Presidential Inauguration at Radford University

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Jennifer Bennett | jbennett49@radford.edu

The presidential inauguration of Brian O. Hemphill took place on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 on Moffett Lawn. Nearly 3,000 students, faculty and staff of sister schools were in attendance, gathered to witness this historical event. Before the speeches started, there were performances from the Wind Symphony and Radford’s Choruses.

Hemphill is the university’s seventh president. Hemphill expressed in his inaugural address that he is going to strive for excellence, accountability, transparency and a student-centered campus. The main six areas that Hemphill plans to focus on during his presidency are: brand identity, academic excellence and research, student success, strategic enrollment growth, economic development and community partnerships, philanthropic giving and alumni engagement.

Hemphill was the tenth president of West Virginia State University in Charleston West Virginia. Hemphill also has a myriad of other accomplishments both professionally and educationally that makes him qualified to become our next president.

During his inaugural address, Hemphill expressed his dedication to bettering the university.

“The enormity of the trust you have instilled in me is my constant companion. It is present in every action and every decision that I have made and will make on behalf of the university,” said Hemphill.

Hemphill also took time out of his speech to thank the many people who have been there to support him and offer advice.

“To the students, faculty, staff and friends of Radford University, we say thank you. You’ve provided constant support, unwavering passion, and sincere optimism as we have navigated the past few months both personally and professionally,” he stated.

During his inaugural address, Hemphill noted that Radford was different than any other university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and we should not be comparing ourselves to them. He continued on by saying that Radford is willing to work with students regardless of their academic history to make them more well-rounded students.

Hemphill also mentioned the importance of Radford in southwest Virginia.

“Without question, the New River Valley is the place where family and community come first. As you drove into Radford today, you may have noticed a sign that reads “Radford is the heart of the New River Valley.”

There were also many other people who spoke before Hemphill gave his speech. Jacinda Jones, Student Government Association expressed her excitement about working with the new president. The keynote address was given by E. Gordon Gee, West Virginia University’s president.

In Gee’s speech, he expressed why he believes that universities exist and what they are trying to accomplish with their student body.

“The reason we are here is the idea that we will make the world a better place with the products of the mind,” said Gee.

In the official inaugural program, there were messages from people such as the the Secretary of Education, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, SGA, Board of Visitors and the City of Radford.

“Since 1910, Radford students and faculty members have worked diligently to build a better future for Virginia and the nation. Dr. Hemphill brings with him decades of experience in higher education, with a focus on student affairs. With President Hemphill’s guidance, Radford will continue on its path of academic excellence,” stated Terence R. McAuliffe, the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Bruce E. Brown, the Mayor of the City of Radford also had comments that he wished to share about the presidential inauguration of Dr. Brian O. Hemphill.

“Radford City is so privileged to be home to Radford University for more than 100 years, and we understand and appreciate the deep bonds between the city and the university. We pledge our continued support and commitment as Dr. Hemphill inspires the next generation of leaders in the Commonwealth and beyond,” stated Brown.