Friday, October 28, 2011

Monks finish mandala and hold closing ceremony at Randolph College

It took more than 30 hours of painstaking, back-breaking labor to create the beautiful sand mandala in the Randolph College chapel, and only a few minutes to destroy it.

Friday afternoon, the monks of Tashi Kyil monastery, in Dehra, Dun, India, conducted a closing ceremony with more than 150 people present.

In chanting and music similar to the opening ceremony (available in video here), they consecrated the mandala and prayed for permission to dismantle it. Then they slowly wiped their hands across the 5' x 5' surface.

Soon, there was nothing left but a blue board with pale colored sand left on it.

The monks swept the sand into a bowl, and passed some of it out in individual bags to people who were present. The sand is said to have healing powers.

Then they walked across campus to a wooded creek that empties into the James River. There, they poured most of the remaining sand into the water. According to Buddhist philosophy, doing this can bless animals in the water and also carry the healing powers of the mandala sand throughout the world.

They kept some sand to carry to the AIDS Walk in Washington, D.C., the next stop on their journey.

Throughout this week, the monks have worked tirelessly in the chapel, lived in one of the College's dorms, interacted with students and community members, explained their beliefs, and sold Tibetan goods to raise money for their monastery. People of various religious traditions marveled at their dedication to create a beautiful work of art with religious significance.

In one week, they became a part of the College community, and they will not be forgotten.

Kissing the horse for United Way

Randolph College's Kiss the Horse fundraiser ended with an epic equine smooch and a donation to United Way of Central Virginia on Friday afternoon.

Tina Barnes, coordinator of disability services and the Learning Strategies Program, was given the honor of kissing Rex, one of the horses from the Randolph College Riding Center.

All this week, Randolph College community members have voted to select a staff member or professor to kiss the horse. They placed votes by placing money in the jar for their favored contestant.

The contest raised $211.74, which will benefit United Way of Central Virginia and its partner agencies, which provide education, health care, food, and other necessities to people in need in the Lynchburg area.

Events at Randolph College to examine Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers

Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson's retreat home near Lynchburg, is one example of his love for architecture and agriculture.
Two lectures this week will highlight how Thomas Jefferson influenced early America, beyond penning the Declaration of Independence and serving as president.

Jefferson scholar Richard Guy Wilkins will expound how Jefferson shaped Virginia architecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, in room 537 of the H. G. Leggett building.

Design historian and author Andrea Wulf will then discuss the gardens of Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in Wimberly Recital Hall (Presser Hall).

Architecture and gardening were important to Jefferson, who even intermingled the two in his building and landscape designs, said Leanne Zalewski, a Randolph College art professor who coordinated Wilkins’ lecture.

“He believed that architecture would help civilize our new nation,” Zalewski said.
Wilkins, the Commonwealth Professor and chair in the Department of Architectural History, at the University of Virginia, will speak about “Thomas Jefferson and the Making of Virginia Architecture.”

Jefferson left his stamp on Virginia architecture by combining features of masterful designs from France, Italy, Greece, and other European countries, Zalewski said. Those influences can be seen in Monticello, the University of Virginia, the state capital, and Poplar Forest, Jefferson’s retreat home just a few miles from the Randolph campus, and other local buildings that mimicked Jefferson’s style.
Andrea Wulf will speak at Randolph College Thursday, Nov. 3.

On Thursday, Wulf will speak about her book, “Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation.” She will discuss Jefferson’s gardens and landscapes, along with those of other Founding Fathers, such as George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison.

Their attitude toward gardening, plans, nature, and agriculture helped shape the new nation. Wulf will guide the audience through this retelling of America’s founding using beautiful illustrations.

Zalewski said agriculture played a significant role in Jefferson’s architecture, especially at Poplar Forest and Monticello, his homes.

Wilkins’ lecture on Wednesday and free open to the public.

Tickets to the Founding Gardeners event on Thursday can be purchased for $20 online at Poplar Forest’s events page or by calling the Poplar Forest Museum Shop at (434)534-8120. Randolph College students, faculty, and staff can attend for free by showing their campus ID.

