Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Poetry Tree Tradition Marks Arrival of Spring

You can always tell when spring has arrived. Green grass. Singing birds. Bare feet. And the Poetry Tree.

Every spring, the weeping cherry tree between the corner of Main Hall and the Sundial sprouts green leaves, pink blossoms and verse. Students and faculty use ribbon to hang copies of their original and favorite poems to the tree’s branches.

Jim Peterson, an accomplished poet, playwright, novelist, and Randolph English professor, likes the tradition. “Poems and creativity are as organic to our lives as leaves are to trees. The impulse to shape our thoughts and feelings into a written form that can be shared is one that many people have, and the poetry tree provides them with a non-academic, non-threatening way to do it. And besides, it's just fun.”

Like the origin of many campus traditions, the history of the poetry tree is a bit mysterious.

Retired professor Mary Brewer Guthrow ‘65 places it back as far as the 1960s. “My best memory is that my professor, Margaret Raynal, hung the ‘Loveliest of Trees’ by A.E. Housman out there every year and then other poems from other poem-hangers appeared.” 

Like spring blossoms, however, the beauty is short lived. When the rains came this year, the ink ran, obscuring the words. If you look closely, though, you can still make out a phrase on one stained parchment... “Vita Abundantior.”

Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 Heritage Tree is historic cedar at Randolph College

A large tree that has graced front campus more more than 100 years was honored as Lynchburg’s Heritage Tree of 2013 today.

The award was announced in an Arbor Day ceremony at Lynchburg’s Sandusky Middle School. Mark Gilbert, Randolph’s grounds supervisor, accepted the award on behalf of the College.

Marge Denham speaks about the deodar cedar tree at Randolph College,
named the 2013 Heritage Tree, as Mark Gilbert shows a photo of the tree.
The honored tree is a deodar cedar that stands in front of Main Hall. A few massive branches sweep close to the ground, but there is enough room for a bench just under the tree to provide a great spot to relax, read, and enjoy the beauty of front campus. Gilbert and a forester from the city estimate that the tree is 120 to 140 years old—possibly older than the College.

“You cannot miss it—it is an absolutely gorgeous tree,” said Marge Denham, past president of the Lynchburg Tree Stewards, who presented the award to Gilbert.

Denham said the tree was nominated for the annual award last year. It was selected as Heritage Tree for its beauty and its size. “So many of the deodar cedars in our area are large, but we had a frost a number of years ago and it broke the tops off many of them. But yours was not injured,” she said.

After the Arbor Day ceremony, sixth graders at Sandusky Middle School helped plant trees around their campus.

The Cedar on front campus is just one of many trees that help beautify Randolph College. This afternoon, Randolph students in an organic gardening class planted fig trees on a hill overlooking the College’s tennis courts. Ludovic Lemaitre ’11, Randolph's sustainability coordinator, said the fig trees should bear fruit within two years.

Students honored for academic, leadership, and athletic accomplishments

This week, we honored Randolph students for a variety of accomplishments. After a ceremony honoring student-athletes for their academic and athletic accomplishments on Tuesday, we held our Academic and Leadership Awards ceremony on Wednesday.

This annual event honors students who have excelled in their academic performance as well as demonstrated leadership at the College.

Academic Awards included:

Outstanding First Year in Art History: Miranda Stumpf ’16
Rachel Trexler Ellis '44 Art Prize for Excellence: Stormy Clowdis ’13

Sophomore Biology Award: Sara Reed ’15
Ann Grant Gerhardt Award: Sergio Rodriguez ’14
Grace Taylor Wiltshire, HA Award: Lauren Dowdle ’13
Marnie Reed Crowell Award: Stephanie Barron ’14

Departmental Award for Outstanding Achievement: Laura Word ’13
Analytical Chemistry Award: Eun Joo Seo ’15
Organic Chemistry award: Alyssa Everett ’15
James Lewis Howe Award: Madeline Carmain ’13

Communication Studies
James Carey/Marie Nichols Award for Excellence: Julianna Joyce ’13
Carla Heath/James Hoban Award: Phuong Tran ’15

Helen McGehee Award: Martin Wiley ’13
Genia Melikova Award: Sara Reed ’15, Amanda Fischer ’15
Sally Spencer Award: Lauren Boergert ’14
Eleanor Struppa Departmental Award: Chloe Tong ’14
Rebecca Jung Award: Kathryn Old ’13, Lindsay Brents ’16

