Thursday, October 31, 2013

Independent film festival selects film produced in Summer Research

A film created by students, faculty, and staff in the Randolph College Summer Research Program has been accepted into the Mt. Hood Independent Film Festival.

The Hood River, Oregon, festival will screen Beholder on Saturday, November 9.

Beholder was written by Jim Peterson, a Randolph English professor who retired this year. Ashley Peisher ’15 and Sonja Cirilo ’15 worked with Mace Archer, who was a Randolph theatre professor, and Skip Wallace, a videographer for the College, this summer to turn it into a film.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fall dance concert highlights student choreography

Student talents will take center stage this weekend as the Randolph Dance program presents its annual Fall Showcase.

The seven-piece performance is choreographed and organized completely by students. Seniors Lauren Boergert and Chloe Tong led the organization for this concert, but each student in the dance program has contributed in various ways.

2013 Fall Dance Showcase

8 p.m. Nov. 1 & Nov. 2
Smith Hall Theatre
Tickets: $5 general admission, $2 for students
Amanda Fischer ’15 is quite excited about the diversity of the pieces in the showcase. “Some years it is all one style, but this year it is all different; ballet, modern, hip hop, and pedestrian style,” she said. “Even though they are all different styles, it melds into one show quite nicely.”

Fischer is one of six student choreographers who have crafted pieces for the showcase. Titled “Perspectives,” it is a modern style dance about how people can see the same thing and still have different views of what it is, means, or represents. In addition to her own piece, she will dance in three others, including a ballet solo choreographed by Lindsay Brents ’16.

Having been trained in ballet for most of her pre-college career, Fischer found Brents’ choreography about a dancer who hates ballet and wants to do hip-hop quite enjoyable. “It should be entertaining,” she said.

In addition to organizing the show, Tong and Boergert also choreographed for it. They created one piece together, and Tong created another one of her own that conveys the ability to be feminine and strong simultaneously.

Tong and Fischer both think that this showcase in particular will be especially enjoyable for audiences. “The music is also very upbeat and pop-like, so students will be able to relate to it,” said Tong.

Angie Carilli ’14 and Samantha Suzuki ’14 round out the list of six student choreographers whose works can be seen this Friday and Saturday nights in Smith Hall Theatre. The showcase will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adult general admission and $2 for students.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Randolph students participate in service-oriented fall break trip

A group of Randolph students recently spent their fall break volunteering at a nearby camp in Central Virginia.

The College created this year’s new alternative fall and spring break program to give students more opportunities to conduct community service while also developing their leadership skills. Amanda Denny, director of leadership and engagement, spearheaded the new program with the help of students.

Evan Smith ’15 and Sandeep Poudyal ’16 led the trip. Other students who attended include Teague Nelson ’14, Robert Villanueva ’14, Proity Akbar ’15, Steve Dinh ’16, Dan Phung ’15, Ju’Nelle Brown ’17, David Lopez ’16, Alex Arana ’16, Zhe Zhang ’15, Yeachan Lee ’16, and Endrina Gonzalez ’14.

Denny is working with students to organize a similar trip for spring break 2014.

Newly published Pearl S. Buck novel now in Randolph College Campus Store

A long-lost novel written by Pearl S. Buck, class of 1914, is now available in the Randolph College Campus Store.
The Campus Store is selling copies of The Eternal Wonder, the recently discovered
novel by Pearl S. Buck, and Pearl of China, a novel that dramatizes parts of Buck's life.

Buck penned The Eternal Wonder shortly before she died 40 years ago. The manuscript was recently discovered in a storage unit in Texas and given to her family. Open Road Integrated Media published the book last week.

The novel tells the story of Randolph “Rann” Colfax, a gifted young man who searches for meaning, purpose, and love. “A moving and mesmerizing fictional exploration of the themes that meant so much to Pearl S. Buck in her life, this final work is perhaps her most personal and passionate, and will no doubt appeal to the millions of readers who have treasured her novels for generations,” says the publisher’s website.

