Virginia Beach alumni credit Radford University for successes during Highlander Family Tour

Alumni pause for a brief photo with the Highlander in Virginia Beach.

Waves crashing on the beach mixed with hot summer air provided the perfect backdrop and atmosphere in Virginia Beach for Radford University’s Highlander Family Tour. Alumni and friends enjoyed ocean views, while being treated to cool treats and engaging conversations with fellow Highlanders.

This was the sixth stop and the first coastal setting on the tour as it provided alumni with the opportunity to make new connections, spend time with friends and hear the ways in which the University is advancing as a premier institution in Virginia.

For one 1985 graduate in attendance, the tour was a chance to reconnect with his alma mater and reflect on how Radford University helped him succeed.

“Radford gave me the ability to further not only my education but my passion for science and to this day I’m still in love with it,” said Marty Napper, the Vice President for Business Development for HPC Specialty Pharmacy.

His degree positioned him for big accomplishments within the health science field and his time on campus shaped him into the person he is today.

“Radford is a special community, because we’re friends after college. We call each other, and we attend events with each other,” Napper said. “Radford is a special bond for everybody that is there.”

Napper was joined by dozens of other Highlanders who each had the opportunity to personally meet educational leaders including President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., who was joined by First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D.

President Hemphill shared news of new relationships, additional programs and significant growth that encompasses the monumental merger of Jefferson College of Health Sciences into Radford University. The combination resulted in what is now Radford University Carilion (RUC), an educational site in Roanoke, Virginia primarily focused on the delivery of health sciences programming.

Current student Hannah Tuttle and her parents enjoy an evening with alumni, faculty, and staff.

“If we weren’t already the premier health science education entity in the state, we will be,” said Robert “Bob” Archer, the recently appointed Radford University Board of Visitors Rector. He is confident the new entity, that adds about 1,000 students to the University enrollment, will garner a more diverse student population and Highlander pride.

“This is a wonderful time to be associated with the University,” Archer said. “So much has been accomplished since I’ve been on the Board and primarily due to the leadership of President Hemphill, his energy, his vision and his team.”

Hemphill also talked about exciting new roles Radford University will play in the region and state through additional corporate partnerships to reap economic development and enhance workforce opportunities. 

It is these moments of advancement and prosperity that make Peter Campbell ’92 a proud Highlander.

“I’m proud to be a Highlander, because of all the people here, all the people who make up the alumni family, and especially proud of all the students attending the college right now,” said Campbell, who helped start The Honor Fund, which recognizes graduate students, who are succeeding in the military or as first responders.

His well-rounded experience on campus and degree set him apart. “It was an outstanding education and the networking and the people I have met helped me along the way to get me exactly where I am today,” Campbell said.

Campbell’s story of support and success was one of dozens celebrated and shared during the tour that is connecting and reuniting alumni and friends throughout eight stops from Northern Virginia to Atlanta, Georgia.

During each stop, an individual or couple is presented the Spirit of the Tartan Award, an honor given to alumni, who make significant contributions to the University and their communities. Darin and Jennifer Ely received the award in Virginia Beach. The couple met while they were students at Radford University and later established the Virginia Asset Group Scholarship for the Davis College of Business and Economics that financially supports students from the couple’s hometowns.

Jul 31, 2019
Justin Ward