Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Karl Rove talks political strategy at Randolph College

“The issue in this election is going to be who has the most credible plan for getting the economy going,” Karl Rove, Republican political strategist, told a Randolph College audience on Thursday. “It’s going to be one heck of a general election to watch because it is very much up for grabs.”

Rove, who served as senior adviser to President George W. Bush, visited Randolph College for a day and spent time talking with local media, students, faculty, staff, and community members. He analyzed the Republican Primary race and discussed factors that will affect the general election. He taught students about the reasoning behind political strategy and made a few predictions, too.

Here are some topics he addressed:

Virginia’s importance in the general election:

“I don't see how the republican candidate is going to get 270 Electoral College votes without bringing Virginia back into the republican column,” Rove said. The state has usually cast its electoral votes for Republican presidential candidates, but President Obama won the state in 2008.

Rove said Virginia will become a battleground in the general election, meaning Randolph College students could witness some heavy campaigning. He named Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell as one wise vice president pick for the eventual Republican nominee.

Vice Presidential Picks

Rove listed several Republican leaders who he thinks would be good vice presidential running mates for any of the Republican presidential hopefuls, including Marco Rubio, Mitch Daniels, and McDonnell.

Rove then explained the George W. Bush’s selection of Dick Cheyney as his running mate. Rove tried to talk him out of it, he said.

At Bush’s request, Rove recited a long list of problems that would arise from choosing Cheyney, including public scrutiny about Cheyney’s health and criticism that Bush was leaning on his father’s reputation and administration.

Bush called him the next day with his response: “You’re right, every one of them is a problem,” Bush said. “Now go solve them.”

Religion in Politics:

“We are a nation that is very religious, compared to other nations in the world,” Rove said. “I think Americans generally want a person of faith, who believes in a greater being.”

However, Rove believes it is offensive to pick apart the details of a candidate’s religious beliefs. Particularly, he said media coverage Mitt Romney’s race for the nomination has focused too much on dissecting the details of Romney’s Mormon theology, he said.

“I think it has no place in American politics,” he said.

Tax rates:

Rove defended the capital gains tax rate of 15 percent because capital gains paid to investors have already been taxed at the corporate tax rate. The lower tax rates encourage saving and investing to create jobs, he said. He also pointed out that the Bush tax cuts, which have been extended during President Obama’s administration, lowered tax rates for all income earners, not just the wealthy.

People who create new products and services deserve to keep the fruits of their labors, he said. He specifically mentioned Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for their technological innovations. “The country’s better because they did that. Because they had the courage and the dream to go do it, they deserve their reward. That’s what the essence of the American system is about,” Rove said.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Student economic research featured in local news

Research conducted by a group of economics students at Randolph College continues to gather more attention.

On Sunday, The News & Advance published an article about the impending closure of a Food Lion in the Rivermont area of Lynchburg. The article emphasizes that losing the store could add to the city's "Food Deserts," and it cites Randolph students' research into the topic.

The students surveyed the food options and prices at several stores in downtown Lynchburg. Their research shed light on the food desert downtown, where many low-income residents lack access to healthy, affordable foods. It helped inform Lynchburg City Council about how the local community market, which was targeted in budget cut talks, helps provide nutrition in the downtown area.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Successful coach hired as Randolph College director of riding

A well-known collegiate equestrian competition coach will take lead of the Randolph College riding program this summer.

The College has hired Chris Mitchell as the new director of riding. He looks forward to continuing his successful coaching career with the WildCats.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity that Randolph has presented,” said Mitchell. “It’s a great program, and has been for a long time.”

“We are thrilled to have someone of Coach Mitchell’s caliber to take our riding program to the next level,” said Tina Hill, director of athletics. “Coach Mitchell brings a wealth of successful experience and energy to Randolph. His passion for our students and his desire for them to succeed in the classroom and in the ring is contagious.”

