President Hemphill discusses university initiatives with alumni in Richmond
Close to 140 alumni gathered at the historic Hofheimer Building, Scott’s Addition, in Richmond, Va. on July 14, 2016 to meet and hear the ideas of Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill.
Paige Tarchokov ’91 said that President Hemphill’s ideas for how he will transform Radford University into an innovative premier university struck a chord with her. She owns a Richmond based business that helps organizations transform to become more effective and customer-centric. “It is so great to hear a leader speak about transformation by examining processes and the analytics behind transformation,” said Tarchokov.
President Hemphill discussed key initiatives including academic excellence and research. “We will always be a teaching university, but we need to give more opportunities to do research,” said Hemphill. He also said that the university will examine expanding graduate education and online programs.
He also discussed the need to increase the student retention rate -- the number of students who complete their degree at Radford University. Close to 36 percent of Radford University’s students are the first in their family to attend college. President Hemphill said first-generation college students experience college differently than others, and he understands the challenges they face when transitioning to the university. “I’m a first generation college student,” said President Hemphill. “Helping these students is important to who we are as an institution,” he said.
Angela Lightfoot ’10 liked what she heard about President Hemphill’s ideas regarding strategic enrollment growth, specifically his ideas about enhancing and strengthening the partnerships with community colleges. She was a first-generation college student, completed her bachelor’s degree at Radford and then later earned a graduate degree. “I work in the community college system and my younger sister Alexa is attending a community college. I definitely love to hear him say that they will help with that transition because my sister is well on her way to attending Radford,” said Lightfoot.
Regina Hill ’86 said that it is key “to develop and nurture the relationships with community colleges.” She also thinks President Hemphill’s ideas about expanding online offerings are important to stay competitive.
President Hemphill discussed his other initiatives such as strategic enrollment growth, philanthropic support and the importance of economic and community partnerships. “Radford University needs to become and be an economic driver and produce great graduates who contribute to the state,” said Hemphill.
“The president’s vision and direction will leverage opportunities, energy and excitement,” said Curtis Brown ’02, currently the Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security for the Commonwealth of Virginia. “I’m a first-generation college student myself. I like the focus on students and to build on that for them to become productive citizens. That will really help move society forward,” said Brown.
President Hemphill said that the 72,000 strong Highlander family all across the Commonwealth and beyond has a key role in moving the institution forward. He said alumni will be important in providing our students internship and employment opportunities, offering financial support and telling their Radford story about the opportunities and success at Radford University to their colleagues, friends and family. “He can’t do it himself,” says Mike Wilkerson ’87. “He has to rely on us – the alumni, and his team to make it happen. Let’s put it in action,” said Wilkerson.