Alumni share school pride during Highlander Family Tour in Raleigh

President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. addresses the crowd during the Highlander Family Tour stop in Raleigh.

When Stephanie Proesel walked onto Radford University’s campus as a prospective student, she knew she was home. Proesel was looking for a personal experience, one that could be her very own.

“I knew all of my professors; my professors knew me. They really excited me about learning,” said Proesel ‘97, who is now the director of learning and development for the neurosciences business unit at Merz North America in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“I think it’s really special to be part of the Radford family. Every time I get to mention where I went to school, I’m so proud to say I went to Radford because all of the great people who are there.”

On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, Proesel, alongside several dozen of her extended Radford family, met for a family reunion, of sorts, during the second stop of the Highlander Family Tour. The tour brings the Highlander spirit to alumni, friends, and supporters in eight cities from Atlanta to Northern Virginia. On this evening, the event was hosted at the City Club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.

President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. was joined by his wife First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D. and highlighted Radford’s vision to be an innovative, premier, student-centered university in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“We understand the academic work that we do is amazing, and it helps students,” said President Hemphill, noting the determination students have to succeed both on and off campus through experiences provided by Radford University and the greater community. “We have to expose them to experiences beyond the campus. Those leadership opportunities are very beneficial.”


Radford University alumni, friends and supporters at the City Club in Raleigh, North Carolina.

President Hemphill highlighted new programs and degrees that align with the Radford University 2018-2023 Strategic Plan: Embracing the Tradition and Envisioning the Future and emphasized the University’s long-standing mission of teaching, research and service.

President Hemphill also shared updates on the new Innovative Mobile Personalized Accelerated Competence Training, or IMPACT, program, which started in the fall of 2017 and now has about 700 students enrolled.

Mark Peterson ’12 works for a software company near Raleigh and says he is most excited about the growth of the University after listening to President Hemphill.

“He’s already accomplished so much, and he’s eager to do more and more and just that alone, someone who wants to grow the university more, is super special to me,” Peterson said. He credits Radford University for his personal success as a former professional baseball player.

I’m so proud to say I went to Radford because all of the great people who are there.”

Stephanie Proesel '97

“Radford helped me get there because it taught me resiliency and putting in that extra effort and not giving up,” Peterson said.

Jim Bove ’96 understands going the extra mile to become successful. He attended the Highlander Family Tour event and shared with others about his time at Radford. He joined organizations and worked in student media to gain experience and stand out among other applicants when he applied for jobs.

“It’s paid off 10-fold for me professionally and personally. I keep in touch with a great deal of people I went to school with,” Bove said. “It propelled me into my professional career. I give Radford all the credit for getting me there.”

During the event, Matthew Crisp ’04, co-founder, president and CEO of Benson Hill Biosystems, a St. Louis, Missouri based agriculture technology company, and his wife Kelly Snead Crisp ’04, both steadfast supporters of Radford University, were presented with The Spirit of the Tartan Award. This new honor is designed to recognize a Radford University alumnus or friend, who consistently demonstrates a desire to positively impact Radford University and his or her community.

When Penelope Gardner ’75 thinks of the future and reflects on the vision of Radford University shared at the Highlander Family Tour, being part of the change moving forward most excites her. She created the Harold and Vera Gardner Family Scholarship in Education Fund at Radford University, in honor of her parents. Gardner is also a member of the Society of 1910, which is an exclusive group of alumni and friends who have included Radford University in their estate plans.

“I feel part of that future,” Gardner said. “It’s special to share the history that we have from the University and see it grow to what it is today and the kinds of students that are graduating from there I’m very proud of the school."

Apr 15, 2019
Justin Ward