Partners in Excellence celebrates benefactors, beneficiaries

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“Let us never forget the amazing donors before us today, for they have helped make our dreams come true,” said Deanna Friedel ’17 to more than 200 guests at the Radford University Foundation’s annual “Partners in Excellence Celebration.”


An elementary education major and the recipient of the John Ray and Nancy Sullivan Ray Scholarship, the Peter DeWitt Pruden and Phyllis Stancill Pruden Scholarship, and the Lancaster County Teacher Leadership Scholarship, Friedel spoke on behalf of this year’s scholarship recipients. “My scholarships allowed me to learn how to become a better educator so that I may help improve the lives of others,” she continued.

The annual luncheon, held April 7, 2017, in Kyle Hall, gives scholarship beneficiaries and benefactors the unique opportunity to meet one another, while also serving to honor both parties. Interim Vice President for University Advancement Bruce Cunningham highlighted the importance of the luncheon during his introductory remarks, stating, “This is one of the most meaningful events we have all year because of what it represents.”

Cunningham continued, “In the last year, the Radford University Foundation paid out over $1.6 million to more than 500 scholarships.”

The generosity of scholarship benefactors has allowed students to pursue their academic dreams that, without them, may have been out of reach.

“I am a first-generation college student,” said nursing student Kimberly Perry, the beneficiary of the Dr. Steve Lerch Family Scholarship. “My scholarship helped remove my financial burden so that I can continue to make my family proud.”

Megan Ward, a sophomore theater major and recipient of the Nancy Necessary Pridemore Scholarship and the Georgia Anne Snyder-Falkinham Scholarship, said that meeting with her benefactors has given her the confidence she needs in order to succeed. “It is wonderful to meet those who are providing the scholarship support. It is great to see how much they care about you.

“I would not be here without the scholarship support that I have received. It is a confidence boost that says that I can do great things in my life.”

Sophomore elementary education student Megan Kapalin echoed Ward’s sentiment. “Receiving scholarship support has encouraged me to do well in my academic career.” Kapalin is the beneficiary of the Virginia Strader Nunn Memorial Scholarship as well as the Peter DeWitt Pruden and Phyllis Stancill Pruden Scholarship.

Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill highlighted excellence in life during his speech to the luncheon guests. “Today is the day to celebrate the benefactors and the hard-working students. Since 1910, more than 72 thousand students have become alumni. Because of you, Radford University students are prepared for a bright future.”

“Every time I am on campus, I get to see your investment dollars at work in the lives of the students that you have touched,” said Dale Parris, MBA ’85, M.S. ’10, president of the Radford University Foundation, Inc., to the luncheon crowd.

Speaking on behalf of scholarship benefactors, Michael Deneka, benefactor of the Eleanor M. Deneka Memorial Nursing Scholarship, highlighted the positive impact that giving has on the benefactors themselves.

“When you give your time, your talent and your treasure, you touch lives. Those lives, in return, touch your own,” Deneka said.

Dorothy “Dot” Moore ’50, benefactor of the Virginia Strader Nunn Memorial Scholarship, agreed with Deneka’s statement.

“I love meeting with students. All of the recipients I’ve met have all graduated and are now teaching,” she said. “It makes donating worth it.”