Benefactors and beneficiaries gather for the annual RU Partners in Excellence luncheon



Nancy Artis ’73 speaks during the Partners in Excellence luncheon.

Radford University hosted its annual Partners in Excellence luncheon in Kyle Hall recently, kicking off the University’s Homecoming weekend.

With 220 guests in attendance, the event brought together and honored scholarship benefactors and student scholarship recipients from across campus.

Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lowery opened this year’s luncheon by introducing Nancy Artis ’73, Chair of the Radford University Foundation Board of Directors and benefactor of the Artis Endowed Scholarship and Artis Distinguished Scholars. Artis announced that in 2019, the Radford University Foundation had over $1.7 million in spending support to fund 700 scholarships.


The objectives of every one of the scholarship donors who are sitting here at the tables with you are to make higher education more affordable, to recognize and support outstanding students such as you to achieve your goals and aspirations and to encourage other students to attend Radford University – a University that recognizes talent and need and engages in supporting its students,” said Artis. “As donors, our reward comes from the contribution each of you will make to society over the next number of years – not from any expectation that you will pay us back, but rather, our expectation is that you will pay it forward.”

Associate Provost for Academic Programs Jeanne Mekolichick, Ph.D., shared several videos featuring Radford University programs that students have been able to experience thanks to donor support. Donors have helped to fund research programs in Patagonia and the Amazon rainforest, as well as a study abroad experience in South Korea.

Mekolichick introduced one student in particular who has greatly benefited from the help of scholarships: Sadie Friend, class of 2020.

Friend studies forensic anthropology at Radford University. As the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, Honors Academy Scholarship and Boyd Forensic and Anthropological Sciences Scholarship, Friend acknowledged the doors that have been opened for her thanks to donor support.

Friend has been able to participate in several research opportunities at Radford University. Her honors capstone project, which she has worked on alongside Radford University Assistant Professor of Anthropology Cassidy J. Yoder Urista, Ph.D., has focused on the development of improved methods of determining sex from the human clavicle. As a type one diabetic, she has conducted research on the identifying skeletal signatures of diabetes in conjunction with her mentor, Radford University Eminent Professor of Anthropology Donna Boyd, Ph.D. Friend also spent last summer studying abroad on St. Eustatius in the Dutch Caribbean where she excavated slave burials and studied the skeletal stresses associated with slavery.

The Partners in Excellence luncheon brought together and honored scholarship benefactors and student scholarship recipients from across campus.

You, as generous donors, have served as role models for me in what can be accomplished when you use your knowledge, resources and good hearts to affect change and make a difference in people’s lives,” said Friend. “You are the reason that the reason is Radford.”

Bailey Black

Radford University