Mitchell has a proven track record in coaching riders that has won him prominence in the intercollegiate competition field. For the past 13 years he led the equestrian program  at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. His teams claimed 27 collegiate horse show team crowns, including four Ivy League crowns. He coached one rider to a national championship, and had other riders place among the top 10 nationally.

He serves on the board of directors of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association and the equestrian steering committee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Mitchell replaces long time director JT Tallon, who won three Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) titles while at the helm of the Randolph Riding Center. Mitchell is the fourth Director of Riding at the College.

The Randolph College Riding Center sits on 100 acres of land in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With two outdoor rings and an indoor arena, the riding program offers students the chance to learn riding in a beautiful setting through small classes taught by skilled coaches.

Monday, January 23, 2012

English professor asked again to pronounce for regional spelling bee

Margie Lippard takes the stage
during one of her previous rounds
as a spelling bee pronouncer.
Between teaching composition at Randolph College and raising money for local nonprofits, Margie Lippard does not have a lot of free time on hand. But these days, what free time she does have is often spent reciting words and definitions.

Lippard will be the pronouncer for the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee next month. This will be her third year pronouncing all the bee’s spelling words, along with definitions, sentences, and other helps contestants can ask for. Although it requires careful practice, it is an event Lippard has come to look forward to.

“For a teacher of composition, it’s a pleasure to have students expand their vocabulary, know how to use words in sentences, and be really sensitive to the sounds of a word, to work it out if they don't quite know the word,” said Lippard.

Pronouncing words accurately and well comes naturally to Lippard: Her first job after college was teaching writing and speech at Harvard Business School. In her current full-time position as director of development for United Way of Central Virginia, she addresses audiences throughout the region to discuss the needs of nonprofit agencies and fundraising.

In 2010, Lippard began teaching “Finding Your Voice,” a writing course taken by many first year students at Randolph College. She likes being back in the classroom several hours each week.

“I thoroughly enjoy seeing the students progress in their writing and their ability to express their voice, she said. “They are so intelligent and curious and have great ideas. I love the mix of student-athletes and non-athletes, male students and female students, and multicultural students. The more diverse the classroom, the better the experience.”

Lippard said writing is both an art and a science, with spelling placed in the science side. In a world where Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging can foster communication with hasty misspellings and abbreviations, teaching at Randolph and serving in the spelling bee provide a breath of fresh air, she said.

“Spelling matters. It matters for a sense of pride as a writer. It matters to the reader, who relies on accurate spelling to convey meaning. It shows respect for communication and literature,” Lippard said. “Without correct spelling, our communication can become incoherent.”

“I see a great synergy between the mission of the spelling bee and the mission of the English Department here, and also the mission of the United Way, where one of our impact areas is education,” she said.

This year’s spelling bee will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, February 18, at the Paul Lawrence Dunbar Middle School for Innovation. The winner of the regional spelling bee will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

New Student Center Renovation Slideshow Available: January 23, 2012

A slideshow is now available with photos of the Student Center renovation from June through December. See photos of the demolition and beginnings of reconstruction, and keep checking back for more updates and slideshows!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Randolph College in the News: Construction Crews Uncover Link to the Past

During the renovation of the Student Center, construction crews discovered a wall with the signatures of several members of the Class of 1946. It turns out that one of those names is now the grandmother of a first-year Randolph student.

Click here to see WSET's coverage of the story, or read "Leaving Their Mark" in the December edition of Randolph magazine.

Director of Capital Projects Bobby Bennett being interviewed by WSET reporter Lauren Compton.

Sarah Reed '15 stands under the wall featuring her grandmother's name, Betty Jo Warden '46. (The name is located in black above the name "Durham").

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Martin Luther King service focuses on power of individuals to affect change

John E. Klein, president of Randolph College,
and William A. Johnson, Jr., keynote speaker
The first African American mayor of Rochester, New York, urged an audience at Randolph College to focus on how they can follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr., rather than think his accomplishments are unattainable.

“Never underestimate what the power of one person can be,” said William A. Johnson, Jr. “The next time you ask the question, ‘Who will be the next Martin Luther King,’ let me just direct you to one place: to the mirror. Look at it, and you will see who he is.”

