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Alumni Spotlight Archives

Harrell87

Dr. Richard Harrell '87 owns The Hearing Clinic, Inc., which operates hearing and balance clinics throughout southwestern Virginia. 

"I opened a private practice with a good friend of mine in 1985. In 1989, I took over the practice full-time," says Harrell. As a student at Radford, Harrell received his undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders and his master’s degree in audiology.  "As a student, I worked in the Speech and Hearing Clinic.  As a senior, I was able to participate in providing speech, language and hearing assessments for clients," says Harrell.  Working hands on with patients, professors and classmates encouraged Harrell to pursue the path of teaching.

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Osei-Sarpong

If anybody knows the rewards of hard work and determination, it is Kwabena Osei-Sarpong ’05.

Without having explored the campus prior to his arrival, Osei-Sarpong came to Radford University (RU) as a foreign student from Ghana in 2002. “RU soon became my home away from home," says Osei-Sarpong.  

As a student, Osei-Sarpong was very active and highly involved in campus organizations. A few years after graduation, Osei-Sarpong started his own company, RIFE (Real Estate, Infrastructure, Facilities and Energy), International.

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RachelTuckerBlankenshipspotlight

Rachel Blankenship-Tucker '09, an RU theater graduate, is a member of the high-energy Appalachian band After Jack -- a female trio with a unique twist on traditional mountain music.

Blankenship-Tucker started playing Appalachian music when she was five years old.  "I had a few years of experience under my belt before I came to RU.  However, coming to Radford and collaborating with other Appalachian musicians, really helped to inspire me," says Blankenship-Tucker.

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DaveMattingly86spotlight

Dave Mattingly '86 credits Radford University and RU radio station, WVRU, for his success in broadcasting.  Mattingly is a morning news anchor for National Public Radio.

"I was heavily involved with WVRU.  I was a news anchor and writer for three years and news director for two," says Mattingly.  WVRU Radio's advisor, Ted McKosky, helped to educate and influence Mattingly in his career choice.  "Ted gave us the hands on experience that we needed.  He coached us to success and by the time we graduated, we were prepared for the real world," says Mattingly.

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Sable01spotlight

Alicia Sable '01 has been a part of the Radford family since she was 12 years old. 

"I was involved in the Community Arts School on campus.  I took voice lessons from former professor Betty Turner and sang in her children's choir.  When it came to my college decision, Ms. Turner made it simple," says Sable. 

Today, Sable works alongside John Goodman in the new Amazon series Alpha House, starring as Tammy Stackhouse. "I like doing theater, but I love T.V. Working with Alpha House is a dream come true.  It is everything I have ever worked for," says Sable. 

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GatesAlumniSpotlight

Mason Gates '89 had never set foot on campus prior to committing and sending his deposit to attend. 

“The Radford representative, who came to my high school, sold me on the university.  I applied and was accepted. It was one of those things -- the moment I was there, it was home," says Gates.  Gates became passionate about the creative side of business and majored in marketing.  The ambition didn't stop there, "I ultimately knew I wanted to start my own business," says Gates.  He, along with the talented teams around him, created four.

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GeiszAlumniSpotlight

Lynne Geisz '90 was the first in her family to graduate college. She says her time at Radford University was unforgettable.

"My favorite memory was the week of graduation.  I had been on such a journey.  I couldn't be more thankful for the people that helped me along the way.  The day of graduation, I could see my whole family in the audience.  I felt like we all were walking across that stage.  It was such a proud moment for me," says Geisz.

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BillGarne

Bill Garne '85 and his wife Lilo Navales founded Leather Goods of Spain in 1997.

"My wife is from Spain and her family has been in the leather business for over 100 years.  While traveling to visit relatives we decided to take a risk and bring unique leather goods to the United States," says Garne.  The company started off small, but in no time began adding travel luggage, fashion accessories and custom orders. 

"We have the ability to produce custom leather goods in almost any shape or size.  We work with an idea from the client to create the final tangible product," says Garne.

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MarquettSmith

Marquett Smith '85: Achieving His "Best Possible"

Marquett Smith ’85 is driven by his mission to maximize his potential. “I grew up in the ghetto of Washington, D.C.  I’m fortunate to be where I am today,” he says.  He is currently the president of the Washington/Baltimore/Virginia region for Verizon Wireless.  He holds full profit and loss and operational responsibility for a $2.8 billion revenue stream for the nation’s largest wireless company.  He’s a two-time winner of Verizon Wireless’ President’s Cabinet Award for sales excellence and the prestigious Verizon Chairman’s Award for outstanding business leadership.  “I look back on things that I have accomplished, but I’m not done yet.  I don’t hang up plaques.  I’ll put them up when I’m done,” he says.

