Friday, December 20, 2013

Randolph College announces new vice president for finance and administration

Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman today announced the appointment of James Manaro as vice president for finance and administration. Manaro, who brings more than 25 years of higher education finance and budgeting experience, was chosen after a highly competitive and extensive national search. He will assume the position in February.

“We are pleased to welcome Jim to the Randolph College community,” Bateman said. “His breadth of knowledge and valuable experience in higher education make him the perfect addition to the College’s Senior Staff.”

Manaro comes to Randolph from Washington College in Maryland, where he has served as senior vice president for finance and administration since 2007. His responsibilities at Washington College include oversight of the planning and construction of capital projects as well as all fiscal matters.

“I am looking forward to working with faculty, staff, trustees and the friends of Randolph College,” Manaro said.

His extensive career includes experience in higher education and the business field. Before Washington College, Manaro served as senior vice president for finance and administration at Clarkson University in New York and vice president for finance and treasurer at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. He has also worked as vice president for institutional and public finance at the Student Loan Marketing Association ("Sallie Mae"), assistant to the vice president for finance at Yale University, financial manager for the City of San Francisco, associate deputy administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, and budget analyst in the Congressional Budget Office.

Manaro earned a baccalaureate of science degree at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a master's degree in public policy and administration from SUNY Stony Brook's Averell Harriman College.

He will replace Mitch Wesolowski, who has served in the position on an interim basis during the year-long national search. “We must express our gratitude to Mitch for his hard work and dedication while he has served as our interim chief financial officer,” Bateman said.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Randolph President Bradley Bateman addresses White House education initiative in op-ed for the New York Times.

The New York Times published an editorial today by Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman. The op-ed addressed Bateman's concerns regarding President Obama's new initiative to increase access to post-secondary education, which includes a system of rating colleges and universities.

Bateman, along with other college and university presidents from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities as well as the Annapolis Group, recently met in Washington, D.C. to discuss the issue with representatives from the White House. The presidents in attendance were unanimously in support of efforts to improve access to post-secondary education for those from low-income households but also were unanimously against the President’s rating initiative.

Bateman believes the ratings system, which is anticipated to be rolled out in Spring 2014, may harm institutions that are doing the most good for the nation’s poorest students. It discourages colleges from taking risky students who might not continue to graduation or might not earn significant salaries upon graduation. 

Read the editorial here:  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Local high school student conducts superconductor research with Randolph physics professor

With the help of a Randolph College physics professor, a Local high school student is researching ways superconductors could help planes take off from aircraft carriers more quickly.

Sam Lee, a student at the Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology, became interested in the idea after seeing an online video that demonstrated how some materials, when dropped to extremely low temperatures, have no electrical resistance and repel magnetism. This can cause a superconductor to actually float over a source of magnetism.

Peter Sheldon, a Randolph physics professor who has worked with superconductors before, volunteered to help Lee design a research project related to those interests.

At first, Lee was interested in perpetual motion. Then he thought about using superconductors to actually propel an aircraft. He said Sheldon helped him zero in on a more plausible idea: levitating aircraft.

“If the airplane is levitating, there will not be any friction,” Lee said. “It would have a shorter take off distance, and will take off in shorter time.”

To know whether that idea could work, Sheldon and Lee are testing to see how the resistance caused by magnetic forces compares to the resistance caused by friction. Lee is using a puck made of YBCO (Yittrium Barium Copper Oxide). He uses liquid nitrogen to drop the puck to 77 Kelvin, or -196 degrees Celsius, at which point the puck demonstrates superconductor properties. Lee then allows the puck to levitate and travel across a magnetic track at various inclines and records the velocity at the end of the track.

Lee plans to finish taking data this week, after which he and Sheldon will compare the actual velocity to what velocity would be expected in an environment without any resistance.

After cooled in liquid nitrogen, this puck made of the superconductor YBCO will float over a magnetic track
“There is damping force, but it’s almost equal to zero,” Lee said, based on preliminary observations.

Lee said he has enjoyed working with Sheldon on his first real research project. Sheldon, who also directs Randolph’s Center for Student Research, is pleased to see a high school student getting hands-on experience with scientific research.

“The best way to learn science is to do science,” Sheldon said. “Getting involved with research early and often is really important in getting students engaged in science.

“By having the opportunity to do research at the college level while he’s in high school, Sam can see what kinds of resources we can have in a college and get a glimpse of the kind of things that he can do when he gets to college.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

New honor kitchen opened in Webb Hall

Randolph College recently opened its first honor kitchen to provide more amenities in residence halls while also giving students another privilege based on the Honor Code.

Glenna Gray ’14, chair of the judiciary committee, and Jim Kwon ’14, president of
student government, show some dishes and utensils in the new honor kitchen.
Located in the large lounge on the lower floor of Webb Hall, the honor kitchen is stocked with all of the general utensils that a student might need to cook a meal including pots, pans, baking sheets, and more. Students are trusted to take care of the kitchen items as well as clean them after use.

