Women of Radford ‘shine’ at annual Homecoming luncheon
Dressed in their finest and frilliest, dozens of Radford University alumnae, current female students and dedicated Highlanders friends dined together and reminisced during Homecoming Weekend.
The annual Women of Radford Luncheon was held October 26, 2019 in the Davis College of Business and Economics, where ladies in red, and some in purple in homage of the University’s former trademark color, gathered to share in their Highlander pride.
The event began with a special concert by Radford University’s a cappella group, RU Noteworthy. Executive Director for Alumni Relations Laura Turk ’87, M.S. ’90 welcomed attendees, including members of the Class of 1969, who were celebrating their 50th, or “golden,” reunion. Turk noted that more than eight decades of strong Highlander women were represented in the room.
During the luncheon event, many alumnae shared fond memories of attending the University.
When Elaine Klock Codias ‘69 did, it was called Radford College.
Codias was a member of the Radford Redcoats Equestrian Team. A self-proclaimed Army brat, her parents retired to Florida. The trip back and forth between Virginia and the Sunshine State became too inconvenient, and Codias left Radford after two years. She went on to earn her master’s and Ph.D. at other universities, but the connection with her peers at Radford College was the strongest of them all.
“That’s why I’m here this weekend,” said Codias, who traveled from Miami to join her former classmates at Homecoming. “From my freshman year in the dorm, to the many friends I made, lots of lovely memories here.”
The luncheon’s keynote speaker was Caitlyn Scaggs ’07, Radford University’s associate vice president for University Relations. Her presentation followed the luncheon’s theme of “Shine Across the Seasons.”
Scaggs chronicled her varied seasons, including roles as a Highlander graduate, police officer, entrepreneur, daughter, wife and proud mother to two children. Her young daughter, Harper, smiled brightly as her mom spoke.
“My journey has been comprised of distinct seasons,” Scaggs said. “It is my hope today that I can hold up a mirror for each of you. That I can help you see yourself with a bit more clarity. That you will leave here with a better sense of the brilliance you offer the world. That you will walk out the doors committed to shine.”
To truly shine, or “step into all that you are,” Scaggs challenged the audience to reframe the question that many habitually pose, “Why me?” to “Why not me?”
“Who better suited to say yes to the opportunity?” Scaggs asked. “Who better to be a new friend and connection? Who better to bring an idea to the table for consideration? Who better to volunteer, serve or make a contribution to the community? Why not you?”
Scaggs also encouraged attendees to lean on one another when faced with adversity, to maintain a strong connection with their communities - including the Radford family - and to support one another through their seasons, or stages, in life.
“Although seasons may change, challenges may be faced and you will have moments of self-doubt, I challenge you to reflect on the constant themes and threads throughout your life,” she said. “What was true five, 10 or even 20 years ago that is still true today? Reflect on your personal growth. In what areas have you developed strength, expertise or passion? That is your shine. Embrace it. Lean into it. Cling to it. Commit to it.”
Toward the event’s end, the entire room joined in singing Radford University’s Alma Mater. Several members of the Class of ’69 broke out in a spirited chant that drew laughter and applause.
An annual tradition of the luncheon, the best hat was awarded to Sonia Esteve ’69. Her red hat was decorated with tartan ribbons on which Esteve had pinned photos of herself and friends from The Beehive yearbook staff.
After the Women of Radford Luncheon, several alumnae proudly shared what being a “Woman of Radford” means to them:
Angie Reyburn ’84: “A ‘Woman of Radford’ to me means sharing a strong bond within the university culture and being independent and empowered by others. Most of all, it's the special friendships I have made and knowing that I am a part of something bigger than myself.”
Tina Weiner ’72: “A ‘Woman of Radford’ is an honor to me. I was a first-generation high school and college graduate in my family. A lot of hopes and dreams were riding on me, and I made it. Radford helped me become the woman I am in the classroom and also in life. My teachers shared their knowledge, and many helped me further by always being available to listen and help along the way. That was a part of my teaching experience I tried to keep at the forefront: it is about the student first, then the subject. Those women educators made me want to strive to follow in their footsteps. I knew that oval onyx ring meant a good teacher, and I wanted that status. I realized at the luncheon on Saturday that the ‘Women of Radford’ are continuing in a fine tradition. Way to go, Radford!”
Nancy Love ’75, M.S. ’76: “Radford instilled in me the love of education and the ability to relate to young people in a career that has now spanned more than 40 years. Because of Radford, I have reached my goals and have inspired other young people to reach their goals as well. As an educator, I am a proud ‘Woman of Radford.’"