Alumni praise growth, new student experiences during Richmond Highlander Family Tour

Radford University alumni pose for a photo during the Richmond event.

Near record high temperatures in Richmond, Virginia did not stop dozens of Radford University alumni and friends from reconnecting inside the cool Willow Oaks Country Club. The comfortable space provided picturesque views of the premier golf course as part of the seventh stop of the Highlander Family Tour.

Alumni from across several decades found common ground on their similar experiences as students at Radford University. Class of 2013 graduate Landon Hinton treasures these connections.

“It’s so valuable to have these contacts.” Hinton said. “When I walk into a room now, I can almost tell exactly who went to Radford, because they’re cheerful, energetic, willing to help and excited.”

“The people are what makes that place special.”

In a room full of those very people, Hinton took pride in the future of his alma mater. Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., who was joined by First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D., briefed the crowd on exciting and unparalleled ventures students will soon experience.

Radford University Carilion, the newest addition to the Radford family, led the conversations as alumni learned how two entities merged and created the second largest health science and nursing programs in Virginia. The new premier educational experience adds more than 1,000 students to the University’s enrollment.

“Continued growth and development for our University is something that excites me and is something I can’t wait to tell everyone about,” said Brandon Jackson ’10.

His enthusiasm was shared by Jeff Mays ’90. “The future is only getting brighter for Radford, for everything that is happening. The growth, the connections, the buildings, everything is first class.”


All Highlander alumni, family and friends in attendance inside the Willow Oaks Country Club in Richmond, Virginia.

Radford University’s investment into expanding its award-winning Cybersecurity program is what makes Stephanie Winebrenner most excited about the future of her alma mater.

“I think it’s a huge opportunity in the southwest corridor of the state and in general as students are starting to come out of college,” said Winebrenner, who works in the technology industry and obtained her job through Radford University connections. “It’s high demand, there’s a huge gap in Cybersecurity jobs and people being able to fill those jobs.”

The University’s ever evolving programs for people with unique backgrounds help them fulfill dreams they may have never thought they could. Paula Squires ’76 was a first-generation student and found her true potential that boosted her into a successful journalism career.

“Radford fills a unique niche in the state of Virginia as being a place where first-generation college students can go and feel welcomed and realize their potential,” Squires said. She and other alumni praised the University’s forward-thinking leadership for their commitment to positioning students for careers of the future.

To reach those dream careers and position students for in-demand jobs, Kevin Mullaney ’06 said networking with fellow Highlanders helps.

“Radford University does a great job as far as alumni is concerned in helping out their fellow alumni,” Mullaney said. “If someone is looking for an introduction or if someone is looking to get to somewhere where you may have been, Radford alumni are more than willing to accommodate.”

An entrepreneur in web security received the Spirit of the Tartan Award during the event. Matt Donlon ’82 is deserving of the honor after working in high-profile organizations like the CIA, NASA and the Department of the Navy to name a few. The award is given to an individual or couple, who invest passion and contribute dedication into their community and alma mater.

The Highlander Family Tour connects alumni and friends throughout the southeastern and mid-Atlantic region of the United State by holding events in eight locations from Northern Virginia to Atlanta, Georgia.

Jul 31, 2019
Justin Ward