Sophomores reflect and celebrate at Halfway There Celebration

President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. presents the Presidential Scholarship to sophomore Alasia Lee.
President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., presents the Presidential Scholarship to sophomore Alasia Lee.

More than 240 sophomore students attended the annual Halfway There Celebration on April 8.

Due to inclement weather, the celebration was moved to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, where students, faculty and staff enjoyed pizza, music and camaraderie as they were encouraged and congratulated by their fellow peers and Radford University administrators.

The Halfway There Celebration was established in 2018 to celebrate sophomore students as they approach the halfway mark to commencement, ignite Highlander pride and recognize achievements.

“This important milestone requires recognition,” Vice President for Student Affairs Susan Trageser told sophomore attendees. “It is symbolic of the hard work and dedication you have invested in your education. You should be very proud of yourself.”

Sophomore students Rianne Clark and Chase Arrington, who sat on the Halfway There Celebration Committee, encouraged their fellow classmates to reflect on their past two years at Radford University and look forward to the exciting two ahead.

“The journey has taken you from Quest, to being on your own for the first time, meeting your new roommate and making new friends,” Arrington said. “We’ve discovered new student organizations to join, attended sporting events and decided on a major. Those are just a few of the new things we have done the last two years and the best is yet to come. I can’t wait to see where our journey continues to take us.”

The Highlander watches and cheers as students toss their coins into the barrel.

The Highlander watches and cheers as students toss their coins into the barrel.

As part of the celebration, each student was given a “challenge coin,” passed along from last year’s sophomore class. The challenge coin was minted in spring 2018 and has become a Highlander tradition. On one side, it displays Radford University’s values: responsibility, excellence and respect.

“Radford is a university that prides itself on community, care for each other and integrity,” Trageser explained to students. “You are here because you embody these values.”

The other side of the coin has the official 1913 seal, The Beehive, representing industry, thrift and wisdom.  It symbolizes many coming together as one for the benefit of the whole.

After the presentation, students were encouraged to toss their coins in the Tartan barrel, which was positioned in the center of the room. These coins will be passed to next year’s sophomore class. Traditionally, the coin is tossed in the campus fountain, but bad weather prevented the event from being outdoors.

Each student was also given a commemorative coin to keep as a reminder of their connection to Radford University and the New River Valley.

“I think it is safe to say that Radford University has established a new tradition,” said Assistant Director of Outdoor Programs Andy Borak, who also served on the Halfway There Celebration Committee. “As these coins start to circulate through the Highlander Family, the connectivity of our network will certainly grow. Thank you to everyone who has embraced this new tradition.”

To cap the sophomore celebration, President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., presented the second annual Presidential Scholarship in the amount of $4,000 to sophomore student Alasia Lee.

May 6, 2019
Mary Hardbarger
(540) 831-5150