Pearl of China, a novel by Anchee Min that includes Buck as a main character, is also for sale in the store. On November 12, Min will speak at Randolph College to begin a series of events celebrating the 100th anniversary of Buck’s graduation from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. Copies of The Eternal Wonder and Pearl of China will be available at the event.

Author Anchee Min to begin Pearl S. Buck graduation centennial celebration on Nov. 12

Anchee Min loves telling people about Pearl S. Buck. Although she was raised in China at a time that the country promoted disdain for the American-born author, she eventually discovered Buck’s loving, literary portrayals of China. This inspired Min to not only write Pearl of China, a novel about Buck, but to share the author’s vision whenever she can.

“Pearl S. Buck is my hero,” said Min. “Her views on China are still valid today. I can’t speak enough about her importance and contributions to the world.”

Min’s lecture at Randolph College on November 12 kicks off the College’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of Buck’s graduation from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 1914.

Anchee Min will speak at Randolph College at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 in Wimberly Recital Hall.
Buck spent the first half of her life in China, with the exception of brief visits to the United States and the four years she spent attending college at R-MWC. She spent the second half of her life building bridges between the east and the west through her literature and humanitarian work.

She won the Pulitzer Prize for The Good Earth, a novel depicting the lives of Chinese peasants, and she later won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Buck also started organizations that not only helped Americans understand Asian cultures, but also helped in the adoption and education of mixed-race children and children with disabilities.

Randolph College is celebrating the centennial anniversary of her graduation with several events to help the community learn about and ponder her legacy. View details about the celebration at

When Min was a teenager, Buck was trying to obtain a visa to visit her beloved China. However, she was a political and professional enemy of Jiang Qing, also known as “Madame Mao,” the wife of the China’s communist leader. Quing worked to prevent Buck from obtaining a visa with a national campaign that denounced Buck as a cultural imperialist whose books had portrayed Chinese people in a negative light.

In 1996, Min was signing books when someone approached her and said that Buck had taught her to love the Chinese people. She offered Min a copy of The Good Earth, which opened Min’s eyes to the truth about Buck. “I broke down crying on the airplane from Chicago to Los Angeles after I finished reading The Good Earth,” Min said. “I had never known any writer, East or West, who wrote about our peasants with such love and affection.”

Min’s novel, Pearl of China, tells the story of a young girl in China who becomes friends with Buck and remains in contact with her for years, even after Buck leaves China. The book is now available for sale in the Randolph College Campus store.

Journal of Higher Education publishes research by Randolph faculty

A prestigious publication on higher education has published an article written by Randolph College faculty members and an alumna.

“Classroom Participation and Student-Faculty Interactions: Does Gender Matter?” appears in the latest edition of the Journal of Higher Education. The article was written by psychology professors Holly Tatum and Beth Schwartz, also the Catherine E. & William E. Thoresen Chair in Social Sciences and assistant dean of the College; Peggy Schimmoeller, director of teacher education; and Nicole Perry ’06.

The article documents research the group conducted to investigate classroom dynamics in the first years that Randolph was coeducational. This was only the second study ever conducted exploring how coeducation influenced teaching styles and classroom interaction as a single-sex college transitioned to coeducation.
“We wanted to take this rare opportunity to empirically study this question,” Tatum said.

Beginning with the College’s last semester of single-sex education in 2006, the researchers spent five years attending classes and examining the way professors and students interacted. The study published in the Journal of Higher Education focuses on three years of data collected in courses for first-year students, starting with the first semester of coeducation.

Ashley Crippen Scott ’08 also helped gather data, and Carl Coffey ’11 and Alexis Mandarakas ’11 converted the observation data into spreadsheets for data analysis during Randolph’s Summer Research Program in 2009.

