Thursday, July 28, 2011

Student Center Update: July 28

The temporary wall that closes off what was once the main entrance to the Student Center is now a "window to the future." The framed prints were displayed to resemble a windowpane and offer a glimpse of an artist's rendering of the finished facility.

The larger, centered print depicting "The Street" shows on a small scale what the new entrance to the Student Center will look from the doors of Main Hall. That floor of the building will feature a large, walkway leading to the outside and surrounded by an improved Skeller and plenty of social spaces for students.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Student Center Renovation Update: July 27, 2011


There's only one word to describe what it is like to be in Randolph's Student Center these days.Randolph's $6 million renovation is definitely in full speed. During the past week, construction workers have continued to clear walls and flooring from the space, leaving behind top-to-ceiling views of the entire structure. The building's arched wooden ceiling beams--which will remain as a prominent aspect of the new design--are a beautiful reminder of the history of the building, and its future as a state-of-the-art facility.

Workers are making substantial progress each day and are now clearing areas on the lower levels. Many of the upper level floors and walls have now been removed, leaving behind a few visible reminders of past students. Workers even discovered several names from the Class of 1946 "decorating" one of the walls on the end of the building during the demolition process.Keep checking back for more updates!

See previous coverage and photos here: more information on the renovation, please go to

Randolph Professors Make News

John Abell, a Randoph economics professor, was featured today in The Burg, which is published by the News & Advance. The article details Abell's efforts to eat foods produced locally. The article also featured Kathy Schaefer, a biology professor, and Brad Bullock, a sociology professor.

The article will also be featured in the Lifestyle section of Thursday's News & Advance.

Read it online at

Update: Read the Thursday, July 28 edition of the News & Advance story here:

Randolph College Announces New Member of Board of Trustees

Randolph College has announced the appointment of Cathy Havener Greer ’73 to its Board of Trustees. Greer, who graduated with an Asian Studies major and a history minor, is currently a member of the law firm of Wells, Anderson, & Race in Denver, Colorado.

Greer, a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, has been practicing law since 1976. She served as an assistant attorney general for the State of Colorado, as counsel to the Colorado Bank Commissioner and the Colorado Savings and Loan Commissioner, as well as serving as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Missouri.
Since entering private practice in 1987, Greer has focused on civil litigation, primarily in the areas of business litigation, employment, and civil rights defense. She is pleased to now be able to serve on Randolph’s Board of Trustees.

“I’m delighted to be at the stage where I can give something back,” said Greer, who has two grown children.

She has been active with the College and held many volunteer positions as an alumna. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Alumnae and Alumni Association Board’s nominating committee and was the Association’s representative to the Board of Trustees.

“When I stepped on that campus as a prospective student, I felt at home immediately,” Greer said. “I could see myself at R-MWC and felt like I belonged there. I knew this college was a place that would really give me an opportunity to grow intellectually and to grow into the woman I wanted to be.”

She remembers how much of an impact her educational experiences and professors had on her life. “The College opened up all of these horizons, and the opportunities were reinforced by the faculty and administration that you could be and do anything and you should not limit yourself.”

She has seen that same spirit in Randolph’s current students and faculty. “Randolph-Macon Woman’s College faculty always promoted academic excellence,” she said. “To see that continue at Randolph College is very inspiring to me.”

Professionally, Greer is one of the owners of her law firm and is active in Denver’s legal profession. She has served as a board member of the Center for Legal Inclusiveness and as the co-chair of the Pipeline Working Group of the Deans' Diversity Council. She was the Dean of the 2010 Corporate Counsel College of the International Association of Defense Counsel and has been listed in every edition of Colorado's Super Lawyers.

Greer participated in the Oxford Strategic Leadership Program at the University of Oxford Templeton College in 2002, and was an invited lecturer there in 2003. Greer is a member of the International Association of Defense Council (IADC) and served as a member of the IADC Executive Committee from 2001 through 2004 and as a faculty member at the 1998 Defense Counsel Trial Academy.

She is also frequent speaker in Colorado and nationally on employment, risk prevention, and constitutional and civil rights issues and is a tutor in Denver’s public schools. Greer also volunteers her time with Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homecoming Trailer Video

The following preview has been approved for all audiences.

Register now at

Special Bonus Student Center Update

What was once a giant, blank white wall is being transformed into a colorful display of what Randolph's community can expect once the $6 million Student Center renovation is complete. The temporary wall was built to provide safety and block the sound and dust from the renovation process. Now, it has another purpose--offering a glimpse into the future!

Enlarged copies of the artist's renderings of the renovation project were placed on the wall today, soon, they will be framed to look like a window.

We'll have another update this week (with more photos from inside the renovation) and will continue to post the progress throughout the renovation.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Randolph College welcomes visitors for Virginia Private College Week

Randolph College welcomed many families for campus tours and information sessions on Monday, the first day of the Virginia Private College Week 2011. Visitors got to take in the beautiful campus and learn about the excellent liberal arts education every student receives here.

During Virginia Private College Week, 25 colleges in the state open their doors to rising high school juniors and seniors, as well as college students interested in transferring. Sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, the program helps prospective students learn about the diverse educational opportunities offered by private colleges around the state.