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MelissaCosta

"It was written in the stars for me to attend Radford University," says Melissa Costa '00. 

As a high school student, she wanted to be just like her mentor.  "Beth Flory Markwood, a Radford graduate, was such an inspiring person.  She taught the high school marketing program and was also my cheerleading coach.  I was lucky enough to have her as a teacher and mentor for three years. She would always talk about her days at Radford.  I wanted to follow in her footsteps and have a chance to be a great woman like she is," says Costa. 

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MikeMorsberger87

Mike Morsberger '87, Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations at George Washington University, has a contagious passion for Radford University. 

"I was the first generation in my family to go to college.  I was a ‘B’ student from RU and here I am one of the VP's running a major university.  Who would have guessed, certainly not my professors.  I learned something along the way from Radford, they gave me my launch pad and prepared me for success," says Morsberger. Morsberger did not just find passion inside the classroom, but outside as well when he met his future bride MaryBeth. 

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NicoleRobinson02

Nicole Robinson '02 credits advice from one of her favorite Radford University communications professors Dr. David Dobkins, now retired, for helping her to become the youngest vice president in the history of SES Government Solutions, a defense contractor and global satellite company.

"Dr. David Dobkins gave me the best piece of practical advice, which is a quite simple, yet incredibly impactful common expression -- 80% of life is showing up.  In order to apply yourself and be in a position to grow and advance, you have to put yourself out there, raise your hand, and take on new challenges.  To this day that serves as a basic guiding principle that continues to have influence in my life," says Robinson.

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GinaGallagher85

Gina Gallagher '85 paves the path to success for small businesses.

Gallagher is the President of Pathfinders International, a business development consulting firm she joined in 2008.  Prior to joining Pathfinders, Gallagher has held several senior level positions at EDS (HP), DynCorp (CSC), and Titan (L3). Gallagher also holds the Strategic Program Director position at Systems Made Simple (SMS), a company that is an industry leader in the delivery of leading-edge solutions that leverage information technology in the Healthcare domain.

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kevindonahuespotlight

Entrepreneur Kevin Donahue '95 welcomes new adventure. 

He is currently involved in three successful business ventures -- Partner in Brand Ingenuity Group, Founder and CEO of The Executive Sales Source, and is a Business Development Officer for The Genius Network Mastermind Group. For Donahue it all started in the classroom of Dr. Jim Unnever at Radford University. 

"If I had to pick a professor who changed my life, it would be him," says Donahue.  Unnever encouraged Donahue to think critically about the world and his place in it.  "I was raised in a community that taught me you always follow the rules and don’t question, but Dr. Unnever taught me to question.

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PaulaSquires76

Paula Squires '76, managing editor of Virginia Business, has been digging for stories for three decades. 

"I find there is a story behind every business, and I’ve met some interesting leaders," says Squires.  Some of the people on her high-profile list: AOL cofounder Steve Case and hotelier and philanthropist Sheila Johnson. One of her all-time favorite assignments was touring a coalmine in Southwest Virginia with Mike Quillen, the former chairman of Alpha Natural Resources.

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abbyspringmann

Abby Springmann '10 has never paid a cent for advertising.  She is an expert in leveraging her ingenuity, intelligence, talent and innovative use of social media to become a well respected, high-end wedding photographer. 

Springmann's love for photography began at Radford University when she took Photography 101 during her junior year.  "I discovered I really loved photography and spent most of my time in the dark room.  By my senior year, I shadowed a wedding photographer and instantly found my passion," says Springmann. From then on, Springmann apprenticed with wedding photographers on the weekends.   

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angeladrummond90

Just two years after graduating from Radford University, Angela Drummond '90 became a smashing success in the business world by starting her own company called SiloSmashers. 

"Right out of college, I worked for a government contractor.  I enjoyed consulting and helping the government.  I knew I had found my passion," says Drummond.  She had the idea of modernizing the company by bringing groups together to work as an efficient team.  "In the '90s we didn't have the internet but there were some new tools in the business world that would allow people to come together and make things easier," says Drummond.

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DeejayGrayspotlight

Deejay Gray '10 says his first role was baby Jesus in his church Christmas play as an infant, and his passion for the stage continues today. 