Monks make time for Randolph's preschoolers

Several of the Tibetan monks visiting Randolph's campus this week took time out to meet preschoolers from the College's Nursery School. The monks were putting the final touches on a Medicine Buddha mandala when the preschoolers arrived for a short visit. After watching the monks, the children entertained the visitors with a rehearsal for their upcoming Halloween concert.

Seven monks from the Tashi Kyil Monastery have spent the week creating the sand mandala in the College's chapel. They have worked from 10 a.m until 7 p.m. each day, painstakingly placing millions of grains of colored sand. The monks chose the rocks, smashed and pounded them into sand and colored them while at their monastery in India.

The monks are from Tashikyl, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Dehra Dun, India. A Buddhist cultural center in Indiana is hosting them for a tour of the United States The monks, who are from a monastery in Dehra, Dun, India, are on the last leg of a U.S. tour designed to share the Tibetan culture, promote peace, and raise much needed funds for their monastery. Their next stop is in Washington, D.C.

Trick-or-treat: Students will collect canned food on Halloween

Some Randolph College students will go trick-or-treating this Halloween, but they won’t be asking for candy.

Instead, the group will knock on doors in the Rivermont and Boonsboro area and ask for canned food for area nonprofits that serve the poor.

The College’s chapter of the Student Virginia Education Association is organizing the effort, but all students are welcome to help.

The group will meet in the Main Hall lobby at 6:30 p.m. Monday, wearing Randolph College T-shirts.

Their food gathering will be focused along Rivermont Avenue and the V.E.S. Road area.

After Halloween, they will organize the canned goods and deliver them to local groups that distribute food to people in need, including Daily Bread and the Salvation Army.

“We knew Thanksgiving was coming up, and collecting food would help, said Rachel Reid, co-president of Randolph College’s SVEA chapter and a graduate student at the College.

SVEA is a pre-professional association for future teachers in Virginia.

Tibetan Monks close week at Randolph with special ceremony

The Buddhist monks visiting Randolph's campus this week will finish their sand medicine mandala today. The closing ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. in Houston Memorial Chapel. The monks, who are from a monastery in Dehra, Dun, India, are on the last leg of a U.S. tour designed to share the Tibetan culture, promote peace, and raise much needed funds for their monastery.

See local media stories here:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Who will kiss the horse?

LYNCHBURG—One Randolph College professor or staff member will have the honors of kissing a horse Friday, October 28 as part of the College’s United Way of Central Virginia fundraising campaign. At 2:45 p.m., one of three contestants will be deemed the winner of the equine smooch off and will kiss one of the horses from the Riding Center.

The big kiss will take place in front of Main Hall.

All week, Randolph community members have voted by placing donations in the jar of their favorite contestant. The professor or staff member earning the most money will win the honors. All of the money raised will benefit the United Way of Central Virginia.

The contestants include Bill Mattson, a chemistry professor, Kim Sheldon, director of student success, and Tina Barnes, coordinator of disability services and the Learning Strategies Program.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Student Center Renovation Update October 26

New footings are now visible on the main floor of the Student Center, and steel beams will be placed very soon. Workers continue to dig and pour footings for the space. Old footings and supports are now visible next to the new versions, providing an interesting contrast and glimpse at construction methods of the past.

In addition, several windows in what used to be the Skeller have been knocked out and will soon be replaced with brick. This important foundation work will continue for a few more weeks. Keep checking back for more updates!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

College emphasizes sustainable practices this week

Randolph College is having its first Sustainability Week to help spread awareness and discussion of sustainable practices in food and .

The week's events began Monday, National Food Day, when the dining hall served a lunch with a focus on local, sustainable food, including some food grown in the College's organic garden.

Monday afternoon, the Food and Justice Club Randolph College served local apples and cheeses in Caldwell Commons.

