Senator Mark Warner speaking at commencement

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LeeAnn Scarberry |

Senator Mark Warner will serve as Radford University’s Spring 2016 Commencement speaker on Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m.

“We are especially honored to welcome Senator Warner, one of Virginia’s most dedicated public servants, as our Spring 2016 Commencement speaker,” said President Penelope Kyle in the official announcement. “As Virginia’s current senior senator, and during his tenure as governor, he has exemplified bipartisan leadership and embraced innovation in the Commonwealth, especially in his support of higher education and entrepreneurship.”

According to Vice President of University Relations Joe Carpenter, suggestions for commencement speaker are made to the president’s office. They come from various groups of people, including the Commencement Planning Committee, the campus community, alumni, community members, and government and industry leaders.

Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008, and was reelected to a second term in 2014. He also served as Governor of Virginia from 2002 to 2006.

Warner was the first person in his family to go to college.  While there, he earned his B.A. from George Washington University, before going on to get his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

Warner was a successful technology and business leader in Virginia for 20 years before becoming Governor of Virginia.

“Based on his diverse experiences in a number of leadership positions within government and private industry following his own time in college, Senator Warner will be able to share his perspectives with RU’s graduating class of undergraduate and graduate students as they enter the next stages of their careers,” Carpenter said.

Warner is a firm believer in making sure that everyone in Virginia has access to quality education without the burden of student debt.

He introduced the Dynamic Student Loan Repayment Act as a way to make it easier for recent graduates to manage their debt. This allows graduates to pay loans based on their incomes.

“I feel very honored that he chose our school to give our commencement speech instead of some other school,” Senior Holle’ Draughn said. “And also very proud of Radford and the staff for allowing us to have these opportunities to hear someone such as Mark Warner speak to us on such an important day in our lives.”