Monday, July 7, 2014

Solar powered water purification

Zhe Zhang ’15 set out to learn about solar-powered water purification. But his summer research project has taught him at least as much about determination and hard work.

He has spent much of his summer trying to make one chemical reaction happen, which he originally assumed would take only a couple of days. But he takes that in stride. “It’s always fun to try different things and to finally get a solution,” he said. “I just don’t want to fail.”

Zhang has long had an interest in ways of using chemical reactions to purify water. Considering the world’s demand for potable water as well as the potential for energy shortages in the future, he thought developing a sun-powered water purification system would be important. Zhang was particularly interested in titanium dioxide, a semiconductor that is known to purify water when it is exposed to sunlight.

If only that process worked quickly.

“The process is not new, but it’s not efficient enough to be practical,” said Bill Bare, a Randolph chemistry professor advising Zhang on this research. “We’re hoping to make it a little more practical.”

Sunlight causes chemical reactions that increase energy in titanium dioxide atoms, causing the semiconductor to break down organic compounds. But it only absorbs ultraviolet light, meaning much of the light that hits it has no effect.

Bare and Zhang suggested that binding a luminescent compound called ruthenium to titanium dioxide could help increase the spectrum of light that can interact with the material. They designed an experiment to test this. Zhang began the summer by measuring the rates at which titanium dioxide would purify water on its own. But he hit a roadblock when he tried to attach the ruthenium to the semiconductor. The molecules that would make the binding possible were not connecting.

Zhang and Bare experimented with the problem for several weeks. Finally, two weeks ago they made the chemicals bind by changing the acidity of the solution, although the process needs more testing to confirm the success. Zhang looked back at the detour as an effective learning opportunity that helped him understand how to solve problems in original research.

“It’s both a process of learning and researching,” he said. “In the lab, the professor knows everything and can answer all the questions. But in research, there may be a topic that the professor is not very familiar with, and you have to research together.”

Bare added that this is part of the purpose of fostering research opportunities for students who may spend much of their lives solving research problems. “In a research project, we don’t know what’s going to work and what isn’t,” he said. “If it doesn’t work, we have to put our heads together and find out why.”

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Student examines links between social media use and narcissism

Recent psychological research has shown links between Facebook usage and narcissism—a personality trait characterized by an inflated sense of importance, a constant quest of admiration from others, and a lack of empathy. What does that mean about the millions of people who check Facebook daily?

Penny Trieu ’15 wants to find out. She is using her summer research project to study the links between activity on the social network and narcissism. Particularly, she wants to find out whether engaging in different activities on Facebook in different affects a user’s personality.

Trieu said that scientists have tracked an increase in narcissism over the past 40 years. The increase began after a period of “positive psychology” that focused on self-esteem. “The theory was that if you have a high self-esteem, everything will work out well for you,” she said. “Parents and schools started to work on ways of raising kids that builds self-esteem, regardless of the accomplishments of the children.”

Those attempts, however, can lead to negative repercussions related to narcissism. For example, people who are accustomed to receiving a reward regardless of their performance might not know how to handle a minor failure. “It’s healthy to accept that, rather than inflate self-esteem by saying everybody wins,” Trieu said.

Social media may have magnified the effects for self-esteem among some users. Trieu started wondering about that as she saw many people posting multiple self-portraits and talking openly about their accomplishments and other good things about their lives. She then read scientific studies about links between Facebook and self-esteem and started formulating ideas for her own project.

This summer, Trieu has read many research studies about links between Facebook and narcissism. She has worked with project advisor, Beth Schwartz, the Catherine E. & William E. Thoresen Chair in Social Sciences and assistant dean of the College, about those studies to glean ideas for an original research project.

Trieu plans to have participants use Facebook in different ways. Some would share photos and information about themselves. Others would use the network to post photos and talk about other people. She will have each group participate in an activity to help gauge narcissism.

Trieu and Schwartz believe that focusing Facebook use on interacting with others might decrease traits of narcissism. “Research in the past has shown that connection to others leads to lower levels of aggression and narcissism,” Schwartz said. “It could be that it’s not going on Facebook, but it’s what you’re doing on Facebook that leads to narcissism.”

