Celebrating Radford University Carilion Day
Roanoke Mayor Sherman P. Lea and Vice Mayor Joe Cobb proclaimed Friday, Aug. 23 as Radford University Carilion (RUC) Day in Roanoke during an event held on the RUC campus. Business leaders, elected officials and other special guests gathered to celebrate the new educational entity by hearing the reading of the proclamation and enjoying time together.
The proclamation recognized the merger of Jefferson College of Health Sciences (JCHS) into the Radford University family of colleges and departments, as well as the impending first semester on the Roanoke site.
“This is another great day for the city of Roanoke,” Mayor Lea said. “Using the new name Radford University Carilion, this school is part of the expanding healthcare campus that includes the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. We’re hopeful that this merger will strengthen the draw to Roanoke’s Innovation Corridor, bringing in top neuroscience and biomedical researchers, tech entrepreneurs, physicians and medical students from across the world. That’s exciting.”
The event began with remarks from Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., who thanked leadership from Radford University and Carilion Clinic for their dedication during the merger planning.
“Today, we are making history,” Hemphill said. “Today is the beginning of many firsts. The first RUC Highlanders are meeting their fellow classmates as we speak. On Monday, we will have the first classes at RUC. In December, we will celebrate Commencement with our first group of RUC graduates. Although these are important milestones, this partnership has been nearly three decades in the making. Over the years, we have partnered on academic programs, clinical experiences and shared space. And, most recently, after 18 months of collaboration, we charted a successful course for this merger.”
Hemphill also spoke to the position of strength that all of the entities involved brought to the merger. “What excites me most about this partnership are three simple things,” Hemphill said. “Radford is responsive; Carilion is caring; and together, we are very much forward-focused.”
Hemphill concluded his remarks with a look to the future and the exciting opportunities the new partnership will bring.
“At RUC, we are driven,” Hemphill said. “Driven by quality education and a commitment to serve. We look forward to partnering with every one of you and so many others on this amazing journey. Thank you, God bless each of you, and go Highlanders!”
Jeanne Armentrout, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Carilion Clinic, spoke about the rich history shared by Radford and Carilion.
“We are celebrating a new chapter of health sciences education in Roanoke and Virginia’s Blue Ridge,” Armentrout said. “This merger combines two of my passions: healthcare and education. And, it combines two organizations that are stronger together. Carilion and Radford have been working together since the 1980s. Partnerships like this one don’t just happen. They are the result of hard work, trust, respect, innovation and vision. And they thrive because the partners believe they can accomplish more together.”
Armentrout also highlighted the continued commitment to quality education that students will experience when they attend RUC.
“When classes start at RUC, students will be attending one of the largest health sciences schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Armentrout said. “However, being bigger is not always the most important. What’s really important is quality. For students, quality means being taught and mentored by the best — both in the classroom and at the bedside.”
Armentrout concluded by turning her attention to the future and the promise of what RUC could mean to the community in which it is located.
“Being the best isn’t a destination, it’s a journey,” she said. “Here in the Roanoke Innovation Corridor, combining a world-class university with a world-class health system is good for Roanoke and is good for our region. This partnership is another beginning to an exciting journey in which we will continue to strive for excellence and ensure a bright future for generations to come.”
The ceremony also served as an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by leadership at Jefferson College of Health Sciences, including President Emeritus Nathaniel L. Bishop, D.Min. Bishop said that the focus is now on the future as RUC begins its first semester.
“I like that the words ‘caring’ and ‘responsive’ are coming together as part of this merger,” Bishop said. “I, for one, can’t wait to see what RUC will continue to do as it bears fruit. This is merely the beginning.”
Mayor Lea then stepped forward to present Bishop with the key to the City of Roanoke in appreciation for his efforts to promote the Star City and his work to make the RUC merger a success.
Mayor Lea then introduced Vice Mayor Cobb to read the Proclamation for Radford University Carilion Day.
The proclamation, ultimately establishing August 23 as Radford University Carilion Day, is as follows:
WHEREAS, Carilion Clinic, Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Radford University announced on January 18, 2018 their intent to merge Jefferson College of Health Sciences into the Radford University family of colleges and departments;
WHEREAS, Carilion Clinic originated in the City of Roanoke with Roanoke Memorial Hospital in 1899, and Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Radford University transitioned the Roanoke Memorial School of Nursing to Radford University in 1988, the University's original presence in the city;
WHEREAS, in 2015, Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Radford University established the Virginia Intercollegiate Anatomy Lab at Jefferson College;
WHEREAS, Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Radford University approached the 2019 merger from positions of institutional excellence and financial strength with the aim being to combine forces to enhance the quality of health care education and research and to provide students invaluable access to real-world clinical experiences in Carilion Clinic's hospitals and patient treatment locations;
WHEREAS, over 30 years of collaborative efforts have helped Carilion establish its reputation for developing ethical, knowledgeable, competent, and compassionate healthcare professionals, strengthening Virginia's Blue Ridge region as a destination for health education and research and driving economic development;
WHEREAS, Radford University's expanded presence in Roanoke will benefit the students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, local communities, the Commonwealth of Virginia and Virginia's Blue Ridge Region; and
WHEREAS, Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Radford University formally united on July 10, 2019 as Radford University Carilion (RUC), solidifying the new institution as a premier educational location for future health care professionals and nurses.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sherman P. Lea, Sr., Mayor of the City of Roanoke, Virginia, do hereby proclaim Friday, August 23 throughout this great, seven-time All-America City as Radford University Carilion Day.
Given under our hands and the Seal of the City of Roanoke this twenty-third day of August in the year two thousand and nineteen.
After the reading of the proclamation concluded, guests were invited to spend time together at a reception to celebrate the work accomplished to date, which made Radford University Carilion reality, and the bright future that lies ahead for the students, faculty, staff and supporters of RUC.