Economics and Business
Carl Stern Award for Excellence: Colton Hunt ’13
Stan Marshall Award for Excellence in Business: David Conrow ’13

Halley Smith Excellence in Intern Teaching Award: Danielle Hehir ’13
Kathleen Bowman Research Award: Phillip Bowling ’13

Academy of American Poets: Kevin Mule ’13
Sarah I. Davis Award in American Studies: Grace Gardiner ’15
John P. Kirby Award for Explication: Grace Gardiner ’15
Margaret I. Raynal Fiction Award: Grace Gardiner ’15

Environmental Studies
Outstanding Environmental Studies Student: Auzeen Abbassi ’15
Environmental Studies Senior Award: Adam Eller ’13

Prix de Langue et Civilisation Francaise: Luisa Poveda Bautista ’13
Prix de l'Alliance Francaise: Risa Koenig ’13, Glenna Gray ’14

Lura Lee Cannon Stephen '11 Prize: Brianne Roth ’13, Marisa Mendez ’13

Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College
Helen Owen Calvert Writing Award: Kelia Cutkelvin ’16, Glenna Gray ’14

Catherine I. Hastings Prize: Thawda Aung ’13

New members of Phi Beta Kappa
Outstanding Student Award: My Hoang ’13

Phi Beta Kappa
Elected seniors: Thawda Aung ’13, Treasa Bryant ’13, Madeline Carmain ’13, Lauren Dowdle ’13, Colton Hunt ’13, Marisa Mendez ’13, Lee Nutter ’13, Morgan Thompson ’13, Thomas Whitehead ’13, Laura Word ’13, Qi Zhang ’13

Outstanding New Major: Alex Tran ’15
Outstanding Senior Major: Thawda Aung ’13
Outstanding Contributor to Science Education: Jim Kwon ’14

Outstanding Academic Achievement Award: Elizabeth van Noppen ’14
Best Senior Project: Cameron Colquitt ’13, Ashan Ford ’13

J. Kenneth Morland Award: Millie Symns ’13
Shirley W. Strickland Award: Brittney Via ’14

Charlotte Daniels Stern Award: Stephen Allman ’13
Helen Edwards Morrison Award: Karen Rose ’13

Outstanding Contributors: Ashley Peisher ’15, Sonja Cirilo ’15
Academic Achievement Award: Matt Cornpropst ’14

Writing Board
Best Short Paper: Elizabeth Delery ’14
Best Long Paper: Julianna Joyce ’13

Leadership Awards included:

Student Government Officers 2012-2013: Zara Sibtain ’13, president; Julianna Joyce ’13, vice president; May Nwe Soe ’14, secretary; John W. Croney ’13, treasurer; Alexandra E. Orrell ’13, social violations chair; Madeline A. Carmain ’13, judiciary chair
Sigma Lambda (leadership honors society) 2012-2013: Ashley D. Edwards ’14, Daphne M. DeLeon ’13, Sydney C. Henson ’14, Christopher D. Hollingsworth ’15, Katherine P. Lesnak ’15, Alexandra E. Orrell ’13, Mark R. Patterson ’15, Evan R. Smith ’15, Erin Vasta ’15
Leadership Challenge Graduates: Chiamaka E. Asinugo ’14, Meron Demeke ’15, Julie Dinh Doan ’14, Shana M. Nelson ’15, Brandon S. Stroble ’16
American Association of University Women Award: Cynthia D. Ferguson ’13

Departmental Awards
3-Year Service Award: Christine R. Gnieski ’13, Megan C. Hageman ’13, Gage A. Stuntz ’13, Millie Symns ’13, Katherine E. West-Hazlewood ’13
Dorothy Hughes Award: Samantha M. Fagone ’15, John P. Grundy ’14
Ambassador Award: Lily M. Noguchi ’13, Sara A. Reed ’15
Tutor of the Year: Zara Sibtain ’13

Individual Leadership Awards
Initiative Award: Alexander Fella ’15, Evan R. Smith ’15
Student-Mentor Award: Amy E. Jacobs ’14
Outstanding Behind-the-Scenes Contributor Award: Kim Hai Do ’13, Glenna M. Gray ’14
Community Builder Award: Tsubasa Wantanabe ’14
Student Organization Advisor of the Year Award: Jim Duffy
Volunteer Leadership Award: Catherine E. Godley ’13
Student of the Year Award: Cameron Hall ’13
Deans’ Leadership Award: Madeline A. Carmain ’13
Virginia Hill Worden Exemplary Leadership Award: Zara Sibtain ’13