Jim Kwon ’14, student government president, was excited to see this concept come to life. “I thought the honor kitchen would be a great way to provide students with kitchen utensils, which are expensive to buy, as well as to provide an additional environment where the honor system is integrated with student's life,” he said.

If the honor kitchen in Webb is successful, the concept may be implemented in other student kitchens in Randolph’s residence halls.

Randolph College’s historic Honor Code supports the College’s mission to prepare students to “live and work honorably.” It provides students with privileges such as un-proctored, self-scheduled final exams, and creates an environment of responsibility, allowing students to administer the Honor Code. Learn more about the Honor Code in our most recent “Why Randolph?” video.

Randolph physics students organization wins national award

The Randolph College chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has been recognized again as one of the best SPS chapters in the nation.

This month, the national society honored the Randolph chapter with an Outstanding SPS Chapter Award. Fewer than 10 percent of SPS chapters, or about one per state, receive this designation. Randolph’s chapter has earned the title for eight out of the past nine years.

“I am proud of these students for yet again earning this Outstanding Chapter award,” said Peter Sheldon, a Randolph physics professor and advisor to the SPS. “This acknowledges their work in conducting research and in teaching the community about science.”

Randolph’s SPS organizes and runs the annual Randolph College Science Festival, which attracts more than 1,000 people to various events that celebrate science and teach about its connection to all aspects of life. The students also host events for other Randolph students and work on “build projects,” such as a giant Newton’s cradle—with bowling balls suspended from a wooden frame—that the group has been building this semester.

The award letter from Toni Sauncy, director of SPS, specifically mentioned the Science Festival and a science Jeopardy activity as reasons for the Outstanding Chapter designation.

“You and your officers have earned a moment in the spotlight to recognize the efforts that you make to build community and propel students into their careers as prepared professionals,” Sauncy said in the letter.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Study abroad programs offer life-changing experiences

Studying abroad is a life-changing experience for many Randolph students. Their time beyond the red brick wall in places such as England, Denmark, or Spain are times of academic growth and personal enrichment.

Study Abroad

Deadlines are approaching for Randolph College Abroad: The World in Britain and three international study seminars scheduled for summer 2014. Contact leading professors or the Dean of the College office for more information.

Randolph College Abroad: The World in Britain
Application due: December 21, 2013
One of the top-ranked study abroad programs in Britain, this program offers students either one semester or a full academic year in Reading, England.
Contact Paul Irwin, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Mathematics, or William Coulter, the Eichelbaum Professor of English, for an application

Media Industries and Cultural Production
June 18 – July 2, 2014
Application due: January 24, 2014
Experience the media and cultural heritage of Peru while visiting a film studio, a television network, an advertising company, and a national newspaper.
Led by professor Chad Beck

Museums, Memorials, and Memory: Britain and the Two World Wars
May 19–June 1
Application due: January 24, 2014
How does a nation remember war? What gets forgotten and why? What stories do museums and monuments tell about war, death, loss, heroism, and national pride?
Led by professors Jennifer Gauthier and Gerry Sherayko

Archaeological Conservation Institute
May 20-June 17
Application due: February 1, 2014
The Archaeological Conservation Institute provides instruction and hands-on experience in conservation methods of Roman frescoes and mosaics and stone-carving.
Led by: Susan Stevens, the Catherine E. and William E. Thoresen Chair in Humanities
Lauren Wilbur ’14 saw that firsthand when she spent an entire year in Reading, England with the Randolph College Abroad: The World in Britain program. “It’s extremely important to experience other cultures around the world,” said Wilbur.

While abroad, Wilbur took full advantage of many opportunities. She took classes at Reading University and Oxford University, including a one-on-one tutorial with a professor. She joined clubs such as the Reading University Circus Arts Society, and a Harry Potter society. She visited places such as Bath, Bristol, Stonehenge, York, Paris and Berlin.

“A lot of people think that they don’t need to go outside of America, because our country is so diverse in climate and landscape, but traveling abroad is more about the culture and experiencing how people in other places interact with each other,” Wilbur said.

Dean Paula Wallace recognizes the personal and academic benefits of studying abroad, but also notes that it makes a student more marketable to employers as well. “Learning how to embrace ambiguity, how to communicate, and how to be flexible and adaptable are all things they are looking for in a potential employee,” she said.

Randolph’s study abroad opportunities are vast and vary in length, location, and focus. Randolph has affiliations with programs in England, France, Greece, Denmark, and Spain. Students are able to study abroad for a year, semester, or even a summer. Those looking for a particular focus can participate in Randolph’s own international study seminars, which are two-week abroad experiences with faculty from the college. This summer seminars to Peru and England are being offered.