Like other studies, their data showed a difference between the teaching styles of male and female professors. Students were more engaged in classes taught by women. They did not discover a significant influence of student gender on the overall level of student-faculty interaction. However, the results showed that the most common form of classroom participation—students speaking up without being called on—decreased as the percentage of men in the classroom rose.

Although there were almost twice as many female students, the researchers found that males and females participated at equal rates, Tatum said.

Because this study focuses only on the data taken in the first three years of Randolph’s coeducation, it does not compare classroom participation data recorded in the semester before the coed transition to data recorded later.

”This research highlights the importance of examining classroom dynamics at the college level, and helping faculty understand how student participation changes when student and teacher gender is considered,” Shimmoeller said. “Our hope is that this study will encourage more research into factors that influence college classroom learning.”

“Being published in the Journal of Higher Education is a significant accomplishment, and I congratulate these authors from the Randolph community for this well-earned recognition,” said Carl Girelli, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “Their work is one example of our faculty’s strong commitment to conducting research with students and making contributions to national discussions on important topics.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Randolph hosts French professor for discussion of antisemitism in France

A lecture today at Randolph will shed light on the problem of persistent antisemitism in France.

Gayle Zachmann, a professor from the University of Florida, will present “The Silent Enemy of the Republic: Jews…or Antisemitism? Reflections of Jews, Jewishness, and Antisemitism in France (1789-2013)” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 23, in Nichols Theatre in the Randolph College Student Center.

France has a complicated history with antisemitism. In 1791, France became the first European country to offer expanded rights and protections to Jews through emancipation. But in the centuries since then, “the Jewish question” reemerged and challenged the French republic and its institutions. Zachmann will draw upon her personal experiences for the presentation, having seen growing antisemitism  while living in France from 2003-2012.

Randolph professors are looking forward to giving their students an opportunity to learn how antisemitism has affected people throughout history. History professor Gerry Sherayko, who is teaching a seminar on the Holocaust for first-year students, said this will show students how countries other than Germany handled issues that eventually led to the Holocaust.

Jamie Rohrer, a professor of French at Randolph, said Zachmann’s lectures are interesting and informative. “She is a riveting speaker, who is clearly fascinated by French cultural production and its complexities,” she said. “Randolph students will enjoy how she integrates different kinds of cultural production, including cinema, painting, caricature, literature, and the media, to explore French culture.

“Focusing on republican values, and addressing both past and contemporary debates, her talk will provide a historical sweep of the Jewish question in post-revolutionary France,” Rohrer said.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Counseling Center staff member wins statewide poetry award

A Randolph staff member has won the 2013 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Poetry.

The Library of Virginia presented the award to LuAnn Keener-Mikenas, a therapist in Randolph College’s Counseling Center, on Saturday. The award designates Keener-Mikenas’s latest collection of poems, Homeland, as the best book of poetry published by a Virginia author in 2012.

Keener-Mikenas was excited to learn of this honor. “I feel I’ve been working toward this since I was 10,” she said.

She started writing at about that age, but didn’t think of it as a career until much later, in college. “I remember pulling out this drawer full of poems, typing out eight of them, and giving them to the literary magazine,” she said. “They published all of them.”

Keener-Mikenas earned an MFA in creative writing at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville in 1986 and began teaching English at Virginia Tech that year. After about 10 years, she became a student again herself and earned a master’s degree in social work. Today, she provides counseling services part-time at Randolph, has her own private practice and also works with Centra hospice.

After publishing poems in many journals and magazines, and winning awards including a 1990 Virginia Prize, Keener-Mikenas’ first book, Color Documentary, was published in 1994. Many of these poems focus on family and growing up in a rural farming community in Texas. Others are about wildlife and her concern with environmental devastation.

In addition to more personal poems, Homeland contains cycles of poems inspired by wildlife photographs and by paintings documenting pioneers and pilgrims expanding west across the American landscape. “It’s about the landscape, the virgin territory of the Americas. It’s about what happened to that landscape and to the American dream,” Keener-Mikenas said. “Ultimately, it’s about how we are all one family. Earth is our homeland.”