Monday, April 22, 2013

Randolph's sustainability efforts lead to Earth Day media coverage

Emily Richards '16 talks with Tim Saunders from WDBJ 7.
Randolph College's sustainability efforts brought WDBJ 7's Lynchburg Bureau Chief Tim Saunders to campus for a special story on Earth Day. Saunders talked with Ludovic Lemaitre '11, Randolph's sustainability coordinator, and Emily Richards '16, a student involved in the Campus Conservation Nationals 2013, about the ways the College is trying to limit its impact on the environment.

On Monday, Randolph celebrated Earth Day with several events, including a special all-organic meal in the dining hall and a planting ceremony.

The Campus Conservation Nationals 2013 was another recent way Randolph has stepped up its sustainability efforts.The College was one of 200 colleges and universities participating in this competition, which was designed to promote electricity and water use reduction.

For almost three weeks, three Randolph College residence halls were engaged in a battle to see who can save the most energy. West Hall beat out Moore Hall and Webb Hall by decreasing its electricity consumption by 8 percent.

To learn more about the competition, go to this press release.

Check out WDBJ 7's coverage of the story at WDBJ7.com
Lemaitre '11, Randolph's sustainability coordinator,is interviewed about Randolph's sustainability efforts.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Students explore "Activism and Social Change" with American Culture Program

The 2013 American Culture Program took seven students to New Orleans, Nashville, and Memphis this week to explore "Activism and Social Change."

Students visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, volunteered with Common Grounds to rehabilitate the wetlands in New Orleans, and experienced the beignets at the world famous Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.

Read more about their travels this year and view photos at their blog...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fifth annual Symposium of Artists & Scholars showcases student and faculty work

Randolph College’s own Jim Peterson will kick off the fifth annual Symposium of Artists & Scholars April 18-19. Peterson, an accomplished poet, playwright, novelist, and Randolph English professor, will present “The Dynamic Stall” April 18 at 7 p.m. in Nichols Theatre.

Peterson has published four full-length collections of poetry, the Man Who Grew Silent, An Afternoon with K, The Owning Stone, and The Bob and Weave. He has also authored three chapbooks and a novel, The Paper Crown. Peterson’s poetry has appeared in several prestigious journals, and he has won awards including Benjamin Saltman Award from the Red Hen Press and a Fellowship in Poetry from the Virginia Arts Commission. His plays have also been produced in college and regional theatres. During his 15-year tenure at the College, Peterson has served as the coordinator of the creative writing program, the visiting writers series, and as the College’s writer-in-residence.

Randolph’s Symposium of Artists & Scholars spotlights student and faculty research and projects from a variety of academic disciplines and provides students with the opportunity to present the results of their research, scholarship, and creative work to the public.

The scheduled presentations cover everything from “The Antioxidant Power of Pomegranate Juice and Juice Mixes” to “A Local Food Economy as a Solution to Lynchburg’s Food Desert: What Role Can Randolph College Play” to “Developing a Synchronous Puppet Control System for Avenue Q Puppets: Puppet Fabrication and Control System Design.” Many of the projects were supported by the Randolph College Summer Research Program and the Randolph Innovative Student Experience (RISE) Program.

Student presentations begin after the keynote address April 18 and continue Friday. For a complete schedule, please see http://www.randolphcollege.edu/x14435.xml.

Friday, April 12, 2013

College community celebrates 100th birthday of longest-serving president

William F. Quillian, Jr., the longest-serving president in the College’s history, turns 100 on April 13. We were thrilled to join with many others to celebrate this milestone and honor Quillian’s many contributions to Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and Randolph College.

On Thursday, the College surprised Quillian with a conference room named for him in the Student Center. At the event, he also learned of the $13,000 in gifts which College graduates have made to the College in his honor. Alumnae and alumni also recently voted to name Quillian the College’s first honorary alumnus.

On Friday, Lynchburg-area alumnae and alumni and friends gathered at Westminster Canterbury, the retirement community where Quillian lives, to celebrate again.

Quillian was delighted by the attention and the gifts made to the College in his honor. “I have been getting notices of those contributions, and they just keep piling up, along with hundreds of cards. I’m being flooded,” he said. “Today’s mail will have another batch of them.”