Events continue Tuesday with an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Red Door, a student-run coffeeshop featuring organic, fair-trade coffee and tea. The Red Door will sell a special hot, local apple cider for $1 (for customers who bring their own mug).

Other events include:

Wednesday (Campus Sustainability Day)

The Randolph College Community Coffee will feature sustainable coffee at 10 a.m. in the Main Hall lobby.

From 5 to 7 p.m. in Leggett 537, students can participate in a webcast and interactive conversation about how to create and maintain a sustainable, environmentally conscious campus.


Randolph College students are invited to watch the film If a Tree Falls at 6 p.m. at Lynchburg College.


The Red Door and the Environmental Club will serve local wine and apple cider from 5 to 8 p.m.


A Community Work Day will be held at the Randolph College Organic Garden on Quinlan Street from noon to 3 p.m. Lynchburg College students will participate as well, and on Sunday, Randolph College students are invited to participate in a work day at Lynchburg College's organic garden on Sunday.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monks begin mandala demonstration at Randolph College

Seven monks from the Tashi Kyil Monastery have begun building a sacred sand painting in Houston Memorial Chapel.

More than 100 people attended the opening ceremony Monday afternoon, when the monks consecrated the space with deep chanting and music.

Following the opening ceremony, the monks began measuring and drawing a design on the 5' x 5' wooden frame.

Throughout this week, they will position millions of grains of sand to build a Medicine Buddha mandala, a sand painting said to have healing powers.

The public is invited to all events during the monks' visit:

Every day, the monks work from 10 a.m. through 7 p.m. in the chapel. Tibetan artifacts will be sold in Caldwell Commons.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Suzanne Bessenger, a Randolph College Religious Studies professor, will deliver a lecture titled "Mandalas and Meaning."

At 3 p.m. Friday, the monks will hold a closing ceremony, where they will consecrate the completed mandala, sweep up the image, and pour the sand into a nearby creek.

Share this event with your friends through this Facebook page.

For more information, read our previous blog post.

Pan World Coffeehouse celebrates cultural traditions

The Randolph College community packed Houston Memorial Chapel Saturday for the Pan World Coffeehouse, a celebration of the many cultures represented at the College.

The event featured performances 14 performances and presentations, including an international fashion show, a Moroccan wedding dance, a Korean pop dance, and the reading of Islamic poetry.

Afterward, attendees sampled homemade international foods.

The Pan World Club at Randolph College promotes cultural awareness and celebrates friendships between students from around the world. The club organizes the Coffeehouse event every semester to showcase performances from different cultures and ethnic groups.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lecture to reveal role of writing in ancient Chinese cities

More than 3,000 years ago, two cities arose on opposite sides of China’s Huan River, only to be abandoned within a few hundred years.

On Wednesday, October 26, a scholar of Chinese archaeology will visit Randolph College to expound on the history of those cities and the role that writing played in the urbanization of China.

Haicheng Wang, a professor from the University of Washington in Seattle, will deliver his lecture “Writing and the City in Early China” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 26, in the H.G. Leggett Building, Room 537.

One of the two cities he will discuss, Yinxu, served as the last capital of the Shang dynasty.

The lecture is presented by the Lynchburg Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and the Randolph College Classics Department.

Wang holds degrees from Princeton University (Ph.D.), Peking University (M.A.), and Yantai University (B.A.). His current research is on the invention of writing and state formation in early China, and the Zhou bells and Chinese Museum before Confucius.

Friday, October 21, 2011

College dedicates Caldwell Commons

Lucy Williams Hooper ’73, Katharine “Kitty” Stark Caldwell ’74, and President John E. Klein

Randolph College dedicated a newly renovated area on campus Friday morning, honoring Katharine “Kitty” Stark Caldwell ’74 for her generosity and dedication in service to the College.

Caldwell Commons includes a refreshing foyer area with leather furniture, the campus store, and three conference rooms. Located near Cheatham Dining Hall, it offers students a place to relax and mingle throughout the day.

