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Radford University
Established 1910
Type Public university
Endowment US $58.6 million[1]
President Penelope "Penny" W. Kyle
Provost Wilbur W. Stanton
Faculty 403
Students 9,552
Undergraduates 8,406
Postgraduates 1,146
Location United States Radford, Virginia, U.S.
Campus 177 acres (0.72 km2)
Colors Red, and White            
Nickname Highlanders
Mascot Highlanders
Athletics NCAA Division I, Big South Conference

Radford University is one of Virginia's eight doctoral-degree granting public universities. Originally founded in 1910, and now serving nearly 10,000 enrolled students, Radford offers comprehensive curricula for undergraduates in more than 100 fields, and graduate programs including the M.F.A., M.B.A. and specialized doctoral programs in health-related professions.[2]



Radford's undergraduate programs emphasize the liberal arts, business, and teacher education. The graduate and undergraduate programs in business administration offered by the College of Business and Economics at Radford University are accredited by the AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Radford is among the 15 percent of the world’s business schools that have achieved business and/or accounting accreditation from AACSB.

The university has a student/faculty ratio of 19:1 with an average class size of 30 to 40. Graduate students teach less than 5% of classes, so undergraduates work more closely with senior faculty than they might at a larger research university.[3]

The university is organized into six undergraduate colleges: Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, Business and Economics, Education and Human Development, Health and Human Services, Science and Technology, and Visual and Performing Arts. Within the colleges, some fields are designated as "Schools," such as the School of Nursing and School of Social Work (in the College of Health and Human Services), and the School of Communication (in the College of Humanities & Behavioral Sciences). The latter brings together former departments of media studies (journalism, broadcasting, Web design and advertising) and communication (speech and public relations).

The College of Graduate and Extended Education offers 19 degree programs in fields including art, business, communication, counseling, criminal justice, education, English, music, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology and social work. [1] The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has authorized three doctoral programs at Radford, in counseling psychology, physical therapy and nursing practice. The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program in Counseling Psychology admitted its first students in the fall of 2008. The doctorate in physical therapy program was scheduled to start in summer 2009. The university said its first Doctor of Nursing Practice students would begin studies in an online distance-learning format in the fall of 2010.[4]

More than 80 percent of faculty members hold doctorates or other terminal degrees (M.F.A., etc.) in their fields. Eight Radford professors have received Virginia’s highest honor for faculty since the inception of the state’s Outstanding Faculty Award in 1986. One of them, Radford anthropology professor Donna Boyd, was named 2006 U.S. Professor of the Year for master’s level universities and colleges by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching. Since 1981, nine Radford faculty members have been selected as Fulbright Scholars to teach or research in other countries.

Special programs include:
Study Abroad
Honors Academy
RU Connections freshmen living/learning communities
Internships, co-ops, practica and service learning
Army ROTC, leading to commission in the U.S. Army
Undergraduate research opportunities

Radford was the first university in Virginia to integrate wireless technology campus wide.

Nearly 93 percent of Radford graduates obtain employment or enroll in graduate school within 3 to 8 months of graduation from the university.

Radford was recognized in a national study as an "Institution of Excellence in the First College Year" for the breadth of quality of programs that assist student in their transition to college life.

U.S.News & World Report has ranked Radford in the South's top 25 master's level public universities in its Guide to America's Best Colleges.

In 2007, the Radford University Board of Visitors approved the University’s Strategic Plan, dubbed "7-17, Forging a Bold New Future," with a goal of establishing Radford as one of the top 50 master's degree granting universities in the nation by 2017.

In 2009 Radford University underwent an internally directed and budget-driven academic program review resulting in the elimination of some liberal arts courses as well as smaller academic departments such as anthroplogy and geology. Students enrolled in such programs were permitted to finish their study in those areas, but no new students may enroll. The program cuts, as well as other university initiatives, spawned an "anti-Penny" movement (referring to university President Penelope "Penny" Kyle). Kyle's program cuts, strengthened campus police force, and elimination of the university's tartan theme and colors, worsened the divide between many students and the president. Some students point out that, despite university budget cuts, Kyle's compensation package has not been reduced.

Community and campus

Radford University is an 177-acre (0.72 km2) campus located in a residential area of Radford, Virginia. The town is located in the Virginia Highlands, between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains at a double bend in the New River. Nearly all of the 35 administrative, academic, student services, and residence halls are located on three quadrangles and a new pedestrian thoroughfare in a 76-acre (310,000 m2) area, while a large adjoining area along the New River holds a variety of the university's athletic facilities.