This week also helps you save money: Visit three participating colleges this week, and your application fee will be waived by any three colleges belonging to the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV).

Here's How You Participate:

  1. Decide which colleges you would like to visit.
  2. Organize your travel plans. Driving directions are available on individual college web sites.
  3. Pick up a passport at the first college you visit, after completing the tour.
  4. At the end of each tour, have the college stamp your passport.
  5. Mail your completed passport to CICV to receive your fee waivers.
Randolph College will feature tour and information sessions at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. through Friday, July 29. On Saturday, July 30, we will offer a 9 a.m. session and tour.

For more information at Randolph College’s program for Virginia Private College Week, please visit: or call 800-745-7692 or can go ahead and register online for one of our tours!

For more information about CICV, including a list of participating colleges and , please visit

Friday, July 22, 2011

Corbin Nall ’12 studies philosophical, religious connections in Summer Research

Corbin Nall ’12 spent the summer delving into deep ideas about medieval Christian mystics and Zen Buddhists.

The religious studies major participated in Randolph College’s 2011 Summer Research Program to investigate apophasis—a discourse method that defines religious or philosophical ideas by saying what they are not, rather than what they are. Gordon Steffey, a professor of religious studies, advised him in his research.

After delving into the topic, Nall discovered that apophasis was just a small part of a larger connection between the thoughts and methods of the writers he studied. Both seem to approach an understanding of truth by ridding the mind of habits and preconceived mindsets.

“I still have a long way to go to find out exactly what that kinship is,” Nall said. He plans to continue reading about Zen Buddhism to gain a better grasp on that philosophy and discover its connection to the writings of Christian mystics.

Nall’s Summer Research project helped him develop a deeper understanding of philosophy as a practice rather than just an academic exercise. “For these people, religion and philosophy were a way of life,” he said.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Student Center Renovation Update: July 21

Amazing progress has been made in the Student Center this week. The renovation process has revealed a facility with wide open spaces and gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The construction is still "demo" work, but it is now clear how transformative the renovation is going to be to this area of campus.

Find out more about the renovation here: and keep checking back here each week for more updates and photos.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Economics students study nonprofit's effect on property values, neighborhood satisfaction in Lynchburg neighborhood

The work of numerous Randolph College economics students has culminated in a project showing how nonprofits have improved the quality of life in one Lynchburg neighborhood.

For several years, students in Elizabeth Perry-Sizemore’s economics classes have studied the economic and social impact of Lynchburg Neighborhood Development Foundation (LNDF), which restores condemned homes and helps home buyers receive low-interest mortgages. During Randolph College’s 2011 Summer Research Program, Safiyah Lopez ’11 and Shradha Shrestha ’11 completed the research.

Their data analysis showed that LNDF’s restoration of condemned homes has helped raise the assessed values of neighboring properties. Based on the results of community satisfaction surveys, they concluded that the efforts of LNDF and other nonprofits have helped residents become more satisfied with their neighborhood.

“Residents who do not have vacant properties nearby have a greater neighborhood satisfaction,” Lopez said.

Lopez and Shrestha plan to present their findings to the Tinbridge Hill community members at a meeting in September.

Read more about the partnership between Perry-Sizemore’s students and LNDF in this Randolph Magazine story.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Research project builds on organic garden, aims to increase edible landscaping

A new plant nursery could help Randolph College fill its campus—and the Lynchburg area—with more sustainable landscaping thanks to the work of a student and a graduate in the College’s 2011 Summer Research Program.

Ludovic Lemaitre ’11 and Adam Eller ’13 used the eight-week summer program to study “edible landscaping,” a practice in which plants that provide shade and decoration are also used to grow fruit, nuts, berries, and other edibles. They expanded the organic garden on campus to create a nursery where students will tend edible plants that can be transplanted to permanent homes on and off campus.

“We are living in a local food revival,” Lemaitre said. “The time is right to re-introduce many forgotten edible perennials. Not many places have taken this task seriously yet, and Randolph College could become a pioneer in this discipline.”

During the Summer Research Program, Lemaitre wrote a “how-to” guide with information on more than 100 species of edible plants. Eller analyzed soil chemicals around campus to choose sites for new plants. Together, they are using money from the program to expand the campus organic garden to make room for edible plants.

Eller said some herbs will be planted near the dining hall so the College’s food will have fresh seasonings. He also envisions students picking fruit on campus for snacks. “This gives us a chance to demonstrate the viability of edible landscaping,” he said.

Lemaitre and Lynchburg officials have started conversations about using edible plants in the city’s landscaping. The nursery could provide plants to local gardeners, although details are still in the works.

After Summer Research, Lemaitre assumed the role of sustainability coordinator for the College. He will help devise ways for the College to use less energy and conserve natural resources. He looks forward to seeing a successful edible landscaping program result from his work. “I am confident that this research will unleash future great projects on the Randolph College campus and beyond,” he said.

