Davis College Advisory Council provides students with COVID-19 relief


In May, just weeks after Radford University transitioned all in-person courses to online gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, Davis College of Business and Economics Dean Joy Bhadury, Ph.D., met virtually with members of the Davis College Advisory Council.

The Davis College Advisory Council exists to provide advice, guidance and support for the continuing development of high-quality business programs at Radford University and advise the dean and faculty in promoting leadership in business. It also works to provide students with an opportunity to network with alumni and business leaders in the community for career counseling and career opportunities.

At this meeting, Bhadury informed council members of the hardships some students majoring in disciplines within Davis College were facing due to the lockdown caused by the emerging pandemic.

After hearing Bhadury express concern for the students, many in the 29-person council were moved to help.

Davis College Advisory Council members graciously volunteered to donate funds to assist students facing financial hardships as a result of the pandemic.

“Our Advisory Council is deeply dedicated to the welfare and success of our students within the Davis College,” Bhadury said.

Many people within Davis College who are not members of the Advisory Board chose to give, too, along with a multitude of others in the Radford Community as part of the University’s campus-wide initiative in the spring of 2020 to respond to student needs.

Choosing to donate to the Davis College Advisory Council fund was an “easy decision for me to make,” said Advisory Council member Sean Hagarty ’87.

“The students really had no ability to influence what was coming after them,” Hagarty said of the challenges levied by the coronavirus pandemic. “Things change so quickly for students. And, for those who are on limited funds, they may have had to drop out of school.”

Hagarty, who earned a degree in business administration at Radford, often gives to students, either financially or serving as a guest lecturer, which he does either in person in normal conditions or virtually from his home in Raleigh, North Carolina, during these times of physical distancing.

This particular chance to give back felt like the perfect opportunity to make a positive impact on the Radford family, he said, in part, because some of the students who are members of the Davis College Fellows had presented to and interacted previously with the Advisory Council.

“This just felt close to me,” Hagarty said. “It just felt like the right thing to do.”

Audra Shekleton ‘04 had the same feeling. Growing up in a rural section of Southwest Virginia, she felt a kinship with some of the students Dean Bhadury mentioned in his plea for assistance.

“Some of the stories were about students who do not have internet access back home, especially in rural areas,” said Shekleton, who is now a partner at Ernst & Young business management consulting firm in Richmond, Virginia. “Those stories really touched me, and that’s the reason I decided to donate.

“Supporting students from rural areas kind of hit home for me,” she continued, “and some were facing issues I probably would have faced if I had been in this situation in college.”

Following his initial plea to help Davis College students along their Highlander journey, the Davis College Advisory Council members responded with tremendous benevolence and generosity, Bhadury noted. To date, these funds have been used to provide financial assistance for living expenses to six Davis College students.

“On behalf of the College, especially our students,” the dean said, “I'm deeply indebted and grateful to our Advisory Council for such demonstrated support of our students and the difference it has made to the students who were helped.”

Jan 20, 2021
Chad Osborne