Radford University, BB&T establish leadership development program

Radford University, BB&T establish leadership development program

Through the generous support of BB&T, Radford University has created a leadership development program designed to expand opportunities for students and assist faculty in building expertise and knowledge in ethical and social leadership.

The newly-established BB&T Leadership Development Program will provide Radford students and faculty with unique opportunities to engage with BB&T leadership and the surrounding business community through seminars, lectures and community forums, as well as the BB&T Leadership Institute located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Radford University has a long-standing partnership with BB&T through which the BB&T Charitable Foundation has provided monetary support to host numerous distinguished speakers and bring financial insight to students, faculty and business leaders from across the region for more than a decade. This enhanced partnership will allow BB&T and Radford University to engage the Davis College of Business and Economics locally, regionally and nationally with young minds entering the business community as socially responsible, ethical leaders.

“BB&T is committed to supporting the communities and our mission is to make the world a better place to live,” said Ray Vaughn, BB&T regional corporate banker. “We believe one of the best ways to improve our communities is through stronger leaders in all facets of society. We are delighted to support Radford University and applaud their efforts in leadership development.”

Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. said, “The Radford family is forever grateful to BB&T for creating limitless opportunities for current and future generations of Highlanders. BB&T has been a true champion of providing engaging and inspiring opportunities for our campus and our community. Our long-standing partnership is taking a significant step forward with the funding and implementation of the BB&T Leadership Development Program. Without question, BB&T is making a difference at Radford University, especially in the lives of our students.”


Danylle Kunkel, Ph.D., associate professor of management in the Davis College of Business and Economics, was selected to lead the program. Throughout her nine years at Radford University, Kunkel has developed more than eight courses that incorporate ethics and social leadership components. Her research interests are centered on social issues and sustainable benefit corporations. Kunkel has taught social entrepreneurship and leadership development at Radford and two other universities at the undergraduate, graduate and executive education levels.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the University and our students,” Kunkel said. “Having the partnership with BB&T acknowledges the importance of building a community of students and leaders, who can share their ideas of ethical and social leadership.”

"Dr. Kunkel is highly deserving of this position based on her prior research in the areas of leadership and ethics – the two primary pillars of the BB&T Leadership Development Program,” Davis College of Business and Economics Dean Joy Bhadury, Ph.D. said. “This is further reflected in all aspects of her academic career, including her unique approach to teaching social entrepreneurship, which undergirds these two pillars of the program.”

The leadership program began with the fall 2019 semester.  As part of the program, Kunkel will develop opportunities to assist students in job preparedness and placement. She will oversee the selection of up to 30 students to participate in the program. These students will receive emerging leaders certification upon completion of the program, enhancing their workplace marketability. She will also aid existing faculty with ethical and social leadership advances, while conducting high-impact research in those areas. Radford University faculty will have an opportunity to apply for course development grants to be provided by BB&T and utilized for generating course content aimed at ethical and social leadership. Kunkel will also oversee this grant process.

Another component of the Leadership Development Program is the JumpStart Conference, hosted by Radford University’s Center for Career and Talent Development and BB&T. In March, more than 120 students attended the annual conference, which is designed to help students discover career interest, develop skills and network with industry professionals.

Additional initiatives within the Leadership Development Program will include engaging community members on strategies by focusing on business ethics and social leadership within local industry. This, in coordination with the Davis College and BB&T executives, will include an annual conference on the Radford University campus. It will address business, ethics and other workplace challenges with faculty and regional business leaders in attendance.

“My firm belief is that if we can engage just one student or community leader with the ideas of social and ethical leadership, we can change the trajectory of a community,” Kunkel said. “As we have all experienced, it takes just one engaging moment to spark a flame within a student, who then goes on to do what they never thought was possible.”

Oct 28, 2019
Ashley Schumaker