CHBS honors Marty Smith, Nicole and Drew Robinson during homecoming ceremony
Radford University’s College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences honored alumni Nicole Robinson ’02 and Michael A. “Drew” Robinson ’01 for their gift to the college’s endowed scholarship fund, and awarded ESPN reporter and author Marty Smith ’98 with its 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award during a homecoming ceremony at Hemphill Hall on Saturday, Oct. 21.
The Robinsons, CHBS graduates who met in an art appreciation class, returned as a couple with their three children and secured their legacy with a generous gift. Their scholarship will support students enrolled in any program across the college.
“Everything good in our life, in our marriage, our unity, our children, are derived from Radford,” Drew said. “This was an easy decision for us.”
Nicole, who gave the address at Radford’s 2022 Winter Commencement ceremonies, reflected on the importance of meeting the moment as an alumna, whether speaking or giving. It was an attitude, Nicole said, that was instilled by communications Professor David Dobkins.
“The advice he gave to me was to always put your hand up and take on responsibilities that go outside of your comfort zone,” Nicole said. “To contribute … is something really distinguishing about Radford graduates, and we are hopeful our endowment contributes to that effect as well.”
The Robinsons attached a plaque recognizing the gift to the CHBS Endowment Fund Wall, which displays the now-37 scholarship gifts made to the college in a prominent location near the entrance to Hemphill Hall.
Nicole Robinson serves as chief growth officer at Comtech, a leading global provider of telecommunication solutions. Drew Robinson, who earned his degree in political science, is the CEO of Robinson Law Firm in Fairfax, Virginia.
The CHBS honor highlighted a day for Smith that started in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Smith appeared on a full schedule of SEC Network programming that originated from the site of the Southeastern Conference football matchup between Tennessee and Alabama, then departed from nearby Birmingham on a flight back to his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, before driving north to Radford with his wife, Lainie Smith ’99, and three children.
Smith, who was introduced by Radford Athletics Hall of Fame member and former sports information director Mike Ashley ’83, shared gratitude for the belief that the university’s faculty and staff instilled in him.
“I love this place so much, and so many people have done so much for me here, and the number one thing that I got here at Radford was not just a beautiful education, it was true wisdom on the power of belief,” Smith said. “So often in this life, that’s all we need. We need someone who can look at us and believe. And that infuses us with self-confidence, and then we become indomitable in the quest for what we want.”
Dressed in a blue jacket and tie, with MacFarlane Tartan-printed custom Nike Air Force 1 shoes, Smith pointed his message directly to the students in attendance.
“Y’all who are students, listen to me right now. There is nothing you cannot do,” he exclaimed. “You can do whatever you want to do, and you can do it with this education.”
Well known for his presence as a reporter and host across multiple ESPN networks and platforms, Smith also signed copies of his recently published second book, “Sideline CEO: Leadership Principles from Championship Coaches.”
This marked the seventh year that CHBS has given an Outstanding Alumni Award.