Radford University welcomes Governor’s School and elite students

The pride of Virginia’s youth convened on June 23, 2019 at Radford University for the Summer Residential Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts and Humanities.

The select group of almost 400 high school students from Virginia’s 90 school districts are immersing themselves in their chosen fields and experience college in the four-week curriculum that brings them together for cross-disciplinary classes and activities. The arts and humanities students were selected through a series of auditions and adjudications. 

“You are the top high school students in Virginia. You get to be who you are and you are in a place where you can develop who you are,” said Professor of Music R. Wayne Gallops, Ph.D., in his welcoming remarks.  Gallops noted that 240 arts students were selected for the 2019 Governor’s School from almost 1,000 auditions in January.



Members of the 2019 Summer Residential Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts and Humanities enjoy a light moment during the opening ceremonies.

Gallops serves as the director of the school that is a collaborative effort between the Virginia Department of Education and Radford University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) and College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences (CHBS). Assistant Professor of English Amy Rubens, Ph.D., is the assistant director for curriculum and CVPA Communications Officer Jason Hutchens, Ed.D., is assistant director for registration.

The 2019 Governor's School, themed “Being Counted,” opened with a ceremony in Bondurant Auditorium during which the students met faculty, counselors and one another.

Jack Osborne, a senior from Loudoun County, Virginia; Aru Mokkapatti, a senior from Fairfax, Virginia; and Cassady Marion, a senior from Floyd, Virginia, were among those who were getting to know their new colleagues at the opening ceremony. They shared their aspirations.

“I want to expand my musical knowledge,” said Osborne, a classical guitarist. “And I look forward to getting out of my school and meeting new people.”

Mokkapitti, a dancer whose audition of classic Indian dance earned her an invitation to the camp, said, “I want to learn more of the different styles of dance. There are so many and I am excited about the chance to try them.”

Marion will experience the humanities side of the school’s programming, while Mokkapatti and Osborne will be focused on the performing arts component. 

“I want to talk to more people about more books,” said Marion. “I want to talk politics and philosophy and hear from others about what they read and think.”

Students in the visual and performing arts programs are taking courses in dance, instrumental music, vocal music, theatre and visual arts. Humanities students are exploring history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, political science, economics, sociology, psychology and media. In the process, the students will experience the aspects of college life – residence halls, classroom and laboratory work, field studies, research, individual and group projects, performances and seminars and presentations with noted scholars, visiting artists and other professionals.

A 65-member faculty at Radford and visiting teachers will have joined with 24 counselors to make the experience rich and varied. 

“This is the wave of the future,” said Interim CHBS Dean Matthew Smith, Ph.D., “These kids definitely think outside of the box and by collaborating to reach them, we are stepping beyond our own boundaries.”

Gallops reflected on the organizational and logistical effort that culminated with the school’s opening ceremony.

“In essence, we are inventing a college each year,” Gallops said. “Bringing together these wonderful students with nationally and internationally renowned experts in multiple arts and humanities fields creates a very special opportunity and dynamic on the Radford campus,” Gallops said.

The 2019 Governor’s School, the eighth consecutive to be held at Radford, will feature special guests from around the country:

  • Maestro David Stewart Wiley, Roanoke Symphony conductor;
  • Nikki Giovanni, poet, author and University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech;
  • Anthony Robles, a three-time wrestling All-American and the 2011 NCAA Division I National Champion. Robles, who was born with one leg, will recount his efforts to succeed that he wrote about in “Unstoppable: From Underdog to Undefeated;” and
  • Michael Kent, a magician who has earned entertainer-of-the-year and magician-of-the-year honors for his performances at over 500 colleges, corporate events, cruise ships and military bases.

The 2019 Governor’s School will conclude with a series of academic showcases and performances July 12-13 for colleagues, family and friends.

Gallops shared the school's theme with a performance of a song called “Just One Voice.” His solo became a group performance by the assembly.

“During this school, you will learn how to use your voice to make a difference in the world. That’s being counted,” Gallops said.

Through the Governor’s School, the recently completed Boys State Session, during which Radford welcomed more than 700 exemplary high school students from across the Commonwealth and other initiatives by the University and its seven colleges,  Radford University is fulfilling its core mission of “Student Empowerment and Success” by engaging students in the discovery and pursuit of their unique paths toward success and contribution to their communities across Virginia and beyond.

Jun 28, 2019
Don Bowman