Some quotes from the dedication ceremony:

“She has been out all over the country raising friends for the College, improving relationships, and, by her own example of generosity, inspiring others to give.” — Lucy Williams Hooper ’73, chair of the Board of Trustees

“Kitty leads a very busy life, but she always has a place and time for the College.” — President John E. Klein.
“I don’t know of any other trustee who will go to the Texas Inn at midnight to eat a Cheesy Western.”Don Giles, a member of the Board of Trustees, speaking of Caldwell

“It’s been a tremendous privilege to serve with the Randolph-Macon ladies who are on this board. To see their character, their determination, their hard work.… It’s been a real inspiration for me.” — Don Giles
Janie Campbell '12

“When I first arrived back on campus this summer, I saw Caldwell Commons, and I was taken aback at how much it had transformed. … It really enhances the spirit of the college. The whole campus has a heightened sense of pride.” — Janie Campbell ’12

“This is so special. It’s so beautifully done and quite an asset to the college.” — Frances Jones Giles ’65, former member of the Board of Trustees

Caldwell has served on the Board of Trustees since 2002. In 2008, she and her husband Hacker Caldwell gave a $1 million gift to the College.

They also helped fund the creation of an illustrated book documenting 100 years of the Maier Museum of Art Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art.

The Caldwells live in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Students prepare to battle zombies again

Get your Nerf guns ready.

Randolph College is gearing up for another round of Humans vs. Zombies, a game that has gained popularity on campus.

The game begins with one anonymous “zombie” who seeks to tag humans to turn them into zombies. Untagged humans can fend zombies away with nerf guns.

Around 70 people plan to participate in this weekend’s game, said Conrad Bailey, one of the students organizing the game.

This Humans vs. Zombies game will begin Friday and last until Sunday, Bailey said.

In the past couple of years, Humans vs. Zombies proved to be a fun way for students to enjoy their time together and meet new people. In 2010, the student government recognized an official Humans vs. Zombies club on campus.

For a glimpse of Humans vs. Zombies at Randolph College, watch this video from our YouTube Channel:

Student Center Renovation Update October 20

At first glance, the Student Center does not look much different than it has over the past few weeks. However, much work has been accomplished underneath the facility. Construction crews have been busy digging footings and doing other foundation work. Crews are about three or four weeks away from installing steel beams and supports. Once the steel is in place, work will rapidly progress to flooring and other visible renovations.

For more updates, please keep checking the Randolph College blog.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Joshua Poteat to read poetry at Randolph College

With natural elegance and untiring invention, Joshua Poteat writes some of the most remarkable poetry you are ever likely to encounter. – Blackbird, Spring 2003, Vol. 2, No. 1
Award-winning poet Joshua Poteat will visit the Randolph College campus and read some of his work Wednesday night.

Poteat is the writer in residence at the College of William and Mary this year. He has published two books of poems, Ornithologies and Illustrating the Machine that Makes the World, both available in Lipscomb Library, as well as a chapbook, Meditations.

He also branches into the visual arts, making light boxes out of materials he finds.

Poteat will read some of his poetry in the Jack Lounge in the Smith Memorial Building from 8 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The free event is part of the Randolph College Visiting Writers Series, which brings expert writers to campus to teach students about their craft and share their work with the community.
“[Poteat is] a poet of bristling intelligence who knows what has already been done and has decided not to do it again. He is utterly without clich├ęs.” – David Wagoner, judge for the T.S. Eliot First Book Award, 2002

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Randolph College hosts state senate debate

Randolph College recently hosted a debate between Bert Dodson and Tom Garrett, candidates for the 22nd District seat in the Virginia state senate. The Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce event drew about 160 people to Smith Hall Theatre.

Jennifer Dugan, a political science professor, moderated the debate.

Representatives from local and regional media outlets asked questions of the two candidates.

Bert Dodson
Tom Garrett
They answered numerous questions on topics such as the state gasoline tax, balancing the state budget, funding education, electricity rates regulation, and helping small businesses.

After the debate, the candidates mingled with local residents and Randolph College students in Smith Banquet Hall.