Keener-Mikenas picked the title for Homeland long before the United States Department of Homeland Security was created. Although the meaning of the word “homeland” has shifted because of that association, she decided to keep the title. “In a way, that is what I’m talking about. Homeland security is about saving the planet, but saving it in an ecological and spiritual sense, not in a military sense,” she said.

The Library of Virginia Literary contacted Keener-Mikenas in August to notify her that she was a finalist for the statewide poetry award. She was excited, but also nervous—the other two finalists included a 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner Claudia Emerson and David Huddle, a well-established author who won the Library of Virginia prize for fiction in 2012. Winning the award gives her confidence for her next book of poems, which she is editing now.

This past weekend, Keener-Mikenas gave a poetry reading and panel presentation and participated in the awards gala in Richmond.

The Library of Virginia presents the annual awards to showcase and honor authors who write in Virginia, or write about Virginia topics. “Virginia is home to many authors whose works have enriched our lives and filled our libraries,” the state library’s website says. “The Library is proud to present the Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards as a way of thanking these authors and celebrating the power of the written word.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Clash of the Classes 2013 begins October 23

The annual Clash of the Classes competition is just a week away. Whether your talent is raising money for the March of Dimes, stacking golf balls, or pulling one of your classmates in a homemade chariot around the track, this is an opportunity to help your class win bragging rights and timeless glory.

Register for Homecoming 2013
The Class of 2016 is the reigning champion. Five events will determine whether they will retain their crown or pass it along to another class.

Each year, Clash of the Classes provides contests that are fun to watch or compete in as the College prepares to celebrate Homecoming. Students who would like to represent their classes should contact Andy Sinclair, the head men’s lacrosse coach, to sign up for the chariot race and Nick Spicer, coordinator of student activities, for the other events.

Here is the official schedule:

Wednesday, October 23 – Friday, October 25
Penny Drive for the March of Dimes
Each class will have a jar at the cashier table in Cheatham Dining Hall to raise money for the March of Dimes. Here’s how the competition works: Drop a penny in your class’s jar to get points for your team, but drop any other kind of cash in the jars for other classes to subtract points from those classes. Winning class gets 400 points.

Wednesday, October 23, 12:30 p.m.
Minute to Win It
Contestants from each class will compete in challenges from the game show Minute to Win It. The contests include balancing soda cans on their beveled corner, stacking golf balls, and emptying a box of tissues using only one hand at a time. Winning class gets 400 points.

Thursday, October 24
Finish the Lyric Competition, 12:30 p.m.
One member from each class will compete to see who can complete the lyrics to popular songs. The game will continue until only one contestant remains. Winning class gets 400 points.

Clash of the Classes culminates in the Chariot Race during Homecoming.
Friday, October 25
Beanbag Toss Contest, volleyball game intermission
The WildCat volleyball team will take on Southern Virginia University at 7 p.m. During the intermission, teams of two from each Randolph College class year will toss bean bags at a target to garner points for their class. Winning class gets 400 points.

Saturday, October 26
Chariot Race, WildCat Stadium track
In the crowning event of Clash of the Classes, teams from each class will race chariots they have constructed around the track, with one member of the class riding in the chariots. Halfway around the track, the teams will pass their chariots off to other members of the class to finish the race. Winning class gets 2,500 points. Second, third, and fourth place get 1,500, 1,000, and 500 points, respectively.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New fall break service trip available to students

Students at Randolph College can take advantage of a new kind of fall break experience beginning this weekend.

The College is creating a new option for alternative fall and spring break trips, during which students will develop their leadership skills through service activities. This weekend, a group of students will travel to Camp Friendship, in Palmyra, Va., to participate in a weekend focused around service and leadership.

Evan Smith ’15 and Sandeep Poudyal ’16 planned the trip under the direction of Amanda Denny, Randolph’s director of leadership and engagement.

