Hemphills host cookout for entire student body at the Governor Tyler House

President Hemphill greets students at the All-Student Cookout.
President Hemphill greets students at the All-Student Cookout.

A common phrase circulated amongst the hundreds of Radford University students who attended a recent start-of-the-semester event: “I probably wouldn’t get this experience at other universities.”

That’s because not all college presidents invite the entire student body to their house for a cookout.

President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., and his wife, First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D., did just that on Sept. 3. This is the second year they have hosted the All-Student Cookout at their residence in the Governor Tyler House, located adjacent to campus. The couple greeted students in Radford red as they scurried off busy shuttles.

“I had never met Mrs. Hemphill before, and she was really friendly,” said junior Kendi Mwongo, an information science and systems major. “Their house is so beautiful. I’m excited to be here.”

The annual bash featured picnic-style food, music and yard games, along with some friendly competition.

“I can’t wait to beat President Hemphill in corn hole,” joked Ricky Rogers, a senior journalism major, who had interacted with the President several times before. “He is very active with our student body and visible on campus. The fact that he’s invited us all here today is amazing.”

Highlander pride was on full display as students enjoyed a reprieve from the heat under tents mounted on the front lawn of the historic house. Music played in the background as tables filled quickly with energetic, and hungry, Highlanders.

“It’s great to be out here on this beautiful day with all of my classmates around me,” said junior Chase Arrington, vice president of the Student Government Association. “This is a great way to kick of the semester and get everyone excited for the year to come.”

Students enjoy the delicious food and great company at the All-Student Cookout.

Students enjoy the delicious food and great company at the All-Student Cookout.

Senior Andre Ragsdale beamed as talked about how well his first week of classes had gone.

“This just tops it off,” Ragsdale said, after finishing his plate of food.

Ragsdale interned in Virginia’s House of Delegates over the summer. He said it was a great experience and further piqued his interest in getting involved in politics someday. Radford University, he said, will continue to support that journey during his final year at the institution.

Students enjoy games at the All-Student Cookout.
Students enjoy games at the All-Student Cookout.

“I’m excited to be back and see what the future has in store for me here,” Ragsdale said.

Freshman Elizabeth Clink said she was enjoying her first week in The Schoolhouse, a new Living-learning Community in Moffett Hall. The community was established in 2018 as a way for future teachers in all disciplines to live and learn together. The Schoolhouse students take classes together, live in the same residence hall and have regular and direct access to Teacher Education program faculty.

“I’ve met a lot of friends through The Schoolhouse and am just getting to know my teachers,” Clink said. “So far, so good.”

The cookout was just one of many ways the Hemphills and University administrators have warmly welcomed all students to the start of the Fall 2019 semester. For new students, it has been a welcome into the Radford family.

That sense of community is just one of many reasons Highlander students, faculty, staff and alumni are proud to call Radford University, home.

Sep 11, 2019
Mary Hardbarger
(540) 831-5150