Randolph College Economics Professor Publishes Letter to the Editor in the New York Times

John Abell, a Randolph economics professor, had a letter to the editor published in the New York Times on July 13. The letter was included in a series on how U.S. companies can help the debt crisis.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Research project could help detect stigma

Many people who suffer with mental illness never seek treatment simply because they are scared of what other people will think, said Caroline Mann, a psychology professor.

Mann hopes her current research will help psychologists better grasp and manage the social stigma surrounding mental illness.

Mann, who was a visiting professor of psychology during the 2010-2011 academic year, worked with students to develop a method of detecting prejudice against the mentally ill even when people will not admit to the negative feelings.

She adapted a method that uses a computerized survey to detect a person’s “gut feelings” toward people of different races. In the spring semester, a student helped Mann develop a program that would administer the survey and test for mental illness stigma. During the College’s Summer Research Program, she worked with Julie Dihn Doan ’14 to analyze the data collected from the spring research.

The initial study only included 30 Randolph College students. However, Mann believes the results indicated the survey could actually detect stigma and deserves more study.

Mann was surprised and impressed when she learned that Randolph College had a research program with funding. In addition to grants to pay for research expenses, the Summer Research Program provides stipends for students. “I was going to do research regardless, but I wouldn’t have been able to do research with students,” she said.

Doan traveled with Mann to the University of Tennessee, where they presented some of their findings to a group working to reduce mental illness stigma.

“The Summer Research Program enabled her to gain experience not just with scientific research, but also with public speaking,” Mann said.

College hires new men's lacrosse coach

Randolph College has selected its new men's lacrosse coach. Check out the article about coach Andy Sinclair on the college's athletics web page.

From the article:

“He is a seasoned professional that understands what it takes to develop a winning program and cares deeply about the development of his players in the classroom, in the community and on the field." - Tina Hill, director of athletics

Athletics at Randolph College allow scholars to develop leadership talents and other skills that help them on and off the court. We're glad to have Sinclair joining the athletics program.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Student, professor research for last chapter of book on prostitution narratives

Most English research doesn’t involve creating computer databases.

But this summer, Jerry Wells ’12 and Mara Amster, an English professor, turned to technology to compare the narratives of 17th-century prostitution with news reports of the 2008 Eliot Spitzer scandal, in which the former New York governor was exposed as a client of a high-priced prostitution ring. Their project was part of the Summer Research Program, an intense eight-week program that provides students with the opportunity to work closely with faculty on various research topics.

The database was Wells’ solution for organizing thoughts on the large number of articles he and Amster collected. “I knew there was no way I'd remember the first article when I got to the fifth one, much less the 50th,” he said.

Wells and Amster used the spreadsheet to record how many times each article used various words to describe Spitzer’s involvement with an escort service. They also made judgments about how each article weighed moral, sexual, and financial themes.

Their research revealed that the narrative about this issue has changed in the past 300 years. Earlier literature focused on the moral failures of the women involved in prostitution. Modern texts focus instead on why a man would hire an escort. “We still want to blame someone, but that blame has shifted,” Amster said.

Other aspects about the narratives have not changed, including society’s general anxiety about gender and markets, Amster said.

Wells has participated in the Summer Research Program for two years. He likes participating because it gives him the opportunity to earn income—student participants are paid a stipend—while being able to focus on in-depth research with professors.

The research from this project will be used as the final chapter in The Purchase of Pleasure: Representing Prostitution and the Early Modern Market, a book Amster is currently writing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

College continues summer science program for local teachers, children

This summer, a group of Randolph College professors and students continued the College’s efforts to help elementary and middle school teachers better instruct students in the sciences. Now in its third year, the program is designed to provide resources and teaching methods to local educators.

The Randolph students and professors provided a weeklong institute for about 60 Lynchburg-area teachers, followed by a science camp for children at the Jubilee Family Development Center in Lynchburg.

The program showed the teachers and students that there is more to science than lab coats, beakers, diagrams, and chemical symbols, said Meredith Humphreys ’12.

“Science can be fun,” she said. “It’s not just what you see in the classroom.”

Humphreys said there is a shortage of scientists in America because young people are not as interested in the subject. The summer science program aims to excite an interest in science. It also collects data to measure whether hands-on experiments improve science education and promote an interest in science.

Humphreys, a curricular studies major, worked with Woyni Teklay ’13, Qi Zhang ’13, and Randolph College professors Tatiana Gilstrap, Peter Sheldon, and Peggy Schimmoeller.

During the teaching institute, they taught teachers various experiments that could be used to teach principles of science to children. During the weeklong science camp, they helped six of the local teachers lead children in experiments with bubbles, electricity, chemical reactions, and more

The teachers in the institute and the students in the science camp completed the Draw-A-Scientist Test, which measures attitudes toward science by examining someone’s drawing of a scientist and looking for signs of stereotypes, such as goggles and lab coats.

The results of this test showed that participants had fewer stereotypes after the program, showing that hands-on science experiments can change perceptions about science.

The Randolph students filmed the experiments to provide content for a website that provides science experiment ideas and lesson plans for elementary and middle school teachers.

The program was funded by a $140,000 grant from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and by the College’s Summer Research Program.