Fall Convocation sparks excitement for 2019-20 academic year

Johnny Cake and the Lunch Truck band perform at Fall Convocation in Bondurant Auditorium.

The talent and dedication of Radford University’s faculty and staff were on full display at the 2019 Fall Convocation.

The annual event, a longstanding tradition of the University, marks the beginning of the fall semester and celebrates the continued success, unwavering commitment and hard work of all campus colleagues.

The faculty-staff band, Johnny Cake and the Lunch Truck, kicked off the Aug. 22 event on the stage of Bondurant Auditorium with lively bluegrass tunes. The six-man, 100% Highlander band features Aaron Spelbring, Bud Bennett and Anthony Kaseoru from McConnell Library; Jeff Aspelmeier, Ph.D., and Jeff Willner from the Department of Psychology; and Tom Snediker from the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning.

Convocation attendees included President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D., members of the Leadership Council, members of the Academic Affairs Leadership Team, Radford University Foundation CEO John Cox, Faculty Senate President Jake Fox, Administrative and Professional Faculty Senate President Ashlee Claud, Staff Senate President Kristina Contreras and Radford University Carilion faculty and staff. Special guests also included Radford City Manager David Ridpath and Radford City Mayor and Assistant to the Dean of the Artis College of Science and Technology David Horton.

President Hemphill addressed all attendees and welcomed them to the start of another exciting and rewarding academic year.

“In recent years, excellence, accountability, transparency and student-centeredness have defined the Radford family and our daily work,” Hemphill said. “At the same time, we have honored our many traditions and embraced innovative approaches.”

During the last academic year, the University received approval for new degree programs in sports management, allied health sciences, cybersecurity and a new Doctor of Education degree. The University also entered into new partnerships with entities, such as Emory & Henry College and New River Community College.

“We are so proud of all of your work,” Hemphill said. “We had a number of accomplishments over the process of this year. In the coming year, I pledge to continue my commitment to the shared governance model and regularly engaging with the entire Radford family.”

President Hemphill also highlighted the upcoming Highlander Discovery Institute inaugural event, scheduled for Sept. 19. This event will feature lively and engaging dialogue surrounding politics and society in today’s modern times with special guests Katie Couric, Donna Brazile and Ana Navarro.

The purpose of the event, explained Hemphill, “is to really show each of our students that you can have different political views and you can have meaningful conversation and dialogue in a respectful manner.”


Winners of the Radford University Foundation Faculty Awards

A highlight each year at Convocation is the presentation of the Radford University Foundation Faculty Awards. In the past 42 years, 145 individuals have been recognized, and more than $165,000 has been invested in the University’s future through scholarships. Nominations for these annual awards are made by members of the Radford University community, and the award recipients are recommended to the President by the Faculty Awards Committee.

The most prestigious award bestowed to a deserving faculty member is The Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor Award. It is named in honor of the University’s fourth president. Nominees must have an outstanding record of teaching at Radford University, be professionally active in their discipline and be recognized by colleagues and students as thoroughly knowledgeable in the subject matter and current scholarship of their teaching discipline.

This year’s winner is Associate Professor of Biochemistry Kim Lane, Ph.D.

Additional faculty award winners are:

  • Anna Lee Stewart Award for Contributions to Faculty Development was provided to Connie Leathers, information technology support specialist and trainer in the Division of Information Technology. This award recognizes faculty and staff who have contributed substantially to the professional development of their colleagues and in exceptional ways to the University’s teaching and learning environment.
  • The Award for Administrative and Professional Excellence was provided to Corey Cassidy, Ph.D., associate dean in the Waldron College of Health and Human Services and professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The award recognizes those who have a record of distinguished leadership and/or superior service in his or her area of professional activity within the University.
  • The Distinguished Faculty Advising Award was provided to Darryl Corey, Ph.D., associate professor of Mathematics Education. The award recognizes teaching faculty who demonstrate excellence in the important responsibility of academic advising.

Following the awards presentation, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kenna Colley, Ed.D., shared a few highlights for the upcoming 2019-20 academic year.

The Radford University Carilion merger was successfully completed on July 10. The merger, Colley said, is just the beginning. Students and faculty will now live and learn at two distinct locations. Faculty, staff and administration will become one and Radford University will expand and strengthen through new opportunities.

Hundreds of students utilized the services provided by the Harvey Knowledge Center in McConnell Library, which opened in fall 2018. The center, under the leadership of Jessie Beckett, Ph.D., is staffed with undergraduate and graduate students who serve as academic coaches.

Planning for the new Radford University Venture Lab has been underway for the past year. As part of the University’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, “Embracing the Tradition and Envisioning the Future,” the Venture Lab will not only work as an incubator for campus-wide start-ups, it will also allow faculty to embed entrepreneurship into their curriculum and coursework. The lab, to be located on the lower level of the College of Business and Economics, will welcome students from all disciplines, as well as faculty and staff in active engagement in the creation of new enterprises.

Heather Keith, Ph.D., began as the new executive director of faculty development in the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) this July. Under her leadership, CITL will continue to provide strong programming, as well as expand the University’s efforts to align with the strategic plan.

The Military Resource Center moved into a newly renovated space in Russell Hall and provides student veterans with easy access to Admissions, the Office of the Registrar, Career and Talent Development and other university offices.

Colley recognized the 2018-19 Dalton Eminent Scholar Awardees and announced a second round of awards for 2019-20. Applications are due by Sept. 30, and selection decisions will be communicated Nov. 1.

In closing, Colley looked forward to another stimulating and productive academic year.

“We look forward to working together to serve our students and advance Radford University,” Colley concluded.

Following the event, President and First Lady Hemphill hosted a special reception for faculty and staff in the Joseph P. Scartelli Atrium in the Covington Center.

Aug 29, 2019
Mary Hardbarger
(540) 831-5150