“Once you play the baby Jesus, you kind of have to keep going,” he laughs. Gray was recently featured in Richmond’s popular arts and culture newspaper, Style Weekly, as the youngest member of their 2013 Top 40 Under 40 issue. He was also recently nominated for Best Actor at the 6th annual Richmond Theatre Critics Circle awards for his role in Riding the Bull, as well as Best Acting Ensemble for his role in The Glass Menagerie by Tennesee Williams – which he and his cast won together.

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TracyKunzler

Tracy Kunzler '84 is a writing whiz and a passionate RU alumna.

“I absolutely loved my time at Radford.  It’s such a beautiful campus, and I found it to be just the right size.  It’s large enough to meet folks from all over the state, the country and even the world while enjoying lots of ‘bigger school’ amenities. Yet, it’s also small enough that I didn’t get lost in the shuffle.  My professors knew me, and I felt that my education and growth mattered to them.  That gave me the confidence to take the steps needed to launch my career,” said Kunzler.

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alumni-spotlight-JeffGraves

Jeff Graves '89 is the perfect example of someone who "seizes the day."

He accepts challenges and failures as they come.  "I still like to say I have to figure out what I want to do when I grow up," says Graves.  Graves who served in the United States Marine Corps as an Officer after graduating Radford University, has started eight companies, lives on his seven acre vineyard and horse property, and currently works for Hodges-Mace Benefits Group as a Principal.

"Deciding to come to Radford was one of the three best decisions I've made in my lifetime," says Graves.

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MelissaEppsWilding96

Melissa Epps Wilding '96 travels to find the “next big thing.” 

She is the Vice President of Finance, and Director of Sales & International for T.O. Epps and Associates, a manufacturer’s representative organization that works solely on QVC. "My company sells all types of product for the home. However, my area is more specific to home decor, seasonal and gifts,” says Wilding.  Some of the products her company sells include brands like Keurig, Leap Frog, and Poo Pourri.  "I work with venders to bring their products to QVC, and to help their products be successful on-air,” says Wilding.

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PaulNoland81

Paul Noland '81 is the President and CEO at International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, (IAAPA). 

In the past, Noland has worked for Marriott International and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.  Noland has served in a variety of strategic and financial roles including work at Disney to plan new projects such as new parks, hotels and other major land marks.

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Lavinder

Bill Lavinder ’93, a Roanoke Valley native, says that people are ultimately the key to a successful business. 

The ability to inspire and motivate people is a valuable skill, and he says he learned this at Radford University.  “At Radford, I found myself and my voice to help me motivate and inspire people around me.”  As President and Managing Partner of a national health care consulting firm, ChampionOne Group, LLC, he and his team travel to healthcare practices in more than 20 states and assess their practices and develop strategic business plans.  His team, based out of Atlanta, specializes in increasing profits, inspiring human resources and improving efficiency for their respective clients.

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VictorShiblie89

Victor Shiblie ’89, is founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Washington Diplomat, an international newspaper and online publication.

He says Radford University helped him find his way. Shiblie was a part of the student team that created the first collegiate division of the International Association of Marketing and Management under the guidance of Dr. Hooshang Beheshti.  He also remembers many lessons he learned in Dr. Hsin-Min (Carl) Tong’s Introduction to Marketing class — and in fact still has Dr. Tong’s book, “Inspiring Business Successes,” on his office bookshelf.

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raquelcollinsunderwood

Dr. Racquel Collins-Underwood ’01, a cancer researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, knew at an early age that she wanted to make a difference in children’s lives. 

“I knew at the age of 12 that I would be a cancer researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  When Danny Thomas was alive, he would have fundraising telethons throughout the year.  I was glued to every one of them.  When I asked my parents why these kids were dying, they couldn’t answer my questions.  I then made it my mission to find out why.  Unfortunately, big dreams like this are hard to achieve on your own,” says Collins-Underwood.

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lucille-stewart-alumni-spotlight

In 1934, Lucille Pettyjohn Stewart ’38 was 16 years of age when she was greeted at the Radford train station by Radford College students. 

“I came on the train 110 miles from Bristol, Virginia.  It took me four hours because we stopped often.  No one was with me that I knew, and I had my best clothes on,” she remembers.

Mrs. Stewart is now 96 years old and still remembers the welcome she received.  “They were waiting to meet me and carry my baggage up the hill to campus.  I checked in at the administration building and learned of where I would be staying,” says Stewart.

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katherine-tyler-alumni-spotlight

RU alumna dances her way to success in Nashville

Whether she is choreographing a dance routine for a pop music tribute band or rehearsing for a national beverage commercial, Katherine (Sammons) Tyler '08 said she is often reflecting on her experiences at Radford University.

