Blue Healer and Radford Highlander pride on display during final JCHS annual alumni awards luncheon

JCHS alumni awards
At its annual alumni awards luncheon, JCHS presented awards to individuals who have received local, regional, statewide or national prominence in their field or through their service activities.

On May 23, 2019, Jefferson College of Health Sciences (JCHS) celebrated its fifth annual alumni awards luncheon. This annual event celebrates the successes of JCHS alumni and the legacy that JCHS has built. Approximately 125 JCHS alumni, faculty and staff attended and were joined by members of the Radford University family.

The keynote speaker of the event was Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. Referencing the merger of JCHS into Radford University, he said, “Our road to today has been quite a journey that we have taken together. A journey that will improve healthcare in our region, in our Commonwealth and in our country by creating the second largest nursing program in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

As part of President Hemphill’s address, he praised the extraordinary efforts of JCHS President Nathaniel L. Bishop, D.Min for his leadership, support and service. It was noted that President Bishop skillfully led JCHS for nearly a decade and his tenure was marked with enrollment increasing significantly; students’ lives being changed; and new academic programs being established. Furthermore, it was noted that President Bishop’s legacy is evident in the purpose, the programs and the people of JCHS. As such, President Hemphill formally bestowed upon President Bishop the Presidential Medallion for Leadership and Service for his exemplary leadership of and dedicated service to the New River and Roanoke Valleys and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

During the event, President Hemphill announced the establishment of The Jefferson Circle, which will be a part of the Radford University Alumni Association. “It is our way to signify and keep the Jefferson experience going, that same experience that brought each of you here today,” he said.  

“It is exciting to see Radford University here today to help us celebrate,” said Lori Viar, a member of the JCHS Board of Directors. “There is a real feeling of anticipation, of what is next. Everything is going to be amazing.”

“Today is a day for celebrating our alumni and their achievements,” said Mandy Allen, president of the JCHS Alumni Association. “It is a little bittersweet, but also very exciting to see what is next.”

JCHS President Nathaniel L. Bishop, D.Min. (left) with Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.

The most prestigious award given is the Distinguished Alumni Award. The recipients of this award are alumni who have received local, regional, statewide or national prominence in their field or through their service activities. The 2019 recipients were:

  • Sarah C. Schmidt, PTA ‘98
  • Leah Sowers, OTA ‘02
  • Marie S. English, BSPA ‘05
  • Shannon Honaker, OT ‘06
  • Carl T. Cline, MSN ‘10

The Recent Alumni Achievement Award honors an alumnus who, at the early onset of his or her career, has already distinguished themselves. It is given to an alumnus who graduated within the last 10 years and has already demonstrated great achievement with the promise of more to come. The 2019 recipients were:             

  • Aaron M.H. Boush, MHA ‘14
  • Mia A. McDonald, MSPA ‘17
  • Claudia B. Newton, MSN ‘18

The Legacy Award is symbolic of the history of JCHS and represents historical excellence, while also looking toward future greatness. The recipient of the 2019 Legacy Award was Rebecca Duff, DHSc ’18.

These award recipients embody the strength of the JCHS educational experience that students have come to expect and value and will continue to experience as the completion of the merger of JCHS and Radford University draws near.

In April 2019, Carilion Clinic, JCHS and Radford University announced that, upon securing regional accreditor approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the merged entity will be known as Radford University Carilion. As a result of the diligent efforts of so many, the completion of the merger is anticipated for July 2019, and the first class of RUC Highlanders will enroll for the Fall 2019 semester.


May 30, 2019
Sherry Wallace