Annual Partners in Excellence luncheon provides opportunity for beneficiaries to thank benefactors
Radford University hosted its annual Partners in Excellence luncheon on Sept. 30, 2021, kicking off the university’s Homecoming weekend. The event was held in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center this year after outgrowing its previous home at Kyle Hall.
With approximately 150 guests in attendance, the event brought together and honored scholarship benefactors and student scholarship recipients from across campus.
The luncheon began with a welcome from Nancy Artis ’73, past chair of the Radford University Foundation Board of Directors and benefactor of the Artis Endowed Scholarship and Artis Distinguished Scholars. Artis announced that over the last year, Radford University has awarded over 1,000 scholarships to 700 students, totaling approximately $2.4 million. She added this amount is a significant increase over the $1.7 million awarded in 2017.
“The wonderful thing about today is that it provides the chance for you, the donor, to associate the faces and names with the students your scholarship supports,” Artis said. “From my perspective as a businesswoman, today is an opportunity for every donor to celebrate a win-win deal. Thank you for trusting the foundation to grow your gift and provide even more support for our students.”
“Everything around us in the last 18 months has changed,” Vice President for Advancement and University Relations Wendy Lowery said. “Every aspect of our lives, everything we do and how we interact with each other. Today, though, let’s focus on what hasn’t changed. Our students still need your support, and that hasn’t changed. In response, our donors have stood by us and remained strong. We have had the largest and most successful fundraising year in history this past year.”
Lowery introduced one student in particular who has greatly benefited from the help of scholarships: Chyree Walker ’21, a senior media studies major with a media production concentration and a marketing minor.
Walker is the recipient of the Frank H. “Buddy” Martin Jr. Memorial Athletic Scholarship and a member of the Radford university men’s basketball team. He said that he transferred to Radford during his sophomore year after being offered a full athletic scholarship.
“Two and a half years later,” Walker said, “I consider this the best decision of my life. Thank you again for your investments in students like myself.”
Walker then introduced Radford University interim President Carolyn Ringer Lepre, Ph.D., who thanked all of the students and donors who attended the luncheon.
“One of the things that makes an event like this so meaningful is being able to make these personal connections,” Lepre said. “You don’t always have the chance to see, right there in front of you, the difference your donations make. Students, when you have the same opportunity to support future students one day, I ask you to be as generous to ensure the success of Highlanders for years to come.”