Beamer announced as RU spring commencement speaker

More than 1800 students are expected to graduate.

Beamer has received national recognition as a successful and admired collegiate football coach. After 29 seasons at Virginia Tech, Beamer retired following the 2015 season, having earned 23 straight winning seasons and 23 consecutive bowl appearances. Prior to Virginia Tech, he coached at Murray State and The Citadel.

Beamer began his coaching career at Radford High School as an assistant under another coaching legend, Norman Lineburg, while working on his graduate degree at Radford.

“The Radford family is so pleased to be able to recognize an outstanding alumnus and someone who has given so much to the New River Valley,” said President Brian O. Hemphill. “Throughout Frank’s professional career, he has garnered the respect of many for his dedication to his program and the development of student-athletes. He embodies the spirit of Radford University by his commitment to positively shaping the lives of young people and serving the Commonwealth.”

Beamer’s role as the 2017 Spring Commencement speaker is a natural fit, given his family’s rich history in education and deep ties with Radford University.

Beamer, who received his Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling in 1972 from then Radford College, grew up in nearby Carroll County. He was influenced early in life by his mother, Herma, who graduated from what was then the Radford State Teachers College in 1936.

She spent her career as a teacher, which inspired Beamer to establish Herma’s Readers in 2008, promoting literacy among local children. She retired from Fancy Gap Elementary School with 30 years of service.

Beamer’s sisters, Billie Jean and Betty, also graduated from Radford College in 1961 and 1966, respectively. Several other family members also proudly call Radford University their alma mater.

Beamer resides in Blacksburg with his wife, Cheryl.

The Radford University Commencement website has additional details for the main and individual college ceremonies, as well as the College of Graduate Studies and Research Hooding and Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 5.

Founded in 1910, Radford University is a comprehensive public university of 9,400 students that has received national recognition for many of its undergraduate and graduate academic programs, as well as its sustainability initiatives. Radford University serves the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation through a wide range of academic, cultural, human service and research programs. Well known for its strong faculty/student bonds, innovative use of technology in the learning environment and vibrant student life on a beautiful 204-acre American classical campus, Radford University offers students many opportunities to get involved and succeed in and out of the classroom. The university offers 67 degree programs in 38 disciplines and three certificates at the undergraduate level; 22 master’s programs in 17 disciplines and three doctoral programs at the graduate level; 13 post-baccalaureate certificates and one post-master’s certificate. A Division I member of the NCAA and Big South Athletic Conference, Radford University competes in 16 men’s and women’s varsity athletics. With over 270 clubs and organizations, Radford University offers many opportunities for student engagement, leadership development and community service. Learn more at

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