A Spotlight on Alumni impact during Highlander Family Tour in Roanoke

Radford University family and friends had a picturesque and panoramic view of Roanoke, Virginia from The Penthouse at Center in the Square during the fifth Highlander Family Tour event held on June 11, 2019.

From that downtown vantage point in the Star City, dozens of alumni and supporters networked and shared their Highlander experience, including David Smith ’85, M.S. ’87, who was recently appointed to serve on the Radford University Board of Visitors (BOV).

“We have the best President you can imagine. What a godsend,” Smith said. “The upward mobility under his leadership is amazing. His energy and passion are something we can be behind.”

Radford University family and friends had a bird’s-eye view of Roanoke, Va. from The Penthouse at Center in the Square during the fifth Highlander Family Tour event June 11, 2019. Alumni and supporters met with President Hemphill who spoke about an exciting new era for Radford University.

Smith currently serves as a Territory Sales Manager with Altria Group Distribution Company and attributes his success to the knowledge and skills learned, while he was at Radford University.

“I had a firm commitment to get into the broadcasting field, so I was a communication major and that helped sell me on the school. But more importantly than that, the size of the school and the ability for the community to be a part of the University, and the people,” Smith said.

Smith met his wife, Pebbles Smith ’85 their first day on campus. They remember the rooms in Muse Hall they were living in when they met.

“132-C,” David Smith said with a smile, “and 410-B, we remember,” said Pebbles Smith.

“You can play basketball, you can go to school, and have a relationship that’s lasted for 32 years,” Pebbles Smith said. “I’m very proud to say thank you Radford University, I met the love of my life.”

Radford University’s President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., welcomed Smith to the BOV and shared various updates with the Highlanders in attendance.

“There are so many things happening on campus,” said Mark Lawrence, rector of the BOV, who was recently reappointed to the board. Lawrence, of Roanoke, serves as the Vice President of Government and External Affairs for Carilion Clinic.

“The real joy for me is the interaction with the students. There are thousands of snapshots that just reinforce what the student experience is at Radford University,” said Lawrence, referencing a student profile video of Abby Bailey ’19, which was shared during the Highlander Family Tour stop in Roanoke. “But more importantly, what their impact on the world is going to be once they leave our campus.”

Abby Bailey '19

Nancy Manning ’65 spent 34 years impacting the lives of children in Virginia. She was the first in her family to go to college where she earned a degree to become a teacher.

“I got the most wonderful education in elementary education. We studied all subjects and were prepared to teach all levels of elementary school,” Manning said. While networking at the event, she made sure to tell fellow alumni, “I had a wonderful experience in elementary education thanks to Radford.”

A familiar face and tireless supporter of Radford University was awarded the Spirit of the Tartan Award. Nancy Artis ’73, received the recognition for her service and contributions to the University. She, along with her husband Pat Artis, Ph.D., share the honor of being namesakes of the Artis College of Science and Technology. The couple contributed $5 million to Radford University to establish the Artis Endowed Scholarship Fund.

President Hemphill and First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D., are making it a priority to connect with as many members of the Radford family as possible. The Roanoke Highlander Family Tour event is one of eight stops from Atlanta, Georgia to Northern Virginia with the goal of reconnecting with alumni and sharing ways in which the University is helping students pursue their passions and achieve their dreams.  

Jun 25, 2019
Justin Ward