News Journal

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 • USPS 387-780 • • 75 cents Radford University celebrates its 110th anniversary in a quiet way In March 2020, Radford Uni- versity marked a historic milestone by reaching 110 years of High- landers transforming the world. Since its founding charter in 1910, the institution has focused on a bright future based on ex- cellence, innovation and service to students and the community while maintaining a tradition of teaching and a commitment to change. This semester, in Radford Uni- versity’s 11th decade, is historic in its own right. But Highlanders have proven time and time again they are responsive to change, re- silient when times get tough and real through it all. Radford Uni- versity’s students have been rising for 110 years. The university’s commitment to producing changemakers start- ed with founding president John Preston McConnell. His advo- cacy for women’s education set him apart from his scholarly peers and carved the institution’s influ- ence in Virginia’s emerging public school system. Much has changed and grown since Dr. McConnell laid the foundation for a university that would expand his vision of be- coming a strong, steadfast and proven institution. What started as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women has grown ex- ponentially ever since. From 1938 through 1951, President David Wilbur Peters oversaw the transition of Radford to the women’s division of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and guided the school through tremendous post-World War II growth. Be- tween 1952 and 1972, during the presidency of Dr. Charles Knox Martin, Radford became the larg- est women’s college on the East Coast. Enrollment increased from 823 to 3,670 students and 19 buildings were constructed. President Donald Newton Dedmon followed suit by embrac- ing change and leading efforts to double the institution’s recruit- ment with the admission of male undergraduates in the fall of 1972. He instituted a groundbreaking university governance system that embodied student representation. During Dr. Dedmon’s presidency, the Radford University Founda- tion, Inc., was established to ad- vance and further the purpose and reach of the institution. Dr. Douglas Covington, RU’s fifth president and first African- American leader, broke racial bar- riers when he was named to head up the university in 1995. He led efforts to raise $71 million and provide more financial support to increased numbers of students each year. Since the university’s centennial in 2010, the campus has changed academically and physically. That important work was led by Pe- nelopeWard Kyle, J.D. during her tenure as the sixth president from 2005 through 2016. In the fall of 2012, the 116,000-square-foot Davis Col- lege of Business and Econom- ics became home for students to adapt to a rapidly changing global economy with new educational technology, including a signature trading room. This building em- braced Radford University’s his- torical architecture and set the bar high for future construction. In 2014, Radford Univer- sity opened the Student Rec- reation and Wellness Center, a 110,000-square-foot space that promotes student health and wellbeing. The center features an indoor graded track, a multi-use court, racquetball courts and class- rooms. Classes began in 2016 in the 114,000-square-foot Center for the Sciences, which has become a premier science destination for students and the community with new learning spaces like the Plan- etarium, the Museum of Earth Sciences and the Forensic Science Institute. In 2016, the College of Hu- PHOTO COURTESY OF COMMONWEALTH SENIOR LIVING Birthday girl Bernadine Lester talks to her daughter, Kathy, through a window, social distancing forced by the coronavirus. Christiansburg woman celebrates 104th birthday in different way Bernadine Lester turned 104 this past week, but the birthday did not come with family and a big birthday cake. Instead, like everything else about daily life, the COVID-19 pan- demic forced changes in the way Les- ter celebrated this milestone achieved by few people in the United States. Her daughter, Kathy Lester Hall, has continued to celebrate her moth- er’s milestones, and the coronavirus did not stop her this time. It just came with some adjustments. “We would have liked to give her a hug,” Hall said, but under the cir- cumstances, she couldn’t The staff at Commonwealth Se- nior Living in Christiansburg pro- vided decorations inside the facility while Hall sat in a rocking chair on the front porch, talking to her moth- er through a window. Hall also held a ZOOM meeting for other family members to wish her mother a happy birthday. Twenty-eight family mem- bers took part. The Christiansburg woman has lived through a lot of changes during her lifetime. She was born in 1916. Woodrow Wilson narrowly defeated Republi- can Charles E. Hughes for another term in the White House that year. World War I raged across the pond in Europe. Wilson signed legislation creating the National Park Service, and the Boy Scouts were granted a Congressional Charter. Lester has lived through the Span- ish Flu epidemic of the early 1900s and the scare of polio in the late 50s. Now she is dealing with COVID-19. Like others who grew up in the early 1920s, life wasn’t easy for her. Lester’s mother, Nora, died from the flu epidemic when she was only two Marty Gordon Contributing writer Spring brings natural beauty to the city Radford police investigating juvenile's death The Radford City Police Depart- ment reported Sunday afternoon that an investigation into a domes- tic abuse situation had been updat- ed and changed to an investigation into the death of a juvenile. The original report from the po- lice department said that on Thurs- day, April 17, 2020, at approxi- mately 2:12 a.m., units from the Radford City Police Department responded to an Emergency Medi- cal Services call in reference to an unresponsive individual in the 100 block of Ninth Street. The individual was subsequently transported by Radford Fire and Emergency Medical Services to the New River Valley Medical Center. Radford City Police conducted an investigation and determined a domestic incident using a weap- on had occurred. Warrants were obtained, and the Radford City Emergency Response Team arrested Andrew Johnathan Byrd, age 33, of Radford at 8:25 a.m. without incident. At the time, Byrd was charged with abduction, strangulation, and assault and battery of a household member and was remanded to the New River Valley Regional Jail with no bond. Andrew Johnathan Byrd Virginia small businesses turn to local banks for funding help In a clear indication of just how desperate times are in the commonwealth, Vir- ginia’s banks have provided more than $8.7 billion to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Pro- gram (PPP). Another $3.2 billion in pending applica- tions awaited funding as of last Thursday. Local banks of all sizes have been working around- the-clock to provide loans through the PPP, admin- istered through the Small Business Administration. They have processed 40,371 applications. Many more PPP loan ap- plications did not gain SBA approval before the $349 billion authorized for PPP loans was exhausted last week. An overnight Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) survey of member banks revealed more than 22,726 unfunded small business ap- plications totaling requests for $3.235 billion in PPP loans. The Virginia Bankers Association estimates this data to be conservative, as bankers have stated that even more small businesses were in the process of preparing to apply. Nationwide, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has reported that PPP has provided payroll assistance to more than 1.6 million small businesses in all 50 states and territories. Nearly 5,000 lenders participated in this critical program. No lender accounted for more than 5% of the total dol- lar amount of the program. The vast majority of these loans—74% of them—were for under $150,000, dem- onstrating the accessibility of this program to even the smallest of small businesses. The PPP provided funds to a wide variety of industries in all sectors of the economy. The banking industry continues to urge congress to protect more American fam- ilies and their jobs and busi- nesses by allocating addi- tional funding and to move very quickly on the $250 billion addition to the PPP currently being discussed. “As we wait for Congress to allocate more funding to PPP, small business owners should continue to consult with their bank, as there are other programs and alter- natives available with more probably coming soon,” said Bruce Whitehurst, president and CEO of the Virginia Bankers Association. “Banks are working with small busi- nesses and individuals affect- ed by this crisis every day to help them as much as they possibly can.” See 104th birthday , page 3 Students from around the world stand on campus with their luggage in Radford’s early years. PHOTOS COURTESY RADFORD UNIVERSITY The College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences Building opened in 2016. PHOTO BY ETHAN BELL The City of Radford has erupted in flowering trees and plants, bringing colorful beauty to the city. Temperatures are expected to be in the 60s for the rest of the week, dipping into the 50s on Sunday. See Anniversary , page 3