Johnson was the keynote speaker for the College’s annual Martin Luther King remembrance service on Wednesday. Johnson witnessed the civil rights movement while he was growing up in Lynchburg. He now is a public policy and urban studies professor in Rochester.

He described the efforts of local civil rights leaders, such as Virgil Wood, who was present for the event. He said that King himself would have said that the success of the civil rights movement depended on many people who each made a difference where they can.

John E. Klein, president of Randolph College, presented similar thoughts during his speech. “Dr. King was one man, but he changed the world,” Klein said. “If all of us learned from his compassion, his courage, and his faith in the world, we too could make a difference in our communities.”

“The world has changed dramatically since 1963, when a quarter of a million people descended upon the nation’s capital to hear Dr. King’s vision of a world in which all men and women are truly equal,” Klein said.

“Thousands and thousands of women and men of all races and colors have worked to bring his vision to life. “Progress has been made, but not nearly enough.”

The program also featured remarks by Hermina Hendricks, the College ’ director of multicultural student services and a music professor, and Nashiva McDavid  ’12, president of the College's Black Leaders Association. Voices and Songshine, student a cappella groups at the College, led the audience in singing “We Shall Overcome” at the beginning of the program, and they each provided other songs later in the program.

Student Center Renovation Update: January 18, 2012

Framework (the red steel beams on the left) began this week on a portion of the Student Center's new atrium.

What was just recently an open space with only steel framing now has the beginning of flooring.

This is a view of the main level of the Student Center from what used to be the entrance to the Skeller.

A view of what was previously the Skeller

A view of the main level of the Student Center from where the WWRM DJ booth used to be located.

The Skeller

Windows will soon be installed in the arched opening in the back.

The upper area (previously the third floor) used to be a choir loft when the Student Center facility was used as the College Chapel.

A view from the second floor.

An addition will be added to the building in the dug out area to the right.

After months of tedious demolition and foundation work, visible changes are quickly taking place in the Student Center facility. On the exterior, crews are just beginning work on the Center's addition (which will be located on the rear of the building.) A portion of the framing of the project's new atrium is also in place.

Inside the Student Center, changes are rapidly transforming the space as construction crews continue with flooring and other work. The work has revealed the spaciousness of the current facility and the potential that awaits as the renovation progresses.

Student-curated exhibition opens Friday at Maier Museum of Art

Lots of students can say they have visited to museums and analyzed exhibitions, but students at Randolph College can now talk about what it is like to curate one.

Mirror of a Passing World
Ephemeral Places, Vanishing Spaces
Opening Reception: Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, 4 - 7 p.m.
On View Until: April 15, 2012
For the next three months, the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College will show Mirror of a Passing World: Ephemeral Places, Vanishing Spaces, which was curated by a group of six students last semester. The exhibition explores the way that art preserves memories, events, and locations that otherwise would fade away.

In the past, some students have had the opportunity to curate exhibits in the Maier’s small gallery, but this is the first exhibition curated by a group of students and taking up both of the museum’s galleries, said Leanne Zalewski, who teaches art history at Randolph College.

Zalewski decided to teach a student curatorial seminar so more students could work hands-on with the College’s art collection. This gave students experience with each stage of curating an exhibition, such as selecting, choosing artwork, writing wall text, and hanging art. The process also helped them learn about the strict deadlines involved, especially when the exhibition is curated in a short amount of time.

“In this situation we had to curate the exhibition in a period of one semester, which is unusually short considering the scope of the exhibition—we have almost 50 objects in the exhibition,” Zalewski said.

Glenna Gray ’14 said Zalewski suggested the class to her, and she jumped at the chance to have hands-on experience planning and executing the exhibition. “Since it's student curated, we had a direct role in each decision of the exhibit,” she said.

Stormy Clowdis ’13 said the class gave her experience in the career field she is pursuing. “I want to go into the museum field. I felt taking this class would prepare me for the real world in museum studies and I could establish a good career for myself.”

