of Directors and is an avid Highlander athletics supporter. He and his company host pregame socials for basketball games in an effort to provide networking opportunities as well as increase school spirit.
As a Radford University Alumni Admissions Ambassador, Smith calls and writes to prospective students to share his passion for Radford University. He has hired alumni and reached out to classes in order to conduct marketing research projects.
“My mother is a lifetime giver,” Smith continued. “As I sat in the back seat of her car while she drove for Meals on Wheels, she showed me the importance of giving back.”
“The opportunity to recognize our alumni for their professional and personal accomplishments enhances our ability to promote the Radford University experience while also adding value to the degrees of all of our graduates,” said Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lowery. “We applaud our award recipients for their outstanding achievements.”