Highlanders in the News: Week of April 10

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.


Checking in … at The Highlander Hotel

The wait is over.

On April 1, two years to the month after construction began, The Highlander Hotel Radford officially opened its doors… and it certainly has a lot of those.

The $40 million project includes some 124 guest rooms and suites, a gourmet coffee shop, expansive amounts of conference space and a picturesque rooftop restaurant known as The Bee & Butter, all spanning the building’s six stories.

With its arrival, The Highlander now comprises Radford’s closest lodgings to campus by a wide margin.

The opening was a much-anticipated occasion in the New River Valley, and officials with both the university and the hotel marked the milestone with an afternoon ribbon cutting on April 4.

If you weren’t able to make it to that, but you still want to see what went down, there is ample coverage from which to choose.


The celebration was captured by Roanoke television stations WDBJWSLS, and WFXR.

WFIR News Talk Radio posted a short clip of the hotel’s general manager, Rachel Pegues, talking about some of the establishment’s offerings.

The Radford News Journal’s coverage kicks off by identifying some of the Highlander’s very first lodgers (mild spoiler alert: one of them is an alumna, Joey Thornton Hair ’95, who, according to the story, was in town to visit her son, now a junior), while The Roanoke Times took to the top floor to give readers a commanding view of campus from the heights of The Bee & Butter.

You can also check out Radford University’s own coverage of the event, including both this snazzy 28-second tour of the establishment and writer Chad Osborne’s look at the ribbon cutting, which also provides an in-depth overview of The Highlander’s extensive amenities.

Aysha Bodenhamer

"Mine" field

In the wake of a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control – which found that coal miners face increasing risks of black lung and other respiratory diseases – an April 3 story by WVTF has perspectives from a Radford University sociology professor.

Aysha Bodenhamer, Ph.D., has studied black lung for years. She weighs in on contributing factors to the situation, the financial motivations that draw workers to mining, ongoing dangers and concerns and the black lung clinics that can offer ailing miners medical and legal assistance. 

“These clinics are pivotal for the miners. They can go for treatment and for help with their black lung claims. It’s generally a life-changing experience,” Bodenhamer told WVTF.

An abridged audio version of the story is also available at the top of the article’s page.

Bill Kovarik

Cold War winds

When Russia’s Federal Security Service detained Evan Gershkovich last month and charged him with espionage, the move signified a dark historical milestone: Gershkovich, a 32-year-old reporter for The Wall Street Journal, is the first American journalist arrested by Russia since the days of the Cold War.

Bill Kovarik, Ph.D.,  a Radford University professor of communication and media historian, took a contextualizing look at that incident for the website theconversation.com, calling it “an unusual throwback to the old Soviet tactics for handling foreign correspondents.

“History shows that when they do occur, arrests of foreign journalists over espionage charges tend to provoke a diplomatic tempest,” Kovarik writes in the piece before delving into both the current situation as well as similar cases from the past.

His article was also picked up by Fortune magazine, Neiman Journalism Lab, The San Francisco Times and Yahoo News, among numerous other outlets. 

Chad Kennedy ’00

Chain link

Supply chain issues have become topical conversations, particularly over the past few years, and someone who knows a thing or two about them is Chad Kennedy ’00.

Today, Kennedy is a DAT Freight and Analytics group manager with a long history of working in transportation management.

He’s also a guest on the April 6 episode of the supplychain247.com podcast. Across about 20 minutes, Kennedy discusses transport issues, market trends and various steps shippers can take to move goods more efficiently in the current climate.

Apr 14, 2023
Neil Harvey