Upon graduation, Tyler, a double-major in political science and dance, moved to Nashville where she has found success as a choreographer, a percussionist and, most recently, as a dancer with the national-champion winning indoor football team, the Nashville Venom.

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ove-lund-alumni-spotlight

RU MBA prepared Lund for success in his native Denmark

Ove Lund, MBA '07 was born and raised on a farm in Jutland, Denmark. The experiences and knowledge he gained from his farming youth are beneficial in his position as a consultant for an agriculture knowledge center.

Lund also credits much of his career success to the masters of business education (MBA) degree he earned at Radford University.

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The proverbial "glass ceiling" was no obstacle for Kathy Johnson '71. 

She has blasted through it by holding numerous high-ranking government positions with the United States government. Johnson says her time at Radford helped her realize her goals in the criminal justice profession.

"Radford was a life-changing experience for me that I did not realize at the time.  I am truly grateful for the education afforded to me through grants, work scholarships and student loans.  I could not have achieved what I did in my career without that degree.”

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kathyjohnson71

The proverbial "glass ceiling" was no obstacle for Kathy Johnson '71. 

She has blasted through it by holding numerous high-ranking government positions with the United States government. Johnson says her time at Radford helped her realize her goals in the criminal justice profession.

"Radford was a life-changing experience for me that I did not realize at the time.  I am truly grateful for the education afforded to me through grants, work scholarships and student loans.  I could not have achieved what I did in my career without that degree.”

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PennyPenningtonspotlight

Alumna exemplifies persistence and creativity while pursuing her dreams.

Penny Pennington ’83, a writer, producer, and filmmaker, recently published her debut novel, "It Burns a Lovely Light.”  The inspiration for her novel came to her early in her career as she worked on films in Pittsburgh.  "We were constantly filming on sets built in abandoned steel mills; evidence of Pittsburgh’s abrupt loss of its great steel industry," said Pennington.  Impressed and inspired by stories of Pittsburgh’s reinvention and ultimate renaissance, she began compiling notes for a book. “Although it took fifteen years for me to finally put pen to paper.”

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alumni-spotlight-ad-template

Ned Ward '95 is giving voice to people's ideas and watching them come to life thanks to his RU education

Ned Ward '95, Group Vice President for New Jersey-based public relations, marketing and digital communications firm Stern + Associates, says his responsibilities include transforming the complex ideas of thought leaders to easily digestible concepts for the media and the general public to understand and apply.  "I give voice to people's ideas and help bring them to life," says Ward. As a new Radford University freshman in 1992, Ward was unsure of the path he wanted to take for his future.

Faculty members at Radford helped Ward find direction and his interests and talents in business and communication.

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alumni-spotlight-lisa-reed

Lisa Reed '96 discovered her love of fitness through opportunities and challenges.

For Reed, owner of Lisa Reed Fitness LLC, fitness is her life and career. Her Washington, D.C. based company provides group training, boot camps, weight loss and nutrition programs to national and international clients.  As a student at Radford, Reed was an energetic gymnast who fell in love with Radford's gymnastics program.

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alumni-spotlight-scott-moore

Told he might be a failure, Scott Moore '81 proved an RU education equals success.

Scott Moore '81 of Tampa, Florida, founder of Urban Body Clothing, Inc., is proof positive that a Radford education will take you to places and careers you've never imagined.

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alumni-spotlight-jake-crocker

Richmond businessman Jake Crocker '99 stays connected to his Radford roots

Jake Crocker ’99 used his time as a Radford student in the late 90s to find the direction and inspiration that have served him well on his journey to becoming a successful restaurateur. He is currently co-owner of five restaurants and a catering company.  In 2012, he was named one of the Greater Richmond area’s Top 3 Entrepreneurs by Richmond Magazine.  Business success hasn't always come easy for Crocker.  However, remembering a saying on a wall plaque in RU's Pocahontas Hall that he admired as a student, gave him the motivation to not give up.

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alumni-spotlight-farron-smith

Alumna keeps legacy of a First Lady alive

As co-founder of the Edith Bolling Wilson Homeplace Museum, Farron Smith '75 probably knows as much about United States President Woodrow Wilson's wife Edith than anyone. That knowledge and her determination to keep this unique First Lady's story alive for future generations have reaped huge dividends.

The entrepneurial spirit she embraced as a student at Radford College brought her to the forefront of a massive undertaking that required far more than just what can be learned from a history book.