At Camp Friendship, students assist with several projects around the site as the camp management prepares for upcoming camps and a fall festival. They will remove graffiti, clean up trails, prepare meals, and clean camp buildings.

Denny expects to see the this trip’s impact go far beyond fall break. She has seen service trips like this help students develop leadership abilities and friendships. “There is nothing like being able to go into a different culture, community, or environment, and to be selfless in providing a service to those in need; but also to develop a friendship and relationship with the people with which they worked,” she said.

The alternative Fall Break trip is part of a new grouping of service and leadership opportunities being offered to students. First year students from the Emerging Leaders program recently attended a weekend retreat where they engaged in team building and leadership activities. There are also program offerings for sophomores and seniors. The benefits of these programs are numerous, but the ultimate goal is to help students learn about and practice leadership skills.

Any student is welcome to attend the fall break trip to Camp Friendship, and it is free to attend. Spaces will be offered on a first come, first serve basis and anyone interested should contact Amanda Denny (

Lynchburg Business Magazine features Randolph President as Leader of the Month

Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman is on the cover of Lynchburg Business as the featured Leader of the Month.

In addition to Bateman’s photo on the front, the magazine includes a three-page interview with Bateman and a page of facts and figures about Randolph College.

You can read Lynchburg Business Magazine here.

A more mobile-friendly version of the story, for devices that do not support Flash, is here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Randolph president begins tour meeting alumnae and alumni

This week, Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman embarks on a tour to meet alumnae and alumni across five states.

Over the next two weeks, Bateman will attend events in eight different cities in Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Texas. Additional events are being scheduled for the winter and the spring.

Earlier this year, he met some of the College’s graduates in Lynchburg and Roanoke. Meeting alumnae and alumni of the College is one of Bateman’s top priorities, and he has enjoyed hearing their stories about the College, its traditions, and the education they received.

For a full list of upcoming alumnae and alumni events with Bateman, see the Alumnae and Alumni Association Events Calendar.

Students present research at regional conference

Eighteen Randolph College students presented research at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship (MARCUS) this weekend.

They presented talks and posters on a variety of topics including the impact that Supreme Court language has on political discourse, the ability to kill deadly bacteria in compost using another form of bacteria, and the effectiveness of using cell phones to conduct inertial navigation.

“Research is an important part of a student’s education at Randolph College, and an essential part of research is making a contribution to an academic discipline,” said Peter Sheldon, director of the Randolph College Center for Student Research. “We enable our students to do that by giving them opportunities to present the results of their research at regional and national conferences. MARCUS is an excellent opportunity for students to hone their presentation skills and share the research that they are doing.”

Presenting students included Si Thu Aung ’16, Elizabeth Delery ’14, Meron Demeke ’15, Steve Dinh ’16, Connor Dye ’15, Sydney Henson ’14, Nam Hoang ’15, Jim Kwon ’14, Rebekah Leo ’15, Katherine Lesnak ’15, Kristina Marinak ’14, Kavya Pradhan ’14, Sergio Rodriguez ’14, Timothy Slesinger ’14, Sarah Terlizzi ’15, Alex Tran ’15, Penny Trieu ’15, and Tsubasa Watanabe ’14.

Most of the student research was conducted as part of the Summer Research Program, and one project was funded by the Randolph Innovative Student Experience, a program that makes grants available for students’ independent research and creative works.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Vote Kakenya Ntaiya for the top CNN Hero

Kakenya Ntaiya ’04 is one of the top ten CNN Heroes of 2013. Beginning today, the Randolph College community and others who admire her work can vote daily to make her the top CNN Hero for the year.

Ntaiya is a member of a Massai tribe from Kenya. She convinced her village leaders to allow her to be the first girl to leave and attend college in the United States. After graduating from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and receiving a doctoral degree, she returned to Kenya to open a boarding school where girls are receiving an education that empowers their lives.

