Highlanders in the News: Week of Nov. 15

Every week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.

Espousing the virtues of esports

Is it possible that honing one’s video-game skills might not be quite the waste of time that was proclaimed by the elders (aka “parents”) since the dawn of Pong and the Atari 2600?

Consider the recent rise of esports over the past few years, as well as the industry and support networks that have sprung up in their wake. 

Esports are essentially video-game exhibitions in which players link up and compete virtually while audiences watch. And watch. And watch. And watch.

According to a Reuters report last March, the number of spectators live-streaming esports is expected to reach nearly 729 million viewers by year's end and draw $1.08 billion in revenue, an increase of 14% over last year’s figures. 

Radford University graduate Brian Freeland ’98 is now American Public University’s dean of the School of Health Sciences and an advocate for esports. 

Earlier this week, Freeland appeared on an APU podcast called “Leading Forward” to discuss that subject and talk about the school’s plan to offer an academic degree program that focuses on esports management. That launches in February.

Meanwhile, APU’s new esports team has about 500 members and climbing. 

“For an online institution, trying to create opportunities for students to engage can be challenging at times,” Freeland says on the program. “This is one avenue that I’ve seen where our students have common interests and get to know each other and just seem like they’re really having a good time teaming up with each other. It’s just been fantastic to see that type of engagement.”

The program, which runs just under 20 minutes, can be listened to or downloaded here

Coal Calling

A Highlander has been tapped to head the Kentucky Coal Association as its next president. 

Tucker Davis ’13 of Grundy, Virginia, is scheduled to assume that post starting Dec. 1.

According to its website, the Kentucky Coal Association is a 501c(6) nonprofit organization that “represents both Eastern and Western Kentucky operations that mine coal through surface and underground methods. This diversity helps KCA build a consensus approach in problem-solving and dealing with the complex issues facing our industry.”  

As reported by The Paintsville Herald, Davis is a former Trump Administration official with the U.S. Department of the Interior who “brings over a decade of experience in public affairs, public policy and issue advocacy.”

“For a kid that grew up in the head of a holler, it is a dream come true to be able to represent an industry that has been a driving force of prosperity not just in the Commonwealth, but all around the world,” Davis said.

More recently, Davis managed Winsome Sears’ successful campaign for lieutenant governor of Virginia. He has also worked for Americans for Prosperity and the National Mining Association’s Count on Coal Campaign.

Vision Board

Already a children’s hospital official, a Radford University graduate now has a position through which to help improve people’s vision.

According to a report by the online magazine Vision Monday, Adéola Oduwole ’01 was elected on Nov. 8 to the board of directors of Prevent Blindness, a nonprofit organization.

She currently is the vice president and chief of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Ann and Robert H. Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago. 

“Oduwole has more than 20 years of experience in improving diversity and inclusion efforts in various healthcare settings,” the report said. “She is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction to implement and manage processes that support diversity, inclusion and equity efforts across the hospital, impacting physicians, staff, trainees, patients, families and the community.”

Oduwole holds a master’s of science degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Radford University.


Nov 19, 2021
Neil Harvey
(540) 831-5150