Quillian is pleased to have the conference room named for him and the status as an honorary alumnus. “I love the College so much, and I sort of missed a connection with it,” he said. “Now I’m a part of it. Having that connection means a lot to me.”

Quillian served as president of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College from 1952 to 1978, after which he went on to fill other business and civic positions in Lynchburg. For more information about his achievements, read this News & Advance article about a celebration that the Virginia Legal Aid Society hosted at Randolph College.

Art professor receives grants to support book

When did art collecting first boom in the United States? Leanne Zalewski, a Randolph College art professor, believes it happened earlier than many think, and she recently garnered two grants to support a book on the topic.

Her book, Before Impressionism: French Art in New York, 1867-1893, examines the history of postbellum art collections and what that history reveals about art and culture in New York and America as a whole, as well as how the increased interest in art collection changed the country.

Zalewski recently received a Diane and Trevor Morris Fellowship at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, to do research for her book, as well as a 2013 Mednick Fellowship Award from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gammas celebrate centennial anniversary

On Saturday, Randolph students celebrated a century-old coffin heist that sparked 100 years of odd class spirit.

The Gammas, Randolph’s spirit group for class years ending in odd numbers, celebrated the their centennial anniversary with several activities allowing Gamma alumnae to mingle with current students and celebrate the College’s traditional rivalry between odd and even classes.

“We wanted a way for the alumnae to connect with the current Gammas, as well as to reconnect with each other,” said Alexandra Orell ’13, Gamma co-president.

Though the spirit group’s history has many variations, there are common elements. The story started in 1913 when a member of an even class bought a coffin as a symbolic way to “bury odd spirit,” a catch phrase that evens still use today. However, a member of an odd class intercepted the coffin when it was being delivered and hid it for several days. Women from the odd class burned the coffin on front campus. Legend says that the coffin’s silver handles were later melted down into coffin-shaped rings that Gammas still wear today.

The Gammas continue to use symbols of a coffin to remember that early triumph over the even classes. They also have a devil mascot that was added in 1915 to represent the mischievous nature of the students in the group.

A few years after the Gammas formed, even classes began their own spirit group, the Etas. These two groups have been central to the friendly rivalry between odd and even classes.

The Gamma centennial celebration featured several of the traditions that have grown out of the class rivalry. After an opening brunch in the Skeller, the spirit groups participated in a Skeller Sing, in which Etas and Gammas alike led their classes in the songs that they have written over the years to celebrate class spirit. The evening concluded with the painting of the Even Post and a dance party titled “Drop It Like It’s Odd” for the entire student body.

Orell said the centennial was a great opportunity to reflect on the meaning behind the traditions. “As I paint the post, I sometimes wonder ‘How many women have walked these brick sidewalks before me,’” she said. “I’m so fortunate to be a part of a group that has changed my life for the better.”

The friendly rivalry between the even and odds has played an important role in shaping the traditions and history of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and Randolph College as well. “The sister class tradition is one of the most beautiful things about our school,” said Maddy Carmain ’13, a member of the Gammas. “It encourages bonding between the classes. The spirit groups are part of what keeps the sister classes going.”

Gage Stunz ’13, Gamma co-president, enjoys the fact that the spirit groups allow students to serve as as holders of the College’s history and traditions. “I think the even-odd rivalry is a very special thing about Randolph College,” he said.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Dance Concert to feature student and visiting artist choreography

The beauty of sign language will find a place on the stage this week during Randolph College’s annual Spring Dance Concert.

Kathryn Old ’13 choreographed “Natural Communication” with movements inspired by American Sign Language, which she began learning when she babysat a deaf child for a family she knows.  “I wanted to show the importance of dance as expression and also the beauty of being hearing impaired and using sign language,” said Old.

Photo by Andrew Wilds
This is one of several dance pieces that students will showcase in the concert at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Students have been choreographing their own dances and mastering the work of visiting dance artists for more than a year in preparation for this concert.

Old is also quite excited to be performing in a piece by Takehiro “Take” Ueyama, the director of Take Dance in New York City who has been a visiting artist at Randolph for several years. The dance is Japanese inspired and technically quite difficult. “Take’s choreography is beautiful because it looks so effortless, but they are extremely challenging to dance,” Old said.

Working with the visiting artists such as Take is a very special component of the Randolph College dance program. It allows students exposure to dancers and choreographers who are currently working in the dance industry. Not only are they able to build close relationships with the visiting artists, but it is also a gateway to opportunities with other dance companies.

