RADFORD – The recent annual State of the University address had a decidedly pandemic feel, as President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D, spoke virtually to the community rather than in person.
Hemphill touched on several initiatives on campus and also spoke about how COVID-19 has changed not only the world, but also the Radford University campus and operations.
“Let me be clear, although we are coming together in a much different format, the State of the University is strong,” he said. “This virtual platform has become a staple of our campus and our society. The pandemic has taught us a great deal. We have expanded traditional boundaries. We have embraced emerging challenges. And, most of all, we learned that no matter what, Highlanders rise.”
We have proven that we are not defined by our campus, but we are defined by our character,” he added. “And, without question, Radford University is defined by its people.”
Hemphill also updated the community on the progress of the new hotel project planned for Tyler Avenue.
In last year’s State of the University Address, I announced a public private partnership to bring a world-class hotel to Radford,” said Hemphill. “Today, I am excited to share the continued progress that has been made over the past year.”
Radford University has partnered with a team of private companies working collectively to deliver the project, including: S.B. Ballard, of Virginia Beach, as the general contractor; Blur Workshop, of Atlanta, Georgia, as the designer; Preston Hollow Capital, of Dallas, Texas, as the capital partner; and Aimbridge Hospitality, of Arlington, Texas, the largest third-party management company in the U.S., as the manager of the hotel.
“It truly is a world-class team that has been assembled and continues to be led by JLL in great partnership with the Radford University Foundation and the City of Radford,” he said. “It will be an upscale, full-service boutique hotel.”
“The hotel will be designed to reflect our local area,” he continued. “Our hotel will be unique. The University’s seal will take a prominent role in the design features within the hotel. Our tradition of hard work will be on display for all to see. Our hotel will tell a story. It will tell the story of our great institution, the City of Radford, and the New River Valley. It will highlight our region’s history, featuring the role and impact of Radford University, as well as the life and journey of Mary Draper Ingles.
“In addition to a powerful story, our hotel will have a distinguished name and strong reputation.
Without question, the Commonwealth of Virginia is home to many notable hotels that provide guests with one-of-a-kind experiences. Our hotel will rival the experience and uniqueness of places like:
The Cavalier, The Homestead and The Jefferson! Our hotel, The Highlander, will be a destination in our region and a showcase of our history.”
Hemphill said he is proud the hotel project has continued despite the pandemic, which has sidelined many construction projects around the country.
“Very few hotels in the early planning stages survived COVID past late spring,” he said. “However, The Highlander was one of those that not only continued with planning throughout the summer, but is on track for completion in 2023. This is a testament of the team’s belief in the quality of this project and its tremendous location on Tyler Avenue. Like each of you, I cannot wait to walk into The Highlander for the very first time and be amazed at the level of service and quality that will be available for our community and our guests.
To read Hemphill’s full state of the university address, log onto www.radford.edu.