To vote, visit the CNN Heroes voting page and select Ntaiya’s picture. Complete the voting by entering an e-mail address or logging in with a Facebook account. Each person may vote once per day. Voting will continue until November 17.

Winning the top CNN Hero award would provide $250,000 to grow the school and transform the lives of more girls, Ntaiya said in an e-mail to supporters. “I want to thank CNN for believing in my dream and that of the many girls around the world,” she wrote. “And I want to thank you, our supporters, for your continued support. Together we are changing the lives of girls in Kenya in a positive way.”

Learn more about Ntaiya here on CNN’s feature page about her.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Men's soccer team breaks into national rankings

An impressive start to the 2013 soccer season has earned national recognition for  the Randolph College men’s soccer team.

Two recent wins pushed the WildCats into the number 17 spot on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division III poll, besting the team’s previous record of reaching number 18 on that list. .

The team also ranked as the final team on the top 25, a list compiled from votes by a panel of coaches, sports information directors, and media members. This is the first time in the program’s history that the team has been ranked in both polls at the same time.

Under the leadership of Head Coach Bryan Waggoner and a large contingent of seniors, the men’s soccer team has amassed 9 wins, zero losses and one tie this season, their longest unbeaten streak. In 2011, they won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championship and rose to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division III playoffs.

Learn more about the team’s accomplishments on the WildCat Athletics Men’s  Soccer page.

Recent graduate gets book contract for stories she wrote at Randolph

A collection of short stories written by Sara Taylor ’12 for her senior project at Randolph will be published soon.

Taylor recently signed a contract to publish the collection with Random House Publishers imprints in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. She will spend the next six months working with editors to prepare the book for publication (while also studying for her Ph.D.).

Taylor, an English major with an emphasis in creative writing, started working on the collection the summer before her senior year at Randolph when she decided that she wanted to complete an honors project. “I was told that honors meant 100 pages minimum and no maximum,” she said. “I figured that if I was going to write that much, I might as well write a whole book.”

English professor Bunny Goodjohn, Taylor’s senior advisor, provided guidance and challenged Taylor to perfect the stories’ plots, characters, and language. “Working with her was one of the best experiences of my entire time at Randolph,” Taylor said. Their work brought rewards before long: one of the stories from Taylor’s senior project won the coveted Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize last year.

Goodjohn already knew that Taylor was a talented writer, but seeing her senior project come together taught her something else about her student. “She was also a dogged writer—fully committed to learning two other skills a modern writer needs: self-promotion and marketing,” she said. “Sara knew it wasn’t enough to sit down and write; she had to take control not only of craft but also of her own publishing success.”

Most stories in the volume take place in a fictionalized version of Eastern Shore, a region on a peninsula on Virginia’s eastern coast where she lived when she started writing the stories.

While studying for her master’s degree at the University of East Anglia (UEA) last year, she met a literary agent who started marketing the book. The agent called with frequent updates, and she finally had good news a few weeks ago.

“She called me to say that there was no news, and then she had to leave because she was getting a call. Then she called back and said an offer had been made,” Taylor said. “By the end of the evening I had a publisher.”

The book is currently titled The Shore, but that might change as the book is prepared for publication. It will be about 360 pages and will appear in hardcover and paperback. It is scheduled to hit bookstore shelves in 2015.

“I still can’t believe it’s happened,” Taylor said. “It’s given me a lot more energy to do the next book.”

Her next major project is a novel that she started during her master’s program. She would like to be a professional writer, but she also plans to look for opportunities to teach after completing her Ph.D. at UEA.

Barbara Niedland McCarthy '73 returns to Randolph College Board of Trustees

Barbara Niedland McCarthy ’73 is no stranger to the Randolph College Board of Trustees. McCarthy, one of two alumnae recently elected to the Board, first served from 2009-12 as part of her role as president of the Alumnae and Alumni Association. 

McCarthy, a psychology major from Richmond, Virginia, is the director of the Library and Resource Center for the Commonwealth’s Department of the Blind and Vision Impaired.