Martin Wiley will perform a solo dance choreographed by Kile
Hotchkiss in the Spring Dance Concert. Photo by Andrew Wilds.
Another senior choreographer highlighted in this dance concert is Martin Wiley ’13. Wiley has choreographed and casted a dance inspired by the elements earth, wind, fire, and water. “I enjoy choreography. The idea that I could create something and it would be appreciated was really fascinating to me,” said Wiley, “It is one of the things that has inspired me to go deeper in the field of dance.”

In addition to his own choreography, Wiley will perform in five other dances at the concert. Most notable is a solo piece choreographed by Kile Hotchkiss. Representing the struggles that one faces when coming in and out of a relationship, the dance is quite powerful. “It is set to a piano ballad. The music is simple, but it is offset by very dynamic movement,” said Wiley. “I think it will really affect some people in the audience.”

Wiley and Old each bring a different perspective and experience to dance. Wiley did not discover his passion for dance until he was at Randolph, when another student saw him dance at a party and invited him to perform in a piece she was choreographing. Old, however, has danced for most of her life and attended the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Va., for high school, She had a very intensive pre-college career that involved dancing most days from lunchtime until late at night. Coming to Randolph allowed her to continue working hard to develop her talent while giving her a breath of fresh air. “The Dance Program here has felt like family,” she said. “It is very uplifting and encouraging.”

The Spring Dance Concert will start Thursday, April 4th and run through Saturday, April 6th. All performances begin at 8:00pm and are held in Smith Hall Theatre. Admission is $8 for general admission, $4 for students, and free for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.lynchburgtickets.com/springdance.

Randolph to host Relay for Life community fundraiser

Randolph College students, faculty, and staff are coming together for an inspirational Relay for Life on campus this Sunday.

Randolph College will host Relay for Life from noon until 9 p.m. April 7.
Donate or get involved at RelayForLife.org/RandolphVA
The American Cancer Society Fundraiser allows the community to come together with cancer patients, survivors, and their friends to walk laps around the track and sell items to raise money for cancer research and assistance programs. The event will include fun activities including music performances, yoga, corn hole, scavenger hunts, dance contests, and more throughout the day.

“The festivities and true meaning of the event will inspire and energize the most sedentary of individuals to find strength they never knew they had in them,” said Carolyn Sarson, a physical education professor at Randolph. Sarson, a Relay for Life veteran, is leading in the fundraising efforts for Randolph’s Relay. “Coming together for such a great cause will remain as one of the most heartwarming and fulfilling experiences in my life,” she said.

“I wanted to give our community our own chance to change the world.”

–Sally Taylor ’15
Hosting a Relay for Life event at Randolph is a tedious process that has been almost a year in the making. Sally Taylor ‘15 attended another Relay for Life event in Lynchburg about a year ago, and that made her want to bring the event to Randolph. “While we do a lot of things together, I feel that we could do more in the Randolph community to support a higher cause,” said Taylor. “I wanted to give our community our own chance to change the world.”

She organized the program with faculty sponsor Kim Sheldon, Meredith Doughtery ‘15, and several other students. Other students have been forming teams and raising money for the American Cancer Society.

Some Relay for Life participants at Randolph have a very personal connection to cancer. Sarson said she lost her father to multiple myeloma just six months after her first Relay for Life in 2001. “Seeing my best friend and most important person in my life struggle bravely and with quiet strength empowered me to do something more so that others did not have to struggle through such a horrible disease,” said Sarson.

Marisa Mendez ’13, a member of the “Glitter Queens” team who leads the student body in fundraising, had a cousin who died after a battle with colon cancer last year. “I want to honor her memory and help raise money for research,” Mendez said. “I like the community that these kinds of events bring because many people there have experienced what you have and understand what you, or your family, has gone through. It's comforting.”

Sarson and Mendez are just two of the many participants who have direct ties with the mission of the American Cancer Society. Special recognition including a survivor lap and a luminaria ceremony will be held throughout the event to commemorate those who have fought the battle with cancer.

“This is something we would love to keep going, so we need the support of everyone in our Randolph community,” Taylor said.

Randolph’s relay for life will begin Sunday, April 7th, at the Randolph College track from noon until 9:00 p.m. To join or donate, visit RelayForLife.org/RandolphVA. Any questions can be directed to Taylor at srtaylor@randolphcollege.edu.