May 9, 2014
Dear Members of the RU Class of 2014,
On behalf of all of our Radford University family, I want to extend my congratulations to you, your family and friends. Our commencement ceremonies are meant to recognize your hard work and celebrate your achievements in completing your academic pursuits. You should be proud, as should all of those who supported and assisted you along the way, of achieving your goals and forging a path to realizing your dreams for the future.
In addition to extending my heartfelt congratulations to you, I am also writing to inform you that I will not be able to celebrate with you in person this weekend. For the first time since I have been President here at RU, I will not be able to be present at our commencement ceremonies. Instead, I will be sitting in the audience beaming with pride, like your families and friends, at another graduation ceremony. I will be watching my daughter walk across the stage and receive her diploma. I will certainly miss being with you, but I hope you understand only something as important and meaningful as the graduation of a family member could keep me from being here at Radford.
When I informed the RU Board of Visitors that my daughter’s graduation date coincided with RU’s, their unanimous reaction was that I should join my family on this special date. The Rector of the Radford University Board of Visitors, Linda Whitley-Taylor, a 1986 graduate of RU and a mother herself, has generously agreed to lead RU’s Commencement Ceremony in my absence.
I am reminded that with our busy lives and demanding work schedules, it can become easy to postpone special times with our families. I am grateful that I will have the unique opportunity, like many of your parents will have this weekend, to enjoy that memorable moment with family. It will be a special gift to me this Mother’s Day weekend.
Completing the academic work required to receive your college degree is not an easy task. You likely met success because of the unwavering support of your family, friends and the dedicated faculty we are privileged to have at Radford University. Remember that graduation is as much recognition of your accomplishments as it is acknowledgement of the support you received along the way.
If I were at Commencement with you this weekend, I would share this simple advice: as you embark on the next stage of your life, you will become busy and preoccupied with the myriad details of day-to-day life. Being with family will become a priceless opportunity. Please cherish every opportunity you have with your family. And as you take on increased leadership roles within your career, I ask that you set the example and publicly embrace the importance of family in your life and that of your colleagues.
Commencement is your moment, and no one deserves it more. So, pause to bask in your achievements and celebrate with your friends and loved ones. You have earned it. Then go forth and keep discovering, keep creating, and keep inspiring. You have the tools, you have the will, and you have the aspirations. You also have my deep gratitude, because during the time you have been here with us, you have made Radford University a better place. Congratulations! You will be in my thoughts this weekend.
With my very best wishes,
President Penelope W. Kyle