Congressman visits campus, takes questions from students

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith (left) met in April with students enrolled in the Communication and Leadership class at Radford University.

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith took time from his busy congressional schedule Thursday, April 21, to engage in a question-and-answer session with a small group of Radford University students in Hemphill Hall.

Griffith, who represents Virginia’s 9th District, met with inquisitive students enrolled in the Communication and Leadership class taught by Matthew J. Smith, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences and professor of communication. For more than an hour, he answered a slew of questions that touched on topics such as leadership, campaign strategies and his personal motivations.

“My main motivator is I want to make things better for the people in my district,” he said. “I want to get out there to be helpful and meet with people.”

The Republican congressman from Salem was also asked about successfully working with politicians on the other side of the aisle.

“I believe that 95% of the people on the other side of the aisle, just like 95% of the people on my side of the aisle, are actually good people who want to do good things for their district and their country,” he said. “We just have different views of how you get there.”

The congressman was one of six guests that Smith invited to speak to his class throughout the spring 2022 semester.

“We had leaders in industry, sports, nonprofits, academia and public service talk about the call and challenges of leadership,” Smith said after Griffith’s visit. “Given the congressman’s position in the region and his platform on the national stage, it was an honor to have him come and speak about his pathway to his position and his philosophy of leading.”

Guests in Smith’s spring semester class have included alumna Nicole Gwanzura ’12, MBA ’13, the CEO and founder of Education Advancement Consulting; former Highlanders soccer star Dante Washington ’92; and Radford University interim President Carolyn Ringer Lepre, Ph.D.

For each visitor, three students were randomly selected to introduce the speaker and lead the conversation throughout the session. Reese Degnan, Sydney Braham and Mason Mills received the honors for Griffith’s visit.

“Being a part of the group that led the session with Congressman Griffith was an honor and great opportunity for us,” said Degnan, a senior communication and media studies major from Newport News, Virginia. “It is not every day that I would get an opportunity to interview a member of congress, so I was very excited to have a guest speaker with someone of his position to share his take on leadership. It was truly a privilege that he made time to share his journey and experience as a leader serving the people.”

Braham echoed those thoughts, calling it an honor to introduce and interview Griffith.

“It was interesting to hear his take on leadership and different leadership qualities compared to the other speakers we have had throughout the semester,” said the senior communication major from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

May 11, 2022
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761