Zalewski said the exhibition has turned out to be a success, and she and the Maier Museum staff plan to have another student group-curated exhibit in the next couple of years.

The exhibition includes oil paintings, prints, etchings, and other works of art. Each piece inspires a sense of nostalgia for the past, emphasizing how art preserves memories and impermanent locations.

Melissa Halka ’14 said she hopes the exhibition inspires viewers to pause, consider how the world is passing around them, and resolve not to let life pass them by. “I hope it inspires a meditative state, and that visitors will notice more of the smaller details in life and have a richer experience in life,” said Halka.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Students can major in sport and exercise studies

Randolph College is launching a new major for students who are interested in becoming personal trainers, coaches, sports managers, and other professionals in the sports field.

The sport and exercise studies major was approved by faculty last semester, and classes for the major will be offered starting in the fall of 2012.
Carolyn Sarson, a physical education professor, leads the
new sport and exercise studies program.

The program offers students a background in the social and physical sciences related to sports, as well as activities such as prescribing exercise to increase health and managing sports facilities.

“We apply a liberal arts approach and offer a variety of classes that are in the sport and exercise studies discipline,” said Carolyn Sarson, a physical education professor overseeing the new major.

The College already has a physical education and health major focused on helping students get teacher licensure, but some students and prospective students have asked about studies focused more on exercise health and management, Sarson said.

Here are examples of some classes in the new program:

  • Exercise Physiology explores how the human body is affected during exercise and how it reacts to long-term exercise.
  • Sociology of Sport discusses the place that sports take in American society, and examines sociological issues, such as gender, as they relate to sports.
  • Sport Management covers strategies to manage athletic facilities, ranging from risk management to maintenance.
  • Exercise Testing and Prescription trains students to assess cardiorespiratory fitness and design exercise prescriptions that increase health.
  • Sports Psychology gives students insight into the mental and emotional factors affecting—and affected by—sports and exercise.

The core curriculum will be supplemented by classes such as weight training or dance.

Seniors in the sport and exercise studies major would complete an internship relating to their specific interests and participate in a seminar. Sarson also encourages students to select a minor such as business, communication studies, or psychology, to expand their knowledge in their area of interest.

Graduates would be prepared for careers in community, clinical, and corporate sport exercise fields, as well as master’s programs in exercise science, kinesiology, health promotion, wellness management, athletic training, sport psychology, and more.

Since the new major was announced, Sarson said she has had five students notify her that they intend to declare a sport and exercise studies major. She looks forward to welcoming new students with an athletic and academic interest in the major.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Student Center Renovation Update: January 11, 2012

When Randolph community members left campus in December for the winter break, construction crews were still installing steel beams in the Student Center facility, and floor work was only in the beginning stages. The work completed during the past few weeks has significantly changed views in the interior of the facility. Steel framing is in place along with new flooring, and crews have now moved to the upper floors to begin the rebuilding process in those areas. On the exterior, workers continue the brick work required to install windows in what is now just a large opening into the facility. Renovations also continue in other areas of the facility, including the rear, which previously housed the Skeller.

Keep checking back for more updates weekly!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Greater Lynchburg Community Trust Grant will help fund Randolph College's Science Festival poetry contest

LYNCHBURG—Randolph College has received a $2,000 grant from The Greater Lynchburg Community Trust (GLCT) in support of the College’s 2012 Science Festival.

The GLCT grant will allow the College to offer a poetry contest in conjunction with the Science Festival. The contest is open to all students in grades K-12, and the poems must have a science or math theme and can be in any form, such as Haiku, limerick, free form, etc. (See below for more details)

Now in its fourth year, Randolph's Science Festival is sponsored by the College’s Society of Physics Students and scheduled for March 22-25. Science Fest features hands on activities, demonstrations, and events all designed to spark an interest in science in people of all ages. The Festival also includes Science Day, an annual program geared toward younger children. Science Day has become increasingly popular since its inception in 2005.

