Dear Radford Family:
It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the passing early this morning of Radford University Board of Visitors member Mary Ann Jennings Hovis ’65. Mary Ann was one of our most loyal, generous and dedicated alumni whose “can-do” attitude was infectious and an inspiration to many generations of the Radford Family.
Mary Ann earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science from Radford University in 1965. While a student, she served on the Executive Council of the Student Education Association, was a member of the Cotillion Club, served as President of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, and was a member of the Radford Redcoats. Upon graduation, she went on to conduct graduate work at the University of Tennessee.
She was a strong and successful business woman, serving as a trailblazer in the information technology industry. During her 25-year career, she helped create important collaborations between major corporations and the federal government, while serving in a variety of leadership positions in sales and marketing with firms such as Northern Virginia Telecom Federal Systems, Pyramid Technology, Contel Federal Systems, GTE and Warner H. Suss Associates.
Throughout her very demanding career, Mary Ann remained a steadfast supporter and impassioned ambassador for Radford University. She served her alma mater as a member of the Radford University Board of Visitors from 2002 through 2010, including terms as Rector of the Board of Visitors in 2004–2005 and 2005–2006. She once again joined the Board of Visitors as a member in 2015.
Mary Ann was a shining example of an alumna who gave of her time, talent and treasure. She has generously served her alma mater in so many ways, such as a member of the Board of Directors of the Radford University Foundation, Radford University’s Business Industry Council, Presidential Search Committee, Presidential Transition Committee, and the Commission for the Future of Radford University. She served as Tri-Chair for two Radford University capital campaign committees and as president of the Radford University Alumni Association. In addition to some of these official roles, she was known to speak to classes and give sage advice to many students throughout the years, as well as hosting events congratulating new freshmen on their selection to attend Radford and participating in Advocacy Day in Richmond with our students. She was a true role model for all of our students.
She believed in our students’ success and personally invested in their futures through her support of the Mary Ann Jennings Hovis Scholarship, the Dr. Edward Jervey Scholarship, the Presidential Scholars program, the Covington Center, the Selu Conservancy and Radford University Athletics, among other initiatives.
To honor Mary Ann’s life and legacy, a memorial service will be held in Northern Virginia at a later date. As the university learns of additional details regarding services and arrangements, I will share those with you.
As a Radford family, we share our personal and collective sorrow for losing this wonderful alumna, friend, benefactor and leader. We have Mary Ann’s devoted husband, Bob, and the entire Jennings-Hovis family, as well as Mary Ann’s many friends and colleagues, in our hearts during this difficult time. Mary Ann’s selfless legacy lives on through the tremendous difference in the lives of generations of Highlanders she served and this great university she so loved.
With deepest sympathies and in lasting tribute,
Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.