A celebration of merger success
A day of celebration marked the inaugural semester at Radford University Carilion.
August 23, 2019 began with New Student Convocation for the inaugural class of Highlanders at Radford University Carilion. This landmark day was made increasingly special by a proclamation from the City of Roanoke, including Mayor Sherman P. Lea, Sr. and Vice Mayor Joe Cobb, declaring August 23 as Radford University Carilion Day within the Star City. Business leaders, elected officials and other special guests gathered to hear the reading of the proclamation and enjoy time together.
To complete the celebratory events, Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., and First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D., hosted a cookout at the Governor Tyler House to commend the merger planning team members who tirelessly made the merger a reality. It also proved to be an opportunity for new members of the Radford family to gather and enjoy a meal with colleagues from the main campus.
Many late nights and long hours were required of everyone who served on the merger teams that made Radford University Carilion a reality.
“Thank you for all the work you did,” President Hemphill said. “This is a great moment to celebrate the merger. It was a great culminating moment this morning when we were able to come together and welcome students to the Highlander family. It is truly a great day today.”
The bold initiative of merging Jefferson College of Health Sciences into the Radford University family began in January of 2018, with a joint announcement by Carilion Clinic, Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Radford University. Over the proceeding 18 months, more than 100 faculty and staff from both institutions, as well as Carilion Clinic, worked on a variety of groups to determine how to successfully merge the two educational entities. The merger was complete on July 10, 2019 and Radford University Carilion welcomed the first students on August 23, 2019.
When asked the best part of working on the merger, the response was unanimous: getting to know the new members of the Radford family and serving students.
“What a pleasure it is to bring about the culmination of the last 18 months to bring us to where we are today with having the convocation of students this morning. That’s what it is all about. It all lands with the students,” said Glenn Mayhew D.H.Sc., associate dean of Waldron College of Health and Human Services. “Every single person stepped up to the job.”
And, step up they did. The work that each team member put in earned recognition from the General Assembly, as the merger earned unanimous support in both the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia State Senate. That support came to a head when the merger earned State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, or SCHEV, approval on June 10, officially paving the way for the completion of the bold initiative.
Family was a defining aspect of the culture of both institutions during the merger and was embraced among the three entities and all team members involved in the merger. This enabled a tight focus on positive student outcomes from the creation of Radford University Carilion.
“There’s no better feeling than being able to see those students be successful,” Mayhew said.
During the merger process, members of both institutions worked closely and collaboratively to achieve optimal outcomes.
“The best part was meeting and getting to know the people,” Stephanie Jennelle, associate vice president of Finance and University Controller said. “I feel like I have gotten to know the new faculty very well.”
Susan Schoppelrey, Ph.D., associate director of the School of Social Work, said that “Getting to know new colleagues at Radford University Carilion was a great part of the merger.”
The merger also expands opportunities for students at Radford University and Radford University Carilion. “Carilion brought to the table excellent hands-on programs, which is great for education,” Schoppelrey said.
Corey Cassidy, Ph.D., is the associate dean for the Waldron College of Health and Human Services and served on the Academic Programs and Accreditation Subcommittee for the merger.
“The merger brings endless opportunities for both the students and the faculty at Radford University and Radford University Carilion. The merger is opening new doors for our students,” Cassidy said. “As a group, we were able to learn from each other and grow together as we tackled the challenge of merging a public and a private institution.”
Now, united under one banner, the Radford family will work together in a caring, forward-focused and responsive manner to serve and expand the opportunities for students at both the main campus and Radford University Carilion.