Highlanders in the News: Week of March 14

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.

Tim Channell, Ed.D.

Channell tapped by national education council for fellows program

Radford University’s assistant provost for budget and academic operations has been selected as an emerging university leader by the American Council of Education and will participate in this year’s ACE Fellows program, according to a March 16 article in Inside Higher Ed.

Tim Channell, Ed.D., was one of just 46 academic representatives across the country to be tapped for the fellowship.

The program, which pairs professors and administrators with a mentor at another college, has produced numerous presidents and provosts since its inception in 1965. It is the longest-running leadership development fellowship in the United States.

During that time, some 2,500 participants have taken part in it, according to the ACE, and approximately 80% of those have gone on to serve as chief executive- and chief academic officers and other cabinet-level positions.

The program combines retreats, interactive and virtual learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations, and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year,” the ACE said.

“These Fellows engage in immersive learning experiences before they return to their home campuses armed with a fresh outlook, prepared to address whatever challenges lie ahead,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell, in a release about the program.

Sophomore Julia Buccola uses an ice corer to drill down into the Arctic Ocean. The hole is used to install a 3.7-meter student-made sensor.

Southward ho!

Just over two weeks after a group of Radford University students departed for Alaska, they’ve now safely returned to the New River Valley, armed with a variety of experiences and empirical knowledge.

WDBJ-7 covered their departure last month and, on March 13, it aired a story about the class’ return, quoting several of the students about their trip, as well as the faculty organizer, Rhett Herman, Ph.D., professor of physics.

“They have done their work, and it’s absolutely incredible to see this,” Herman told the station. “They’re gonna have the greatest résumé builder ever.”

Herman first founded the biennial trek to the village of Utqiabvik in 2006 as a means to give the class a chance to test data-collecting devices of their own designs.

While working on the frozen surface of the ocean, several hundred meters offshore, junior Jonathon Halferty saw ice form in his beard.

This year’s group included 11 undergraduates – six physics majors, four who are studying geology, and another whose concentration is biology – as well as a young Governor’s School student, all of whom headed north on Feb. 25 and came back across the week of March 7.

It’s a trip that spans approximately 4,600 miles one-way, and Herman later said their return took about 28 hours, but noted it was worth all the effort.

“I was pleased with the results, and the students were, too,” despite the limited time they were there, Herman said. “They got a taste of it, and it was pretty amazing.”

“This trip was unusual in that the course has finally fully evolved into a student-driven class,” he explained. “It’s all student-driven now, and I’m the tech geek that backs them up.”

Flying coach

A former Radford University assistant softball coach, who went on to make history within the Women’s College World Series, was recently commended by the Virginia General Assembly during its past session.

Loren Messick LaPorte was recognized for her years of work with female athletes in a resolution introduced by Del. Margaret Ransone and approved by the House and Senate in late January.

The commendation notes that LaPorte served as assistant softball coach for three seasons at Radford – 2010 to 2012 – before joining James Madison University, where she became head coach in 2017.

While leading the JMU Dukes, the team advanced to the Women’s College World Series, beating No. 1 Oklahoma in an upset, 4-3, followed by a 2-1 win over Oklahoma State, No. 5, and became the first unseeded team in the tournament’s history to advance to the semifinals.

LaPorte has also been named the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year three times, in 2018, 2019, and 2021. 

Resolutions are often put forth by legislators in order to recognize noteworthy figures and thus to officially include their accomplishments in the state’s historical record.

The full joint resolution honoring LaPorte can be read here. It was also covered in a Feb. 9 story by the website News on the Neck

Painter and sculptor Dorothy Gillespie

Arts from a distance

This week marks the beginning of an eight-month exhibition – albeit some distance away – by a painter and sculptor with rich Highlander ties.

“Dorothy Gillespie: Works from the Radford University Collection” will open March 19 and run through Nov. 20 at Niagara University’s Castellani Art Museum in Lewiston, New York.

The show includes 21 offerings from Gillespie’s career, spanning the 1940s through the ’90s, and presented in chronological order. Her best-known works, perhaps, are her large-scale metal sculptures, vibrantly colorful with strips that are twisted and rolled.

After graduating from Jefferson High School in Roanoke in 1937, Gillespie attended Radford College before moving to New York City, where she launched her art career. She came back to the New River Valley and her alma mater as a visiting artist from 1981 to 1983, then returned again from 1997 to 1999 as a distinguished professor of art. 

Sept. 30 marks the 10th anniversary of Gillespie’s death, in 2012 at age 92.

A recent story about Gillespie’s exhibit, in Stepout Buffalo, included this philanthropic note: 

“As a fitting tribute to all she has accomplished and the lives she has touched, her support for emerging women in the arts continues. Gary Israel, president of The Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation, has bestowed Niagara University with the Dorothy M. Gillespie Memorial Scholarship Fund to support female students majoring in art history with museum studies.”

Mar 18, 2022
Neil Harvey
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