Radford University Alumni Association hosts Roanoke’s Party in Elmwood

Left to right: Ethan Price ‘14 , Dimitra Drivas ‘17 and Sydni Chernault ‘17.
Left to right: Ethan Price ‘14 , Dimitra Drivas ‘17 and Sydni Chernault ‘17.

Music, conversation and great food all aligned at Roanoke’s Party in Elmwood, hosted by Radford University Alumni Association on September 25, 2019.

The venue, Elmwood Park, located in downtown Roanoke, provided a wonderful background and engaging opportunity for Radford University and Jefferson College of Health Sciences alumni, as well as the Roanoke community, to come together for fellowship, friendship and fun. This is the third year the Alumni Association has sponsored one of the weekly parties in Elmwood Park, but the first since the merger of Jefferson College of Health Sciences into the Radford University family of colleges and departments, resulting in establishment of Radford University Carilion (RUC).

“An event like this is important, because it brings alumni out to see that we are very active in the Roanoke area,” said William Anthony West ’11, a Radford alumnus and the president of Radford University Roanoke Alumni Chapter. “We want to use the Party in Elmwood to bring alumni, friends and family together to not only have a good time, but to see that we are doing great things in the Roanoke Valley.”

The Elmwood amphitheater’s cascading grass terraces were filled almost to capacity, as those attending had the chance to hear to the music of The Kings, playing a variety of both classic tunes and contemporary songs throughout the evening. They also enjoyed food from various vendors around the park participated in free dance lessons in front of the stage.

Left to right: Patsy Coulson ’71 and Judy Willis, retired Radford University employee.
Left to right: Patsy Coulson ’71 and Judy Willis, retired Radford University employee.

For many of those attending, however, the opportunity to connect with fellow alumni was the primary draw.

“Since it’s here in Roanoke, we can come by after work, see some friends, listen to music and just have a good time,” said Lillian King ’87, M.S. ’90, a Radford alumna who works at Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism. “Our department has about 15 Radford University alumni working there, and we look forward to events like this.”

“This is my third time coming to Party in Elmwood on Radford’s night,” said Radford alumna Anna Grim ’16, who works with King. “We were talking about it and decided to come together tonight.”

Grim adds that she sees the event as a great atmosphere to socialize with fellow alumni, using the shared experience at Radford as a way to start conversations.

King agreed, saying, “With this facility here in Roanoke, it’s great to have Radford come and have an event for the alumni. The outreach the University is doing in Roanoke and the partnerships that they have, like the one with Carilion, are really encouraging. It’s great to see it all continuing to grow.”

Lillian King ’87, M.S. ’90 (left) and Anna Grim '16 (right).
Lillian King ’87, M.S. ’90 (left) and Anna Grim '16 (right).

The Roanoke Valley Chapter of the Radford University Alumni Association has approximately 9,600 members from Henry, Bedford, Craig, Botetourt, Roanoke and Franklin counties, as well as the cities of Roanoke, Salem, Bedford and Martinsville.

“I’m excited to be here at the first event where we have a joint alumni opportunity to come together,” said Glen Mayhew, D.H.Sc., ’87, associate dean of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services. Mayhew works at RUC, just across Elm Avenue from Elmwood Park. It really broadens our whole family and gives us an opportunity to do bigger and better things in Roanoke. That’s what this merger was all about — coming together as one to elevate the healthcare of the region and educate the leaders of tomorrow.”

Mayhew added that being able to network with fellow alumni and current students, faculty and staff is invaluable, expanding opportunities for all of those groups.

Several current RUC students even took time out from studying to come to the party. Rebecca Carver, Kaitlyn Harpine and Tracy Engle are students in RUC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and are scheduled to graduate in May 2020.

“We saw a notice on Facebook about the Party in Elmwood and thought this would be a nice break from studying to get outdoors and have some fun,” said Carver, smiling broadly.

“We’re excited to meet some Radford alumni since we’re almost done. We’ll be in that group soon,” Harpine added.

Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., and his wife, First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D., also attended the Party in Elmwood, taking time to connect and engage with the Radford family in Roanoke.

“The great crowd we have here tonight shows that no matter how far we are from the main campus, we’re always part of the Radford family,” Mayhew said.

Oct 8, 2019
Mark Lambert