“The College gave me the foundation upon which I built my career, developed into who I am today, started a family, and became passionate about service to others,” McCarthy said. “I want other young people to have similar amazing opportunities at this wonderful College. I wish I could have another go at it!”

McCarthy earned her Master in Education from the University of Virginia and has been heavily involved with the College for years. Among other duties, she served as chair of the finance committee, the Richmond Chapter president, and as a district director.

She believes her experience in the education spectrum will serve her well on the Board, and she hopes to build relationships with fellow Board members as well as faculty and staff.

“I see blue skies ahead for Randolph College,” McCarthy said. “I envision a College renowned for the integration of its liberal arts curriculum with more real life experiences and internships. I expect the size and diversity of the student body to continue to grow, but the intimate campus atmosphere will remain intact. The College’s fine faculty will continue to inspire students and produce important research and projects. 

“Randolph College,” she added, “has grown with the times, and is, quite frankly, better than the College I attended from 1969-1973. The world is virtually smaller now, and thankfully Randolph has changed to meet the new global challenges.”

McCarthy is an active volunteer in her community and has served as board president of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Vision Impaired. A long-time board member and trustee emeritus for the American Foundation for the Blind, McCarthy has also volunteered in an advisory capacity with both the American Printing House for the Blind and with Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

She and her husband, Jim, have two sons, a daughter, and five grandchildren.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kathryn Heath Graves '76 begins tenure as new member of the Randolph College Board of Trustees

One of three daughters of an Episcopal priest, Kathryn Heath Graves ’76 never took college for granted.  “I was very fortunate to go there, and I loved it from day one,” said the Atlanta, Georgia, resident. Graves, an honors graduate in art history/art studio/psychology and long-time supporter of the College, was one of two new members recently elected to the Randolph College Board of Trustees.

“So many things that have mattered to me in my life were enhanced by my being at Randolph-Macon,” she said.

Graves currently serves as the associate dean for development and external relations for the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. After graduation from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College), Graves earned her Master of Education from the University of Georgia and her Master of Public Health from Emory University. 

 Her interest in higher education began during her time at the College. She worked in the admissions office all four years and traveled throughout the United States with members of the admissions staff during her junior year.  The close proximity of the development, career services, and president’s offices provided opportunities to build close relationships with College administrators.  Graves entered the real world as a banker but quickly gravitated back to higher education. 

She took on the challenge of building financial resources for Rollins when the entire program didn’t fill one floor of a building.  Today, Rollins has taken its place among the leading schools of public health in the world, attracts more masters applicants than any other school of public health, and recently moved into its second 10-story building. 

Graves believes her experience in higher education will prove to be an asset as a Board member. “It is second nature to me,” she said. “I feel very fortunate to join the Board along with the new president. We deal with many of the same issues and I expect each experience will enhance the other.  I have great optimism for the College, and I hope that I can help bring into our community new friends for the College and people who have drifted away for whatever reason.”

A perennial volunteer, Graves has served as a district director, class agent, class secretary, and president of the Atlanta Alumnae and Alumni Chapter. She returned to campus multiple times to share her expertise with staff as well as students. Most recently in 2013, she and her husband, Judson, provided funding to support the Heath Student Government Suite in the new Student Center.

Graves’ two sisters, Susan Heath ’79 and Elizabeth Heath Hershey ’80, are also alumnae of the College.

“I moved a lot growing up, and R-MWC is the one place I have come home to since 1972,” Graves said. “When I was in college, my father used to say, ‘Let’s take Kathryn back to heaven. I thought it was the perfect place to be educated, and I still do.”

Monday, October 7, 2013

Alumna Afreen Gootee '87 meets with Randolph education students

An alumna visited campus today to talk with education students and share advice about becoming involved in the teaching profession.

Chaman “Afreen” Yusuf Gootee ’87 attended a class taught by education professor Consuella Woods. She later spoke to students in an afternoon workshop.