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alumni-spotlight-slash-coleman

“The Neon Man and Me” Author Slash Coleman ’89 Publishes Memoir “The Bohemian Love Diaries”

Slash Coleman ‘89 admits that he enrolled at Radford University to get away from his eccentric, but loving, family of artists. “I actually thought it was on the coast.  I’d heard of Roanoke Island during my visits to the Outerbanks and I’d been surfing since I was 10 years old. Imagine my surprise when the Roanoke near Radford wasn’t the same one.  In fact, I was landlocked.” He says his time at RU was life-changing from his experiences on campus to his friends he made along the way.

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chris-covington-alumni-spotlight

Alumna Leaves the Lab to Lead National Fraternal Group

The Golden Gate Bridge is the backdrop when Chris Covington '90 takes her daily run. When she was a student at Radford, her daily life—which involved a good deal of running about then too—played out against the backdrop of a chemistry lab, meeting rooms and the beautiful campus that she loves.

Covington, a native of Virginia's Tidewater region now living in San Francisco, is the national president of Alpha Sigma Tau. She oversees the 100-year-old organization's strategic plan, budgets, investments, policies, staffing and facilities.  

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patrice-gentile-alumni-spotlight

Alumna Patrice Gentile creates a fashion career piece by piece

Patrice Gentile '07 knew she wanted to be a fashion designer when she enrolled at Radford University. What she didn't know was where that choice would take her. Near the halfway mark in her college career, she knew she wanted to start her own business. Out of that revelation was born Aliceanna clothing.

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curtin-martin-alumni-spotlight

Successful lawyer credits RU with inspiring him to excel

Curtis J. Martin II ’92 of Atlanta is one of the most respected and successful litigation attorneys in the city. He practices at Miller & Martin PLLC, a full-service law firm with about 200 attorneys.

As a student at Radford University, however, Martin wasn't sure the practice of law was where he would find his career. Martin received a B.B.A. in marketing. He credits RU with helping him learn how to think critically and was encouraged by professors who took great interest in his development.

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john-smith-sreen-alumni-spotlight

Alumnus John Smith-Sreen Works to Change the World

The water that sustains life and the electricity that sustains a modern lifestyle are often taken for granted in developed nations. Yet in John Smith-Sreen's world, no one takes them for granted. Smith-Sreen works for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) overseeing projects such as helping to maintain a clean water supply in Jordan and providing electricity to parts of Afghanistan.

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christopher-thompson-alumni-spotlight

RU alumnus minds The Gap

Clothing retailers have many tricks up their sleeves to make products more appealing. They know which shirts and pants go together, which belts pull the outfit together and which pose a mannequin should assume to grab the eye.

There is a kind of magic to elegantly presenting products for consumer consideration and, at GapKids, Radford University alumnus Christopher Thompson is now the man behind the curtain.

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alumni-spotlight-eric-claytor

Alumnus welcomes a new challenge in TV marketing

What makes for a successful college experience? Eric Claytor '94 says the keys are education, relationships and involvement.

As the newly appointed senior vice president of affiliate distribution and marketing for Entertainment Studios Networks (ESN), Claytor says his RU experience has helped him to move through the ranks of the challenging corporate world of television. "RU provided me with an environment to explore these areas with a support system that emphasized the qualities necessary towards achieving a fruitful career."

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carter-dages

Alumni says thank you by cranking his pedals

As children, we hop on our bicycles for the freedom of our own transportation.  As we get older, we do it for the exercise and to feel like a kid again.  Carter Dages, 1983 accounting alumnus, is cranking his pedals for more than 3,800 miles across the country to say thank you.  His goal is to raise $50,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Mechanicsville, Va. resident began his trek in Yorktown on May 2. He’s following the TransAmerica Trail to Oregon.  He will then pick up the Western Express to San Francisco.  Dages thinks it will take him three to four months on his classic 1991 Schwinn road bike to complete the ride.

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eileen-bramlet-alumni-spotlight

Just two years after earning her master’s degree in English at Radford University, Eileen Bramlet '82, MS '84 had a hand in helping to build a "household name"-- America Online (AOL). 

She is currently the Vice President of Marketing for the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA).  She often remembers being the young professional in the budding information technology powerhouse, AOL.

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DylanRoukousspotlight

Dylan Roukous '10 has a future so bright, he has to wear shades. 

Roukous started his own business Nectar Sunglasses in 2011 with his high school friend Sean Holmes.  "Nectar is about a year-and-a-half old and is basically a brand inspired by the 'sweet life.'  We wanted a brand that was inexpensive but looked good and felt good," says Roukous.  His accessories can now be found in more than 250 stores and is distributed in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, New Caledonia, Philippines, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland and Costa Rica.

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