Celebration of Giving honors Radford University’s generous supporters

President Hemphill joined by Sandra C. and Jack C. Davis.

Radford University recognized and celebrated a large, distinguished community of generous supporters, friends, alumni, faculty and staff during the Celebration of Giving on Friday, April 5, 2019.

“You are creating a culture of achievement,” said President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. who was joined by First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D. in hosting the annual event. “Thank you for believing in our students. Thank you for helping develop the next generation of thinkers and doers.”

Attendees filled the atrium of the Sandra C. Davis and William C. Davis College of Business and Economics, which bears the name of two dedicated and generous supporters of Radford University. Together, they gifted $8 million to the University, the largest donation from an individual in Radford’s history.

Guests included supporters who have given $1,000 or more during this or the last fiscal year and lifetime donors of $25,000 or more. Members of the Society of 1910 were also in attendance, which is an exclusive group of alumni and friends who have included Radford University in their estate plans.

“I was a first-generation college student. My parents had three of us in college at one time, so I put myself through school,” said Nancy Artis ’73, who is now the Radford University Foundation Board of Directors Chair. “I know the benefit and the value of hard work and being able to get scholarships, so that I could continue my education.”

In 2017, Artis, along with her husband H. Pat Artis, Ph.D., contributed $5 million to Radford University to establish the Artis Endowed Scholarship Fund. The University named the Artis College of Science and Technology in their honor.

Artis told guests that over the last year, the Foundation has awarded $1.6 million to fund 600 scholarships.

“We, at the Radford Foundation, see you as our Highlander heroes,” Artis said. “Together, our support for the University yields rewards beyond measure.”

The generosity of supporters who attended the Celebration of Giving is critical in transforming Radford University into a center of education and research both within the Commonwealth of Virginia and internationally. Jessie Quesenberry ’19 from Floyd, Virginia is a current student pursuing a management degree in the Davis College of Business and Economics.  Through donor support, she has received financial assistance in the form of scholarships, thereby igniting her career dreams at Radford University.

Quesenberry was named the Davis College Outstanding Student for the Spring 2019 semester. “I got to take the time and energy I could have spent worrying about school and how to pay for it and instead I got to spend that same time and energy focusing on my academics,” said Quesenberry.

The deep gratitude and sincere acknowledgement of generosity was bittersweet for one attendee who is honoring her son’s life and fostering academic excellence through a scholarship established in his name.

“It became my goal to keep Paul alive and donate to this University,” said Anita Williams who established the Paul Hershey Memorial Scholarship, named after her son, who served as the assistant director for communication in Radford Athletics. He passed away in 2017 from injuries received in a car wreck. “Paul’s family is not from Radford. We were blown away by the love and support.”

The Paul Hershey Memorial Scholarship is one of many that allows the Radford University Foundation to provide more than $1.6 million each year in student scholarships.

“It really makes you feel part of the community. It feels like I never left,” Pete Campbell ’92 said. He helped start The Honor Fund, which recognizes graduate students who are succeeding in the military or as first responders.

The Celebration of Giving provides an annual opportunity for many dedicated supporters to reconnect, share why they give and reflect on the impact of their critical contributions.

Apr 12, 2019
Justin Ward