"We could not have such a big event, with such a wide reach, without the support of GLCT," said Peter Sheldon, a Randolph physics professor who organizes the Science Festival. "Through the poetry contest, we are showing the connection between science and the arts, and we will reach out to the 20,000 or so K-12 students in the greater Lynchburg community. Through this grant, we are able to bring a part of the Science Festival to a large number of students, even if they are unable to attend the weekend event."

The poetry contest is open to all students from the area in grades K-12. The College will choose 39 finalists who will receive certificates. Of those finalists, three prizes of $100, $50, and $25 gift cards will be given in the elementary, middle and high school categories. If the winning poem is done as part of a class, the teacher of the winning student will receive an equal prize. Submissions must be postmarked by Feb. 17. Submissions can be typed, scanned, or e-mailed. Mail entries to psheldon@randolphcollege.edu or Peter Sheldon, Randolph College, 2500 Rivermont Avenue, Lynchburg, VA 24503.

A reading of the finalists’ entries will take place at March 23 at 7 p.m. in the Jack Room of Smith Building on Randolph’s campus.

The Greater Lynchburg Community Trust exists to promote local philanthropy and to simplify the process of giving. The Community Trust receives and manages permanent gifts for the benefit of the citizens of the cities of Lynchburg and Bedford and the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell. Needs served are broad in scope including human services to children, youth, the needy, and the elderly; education; health; the arts; and the humanities.

For more information about Science Fest or Science Day, please see http://physics.randolphcollege.edu/sps/scifest/ or contact Peter Sheldon at psheldon@randolphcollege.edu

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Main Hall corridor receives updated look

A group of students is putting a fresh face on Main Hall, painting the hallways that lead away from the lobby.

The corridor walls have been blue for approximately 30 years, but the student workers are painting them a pale yellow.

The work should be completed by the time classes start next week, said Bob Hefner, a painter in the College's Building and Ground's department.

The College regularly hires students to help with painting projects between semesters. It is a win-win situation for all involved, as it gives students a place to live, some income, and helps freshen the look on campus, Hefner said.

Students working on the paint job include Mimi Joshi ’14, Samantha Lawrence ’15, Ben See ’13, Julia Kim ’14, Shreya Sharma ’14.

Some of the College's longest serving employees remember the walls being blue for as long as they have worked here.

They were painted blue in the late 1970s or early 1980s, when Sarah Tomerlin Lee ’32, a former College trustee, and her design firm completed a renovation and redesign.

The lobby was painted yellow in 1999, according to Heather Ayers Garnett ’86, director of alumnae and alumni.

This new look is just one major change to Main Hall. The College also is making progress on the $6 million renovation of the student center on the back of Main Hall. That renovation is creating features including gathering spaces, a theatre, a fitness center overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Students produce videos about climate change science

Global warming is one of the most hotly debated topics today, and it also can be one of the most confusing—scientists, politicians, pundits, and Facebook friends will often put forth their opinions, often conflicting with each other.

A group of Randolph College students sought to separate fact from fiction with a series of videos debunking climate myths. As an assignment for their Earth Interactions and Global Change class, they chose misconceptions about climate change and explored what scientific research has actually shown.

“The purpose of this course is to equip students with the knowledge to discern whether the science is good, or its pseudo science,” said Karin Warren, an environmental sciences professor. To test the students' mastery of the topics, she assigned them to make educational videos. 

“I wanted them to do something that would inform public understanding of climate change,” Warren said.

The project required students to not only understand the science, but also become interviewers, stop-motion animators, and storytellers who could explain the science behind climate change. They explored topics such as the temperature on Neptune, methane emitted in beef production, and the difference between predicting weather and predicting climate.

They created six videos, which are now available on the Warren posted them to the Randolph College Environmental Studies YouTube channel.

“They put in hours and hours of work on this project,” Warren said. “It’s not just something that’s going to sit on my desk and have nobody but me to see it.” Warren said that she hopes the videos will become a resource for school teachers who want to explain climate science to their students.