Wilbur said that Randolph students who study abroad have the opportunity not only to learn about other cultures, but also to help people in other countries learn about their own. “You’re a volunteer ambassador for your country and people are making decisions about the United States because of your actions,” she said. “Try to be the open minded American, and you will be rewarded many times over.”

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Randolph ranks #13 for best professors—Find out why in new video

Randolph College continues to be recognized for having some of the best professors in the country—the College was ranked 13th in the nation by this year. Students explain why their professors deserve these accolades in a new video published today in the College’s new “Why Randolph?” video series.

“Why Randolph?” is a weekly look at factors that prompt students to choose Randolph College. Each video features students and faculty members discussing what makes Randolph unique.

The new “Why Randolph?” showcases several students and professors explaining the close ties that exist in our community. More than 90 percent of Randolph’s professors hold the highest degrees in their field, and they take time to offer students personal attention, individualized instruction, and research opportunities that help students maximize their potential.

The ranking this year was based on data collected by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in 2012, which analyzes student responses on to rank colleges and universities.

To see more “Why Randolph?” videos, visit and subscribe to the College’s content on Facebook and Vimeo.

Students study Tunisian bones for archaeological excavation

Olivia Reed ’16 carefully removed a handful of 1,300 year-old human bones from a dusty plastic bag. Sifting through them one by one, she analyzed and identified them. Reed knew the names of some bones almost immediately, but she consulted a nearby skeleton to identify others.

One bone fragment puzzled her, so she asked Igor Bayder ’14 to give his thoughts. “I wonder if it goes with my skull,” said Bayder, who had started assembling a cranium nearby.

Reed and Bayder are among a group of students helping to piece together life from an a Roman-era church in Carthage, Tunisia. Susan Stevens, a Randolph classics professor and the Catherine E. and William E. Thoresen Chair in Humanities, has led the excavation and study of that site since the early 1990s.

Stevens began working on the church because of her interest in burial practices during the time when Christianity grew in the Roman Empire. “It’s one way of looking at a transformation from the ancient period to the medieval period,” she said.

Many of Stevens’ students have gained hands-on experience with archaeology and anthropology while helping study artifacts from the site. Earlier this year, she solicited the assistance of a group of students who help with Randolph’s Natural History Collection.


Analyzing Tunisian bones is one of several opportunities for students on the Randolph College Natural History Collections team.

Read a Randolph magazine story about a behind-the-scenes tour they got at the Smithsonian earlier this year.
Reed, Bayder, and others are classifying and measuring the bones excavated from the crypt. Their data will help determine the minimum number of people who were buried there, which will help Stevens gauge the size of the community that worshipped there.

“It’s kind of a detective story,” said Stevens.

The students also are looking at the bones for signs of disease and injuries that will reveal what the community’s health was like, Stevens said. For example, Bayder pointed out a bone that had deformed areas that could signal cancer.

The students have enjoyed getting to work with real archeological material that also relates to their other academic interests. “I can basically identify the entire skeleton now,” said Reed, who plans to practice medicine someday.

Next spring, the team will work on extracting DNA from the bones for analysis that would provide further insight into the number of people there.

Emily Patton Smith ’12, Randolph’s Natural History Collections manager, said Stevens’ project is helping students set themselves apart from those they will compete against for jobs or graduate school admissions. “There’s a lot of crossover between the archeological disciplines and the sciences that I think is underutilized,” she said. “It’s something that not every biology major is going to have on their resumes.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Vespers 2013 includes Vivaldi's "Gloria" and favorite carols Dec. 8

A long-held holiday tradition continues this weekend as the Randolph College Chorale and Chamber Orchestra present Christmas Vespers.

The annual musical celebrates the Christmas season with performances of carols and other music interspersed with readings of scripture and poetry about Christmas.

This year, the program includes Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” a beloved Baroque Christmas composition. Other songs include “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen,” part of which the audience will be invited to sing with the performers.

Christmas Vespers will begin at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 8, in Houston Memorial Chapel.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Randolph College Chamber Orchestra holds first solo concert Dec. 6

The Randolph College Chamber Orchestra will present its first solo concert this week, featuring six works from five composers, including Haydn and Brahms.

The orchestra was formed in the spring of 2012, and currently includes eight students who perform in concerts with professional musicians. In past years, the orchestra has performed along with Chorale, but it has developed enough to have its own concert.

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 6, in Smith Hall Theatre. The repertoire will include “hidden gems to well-known treasures,” said Randall Speer, director of the chamber orchestra and a Randolph College music professor. The works include Notturno in C by Franz Joseph Haydn and Fantasia on “Greensleeves” by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

In addition to the Randolph students, the chamber orchestra includes two students from E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg.

“It is truly an honor to lead this fine group of students,” Speer said. “My deepest gratitude is extended to Randolph College for its truly remarkable support in bravely establishing a chamber orchestra as part of our curriculum.”