Under a cloudy sky but with beams of sunlight breaking through, Radford University observed its 2013 Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 11.
President Penelope W. Kyle conferred degrees on nearly 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students. She opened the 10 a.m. ceremony on Moffett Lawn by saying, "Today is one of the most important and joyous days in the life of a university. All of us are here for one very special reason: to honor the 1,296 students who are members of the Radford University Class of 2013."
The president praised the graduates for their hard work and their dedication to the pursuit of higher education. She also recognized the support they received from others during the journey.
"Along the way, you have most likely realized you have achieved these accomplishments because of the commitment of your family, your friends and Radford University’s dedicated faculty and staff," Kyle said. "All of them helped you succeed and grow and helped you realize your dreams. They were there when you needed advice, encouragement and inspiration."
Kyle praised RU's faculty members, who she said "have been singularly focused on teaching you and preparing you for what lies ahead. I am confident you will do well in your respective endeavors because of our faculty’s commitment to you while you were here. In and out of the classroom, they have pushed you, guided you and mentored you."
Kyle introduced Linda Whitley-Taylor ’86, rector of the university’s Board of Visitors, who urged the new alumni to remember they are part of a rich history. "Radford University has earned an outstanding reputation," she said. "Always remember that the luster of this name will only shine brighter as you make your way through life."
Virginia Delegate Joseph Yost, an RU alumnus, delivered the keynote address. Elected in 2011 to serve the 12th District in the Virginia House of Delegates, Yost '06, M.A. '08, represents residents of the City of Radford, Giles County and parts of Montgomery and Pulaski counties.
Yost said he was floored by but gladly accepted Kyle's offer to address the Class of 2013. He told the graduates some of his fondest memories are from his time on campus and that their accomplishments while at the university make him optimistic for the future.
"Your graduation here means that each of you has excelled and attained a high level in the classroom," Yost said. "As soon-to-be alumni, I hope all of you will maintain a lifelong commitment to the lessons you learned here and also the four values I put above all else: scholarship, character, leadership and service."
In closing his remarks, Yost encouraged the graduates to "remain steadfast in your drive to better your community, your family as well as your state and your country, but also yourself."
This year's spring graduates represented 108 cities and counties in Virginia, 25 states and nine countries.
Among the degrees awarded on Saturday were more than 200 master's and doctoral degrees. Individuals in the fields of science, technology, mathematics and health made up 29 percent of the graduates. The most undergraduate degrees—114—were awarded to interdisciplinary studies majors in the College of Education and Human Development.
Also as part of Saturday's ceremony, the university honored six faculty and staff members for exceptional performance and dedication to the university.
Preceding Saturday's events was the hooding ceremony on Friday for the College of Graduate and Professional Studies at the Dedmon Center. Faculty mentors presented academic hoods to students earning master’s degrees, and six students received doctor’s degrees, three each in nursing practice and psychology.
Other commencement activities on Friday were the ROTC commissioning of eight cadets as U.S. Army officers, the School of Nursing pinning ceremony for 71 graduates and the Multicultural Congratulatory Ceremony in Hurlburt Student Center auditorium.
Also on Friday, the College of Education and Human Development hosted a ceremony to honor its outstanding students.
See photos from 2013 Spring Commencement on Facebook.
Learn more about Radford University at www.radford.edu.