Student Life
3,150 students live on campus in 15 residence halls
More than 200 clubs and organizations
NCAA Division 1 Big South Conference athletics
400 intramural sports teams
Events, performances and lectures throughout the academic year

Radford is located on exits 105 and 109 of Interstate 81, with accessibility to nearby I-77.

About five miles from campus is the Selu Conservancy, a 376-acre (1.52 km2) preserve and conference center owned by the University Foundation and bordering the Little River.


Fall 2007 Semester statistics:
Number of students: 10,569
88% undergraduate, 12% graduate
57% female, 43% male
45 states and 47 countries represented


The John Preston McConnell Library, dedicated on June 4, 1932.

Radford was founded in 1910 by Dr. John Preston McConnell as a women's college as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Radford. The college was a normal school and offered a two-year degree in "rural arts".[5]

In 1924 the school was renamed the State Teachers College at Radford and began an evolution towards a true college. Its primary focus was on training teachers for the rural Appalachian region nearby. In 1943 the college was renamed the Women's Division of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and merged into what is now known as the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) which was located 15 miles (24 km) away in Blacksburg, Virginia.

As the 1960s began, Virginia began to desegregate its gender specific schools, and Virginia Tech began to admit women on its main campus. This led to a separation in 1964 and a renaming as Radford College. Over the next decade, the "finishing school" atmosphere of the college was dismantled. In 1972 the college began to admit men, and developed a graduate school at that time.

In 1979 the school became Radford University. Today, the school is a comprehensive state university. Fall semester 2005 enrollment was 9,552. About 45% of the students come from southwestern Virginia, 40% from other parts of Virginia, and 15% from out-of-state. Penelope W. Kyle, J.D., M.B.A., became Radford's sixth president June 1, 2005, after a career in business and government, most notably as director of the state lottery.

Radford also has a wide variety of Greek life. Among it are chapters such as Alpha Sigma Alpha, Delta Chi, Phi Sigma Kappa, Theta Chi, Phi Sigma Sigma, Delta Zeta, Kappa Delta Rho, Alpha Sigma Phi, Alpha Kappa Psi, Sigma Pi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Phi Sigma Kappa, Alpha Chi Rho, Sigma Kappa, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Sigma Nu, Kappa Kappa Kappa, and many more.

In 1913, Radford University's school colors started off as purple and gray. In the 1970s, the colors were changed to the MacFarlane tartan of red, white, blue and green, to go with the school's Scottish theme. More recently, despite opposition from some students and alumni, the university administration abandoned the unique tartan scheme and adopted red and white as the school's athletic colors.


Radford Highlanders logo

The university's teams remain known as the Highlanders (in honor of the region's Scots-Irish heritage), and compete in the Big South Conference. Radford offers 19 NCAA varsity sports for men and women. The Radford men's basketball team won the Big South Conference tournament in 1998 and 2009. Radford also won the Big South Conference Men's Tennis Championship in 2007, 2008 & 2009 as well as the Big South Softball Championship in 2009.

The Radford men's Rugby team won the Division 2 National Championship in 2003 & 2008.

Student athletes have exclusive use of the recently renovated Dedmon Center, a recreational and convocation complex that opened in 1981. The Dedmon Center features a 1/6-mile indoor jogging track, five racquetball courts, a weight-training room, locker rooms, and several team rooms. The main arena features a main basketball floor and a secondary volleyball arena for intercollegiate competition and four recreational courts for basketball or volleyball. The complex features adjoining facilities, including intermural soccer, American football and softball fields, and intercollegiate fields and courts for baseball, softball, field hockey and tennis. The Patrick D. Cupp Stadium adds an intercollegiate soccer, lacrosse and track and field complex.

Notable alumni


Richard S. Alvarez
Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer
Danny M. Kemp
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Jo Ann Kiernan
Special Assistant to the President
Norleen K. Pomerantz
Vice President for Student Affairs
Wilbur W. Stanton
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Board of Visitors

Radford University is governed by a 13-member board that was created under Virginia state law. Eleven of the members are appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth and serve four-year terms. Each year the Board also selects a student and a faculty member to serve as advisory representatives on the Board.

Office of the President

Office of the Provost

  • Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith
  • Dr. Wilbur Stanton, July 1, 2007 - Present


  • 2007-08 Catalog and resource books provided by Radford University.

External links

Coordinates: 37°08′19″N 80°33′27″W / 37.13870°N 80.55759°W / 37.13870; -80.55759

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