“It is important to me to have a connection to the College, and to help the students here make a connection to the real world,” said Gootee, who has visited the College occasionally to talk with education students.

Gootee teaches history, math, and computer courses in Georgetown School, an alternative education center in Hanover County, Virginia. She is the president of the Hanover Education Association and vice president of a 19-county district of the Virginia Education Association (VEA).

She said attending Randolph-Macon Woman’s College helped her prepare for teaching and leadership roles by giving her much experience in the classroom through the forms of several practicums even before it was time for her to student-teach.

Philip Forgit, the executive director of VEA, joined Gootee for the event. Gootee encouraged students to join the VEA, including the student chapter at Randolph, for networking and for opportunities to advocate for education.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Randolph hosts conferences on education and social justice Oct. 12

Randolph College will host two public conferences covering topics such as social justice and education on Oct.12.

The annual Women Education Leaders in Virginia (WELV) regional forum will provide training for teachers, education students, and school administrators. The local Race, Poverty, and Social Justice conference will include a series of workshops on improving racial equality.

The WELV conference is open to women and men who work in education or who are preparing to enter the field. Beginning with in Smith Memorial Hall with an 8:30 a.m. breakfast and concluding at 12:30 p.m., it will include breakout sessions for elementary and high school educators. The workshops will include skill building activities centered on classroom environments, relationships, and meeting the needs of all students.

Charol Shakeshaft, professor of educational leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University, will deliver the keynote address. Tate Culbreth, a fifth grade teacher at Bedford Hills Elementary School in Lynchburg, will lead the elementary education sessions. Susan Hunter, a Greensboro, N.C., high school teacher who has demonstrated success with advanced placement courses, will lead the high school sessions.

“These are women who have leadership roles in their individual schools,” said Peggy Schimmoeller, a Randolph education professor who helped organize the conference.

The forum will provide opportunities for all who are interested in education, including future educators, to learn how they can become stronger teachers and leaders. “They will get the opportunity to network with people in the school system. It’s also a good way for them to learn ideas that they can take into the classrooms,” said Consuella Woods, another education professor.

The WELV forum costs $15 for members of WELV, $25 for non-members, and $15 for college students. The non-WELV member and student prices include a one-year membership in WELV. Participants can print a registration form from the WELV website or register the morning of the event. Seating is limited to 60.

The Race, Poverty, and Social Justice conference was organized by Many Voices One Community (MVOC), a group that promotes conversations to improve racial relations. It will include several speeches and workshops from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Leggett Building covering topics related to racial equity and social justice.

Ken Parks, a Randolph theatre professor and a member of the MVOC board, helped organize the conference and bring it to Randolph. “I wanted to make this opportunity available to our students,” said Parks. “Randolph is a great match for this conference. We have a lot of diversity on campus, which many college campuses do, but I’ve enjoyed that people here are open to discovering what other perspectives exist.”

Martha McCoy, executive director for Everyday Democracy, will provide welcoming remarks, and Wornie Reed, director of the Center for Race and Social Policy at Virginia Tech, will present the keynote speech between the morning and afternoon workshops.

The event is free to Randolph College students. Tickets are $10 for other students and $20 for non-students, and lunch is provided for paying ticket holders. Pre-registration at is required.

Parks said the conference will help people gain a new perspective on diversity. “I think that everyone needs to be at the table and feel included in the conversation,” he said. “You can get a whole new perspective, and you’re bound to grow from just considering different experiences.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Randolph introduces new program to make college affordable for local students

Today we are introducing a new program that makes a high quality education more affordable to local students. The Local Educational Access Program (LEAP) is available to qualified students from Lynchburg, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell, and Nelson counties and offers both a residential and day student option.

Randolph admissions counselor Emily Anne Taylor introduces LEAP in this video.

Learn more about LEAP and the qualification requirements in our press release and our LEAP web page.