Trieu plans to begin her own research on the topic sometime this fall and continue in the spring.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Student explores more efficient soil remediation options

This summer, Hannah Edwards ’16 is searching for a better way to remove toxins from soil.

She started her summer research by contaminating several containers of soil with lead, an element that is known to cause developmental defects, especially in younger people. Then she started experimenting with plants to see which would best remove through a process called phytoremediation.

“We’re trying to show that phytoremediation is an economically viable option for brownfields and vacant lots in general, but especially in Lynchburg,” she said.

Her quest for a better way to clean soil started during her first year at Randolph when John Abell, an economics professor, took some of his students to visit Lynchburg Grows, an urban farm and nonprofit in Lynchburg. The farm is operated in greenhouses on a former brownfield site that was remediated by removing a significant amount of soil and bringing new soil in.

“There has to be a better way,” Edwards thought.

There is—phytoremediation is an effective way to cleanse soil, and Randolph students and professors have experimented successfully with the process before. However, as Edwards learned more about phytoremediation, she saw a common problem: the plant that is best at removing lead is a type of corn that is not native to Virginia and requires a lot of water to grow.

This led Edwards to propose a project for the Summer Research Program. She wrote her own research proposal and asked professors to advise her on the project this summer. Sarah Sojka, an environmental studies and physics professor, and Kristin Bliss, a biology professor, agreed to help.

Edwards faced some roadblocks in her research. For example, some of the plants she was growing for the tests died. However, she did get a strong population of ragweed for the tests.

She planted the ragweed, as well as corn, in several containers of soil that had various amounts of lead. This week, she harvested the grown plants, dried them, and began processing them with nitric acid to determine the lead content.

Finding a native species that can pull lead from soil but requires less water to grow would help make phytoremediation more feasible, and even economically beneficial. “If you can’t show people that a plan is going to make them money, it doesn’t matter how good it is for the environment, because they’re not going to see it as the best option for them right now,” she said. “You have to be able to give them hard figures.”

Edwards plans to incorporate her findings into a report on how phytoremediation can be used effectively in Lynchburg.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Michels Plaza graces cover of national architectural journal

Randolph College has landed the cover of the June issue of the Landscape Architect and Specifier News.

The magazine, which is a popular industry trade magazine, featured Randolph’s new Michels Plaza on the cover of the magazine and in a major article inside.

The article details the efforts of the College and the designer to create a gathering place on campus that helped blend the historic feel of campus with the new modern look of the Student Center. The plaza includes a fountain, two bubbling pools, amphitheater-style seating, and amazing views of back campus and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The plaza, completed in 2013, has become a popular spot for the entire Randolph community.

To see the online version of the magazine, please go to The article on Michels Plaza begins on page 40.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Teaching institute and science camp continue education research

Three  Randolph students and three Randolph professors are spending this week with local teachers and children at the Jubliee Family Development Center in Lynchburg.

Thao Nguyen ’17 helps a participant in the science summer
camp at the Jubilee Family Development examine a flower.
The annual science camp at Jubilee is part of an ongoing research project that aims to improve science education. Randolph has hosted the camp for at least 10 years as a way to examine how hands-on, experiment-based science lessons impact the way teachers and children think about science.

The camp is part of the 2014 Teacher Institute, which is a special program for K-8 teachers in Campbell, Bedford, and Amherst County Schools, Lynchburg City Schools, and New Vistas School. The institute, funded through a grant from the State Council of Higher Education, trains elementary and middle school teachers to better teach science with an emphasis on using hands-on and inquiry based methods. Randolph is in its sixth year of offering the institute, and last week, more than 60 local teachers participated in this year’s program, “Despicable Me—Getting Your Minions Interested in Science and Math.” Teachers selected for the institute received a stipend, recertification points, and equipment.

Several of the institute’s participants are joining the Randolph students and professors at Jubilee this week. While the local teachers put the lessons they learned from the institute into action, the Randolph professors and students continue their ongoing research by observing the teachers and the children.

Hart Gillespie ’15 leads a game of science-themed BINGO.
“There are some major problems in science education that our research project addresses,” said Hart Gillespie ’15, a student helping with the project this year. “One is the phenomenon that students lose interest in math and science as they get older and as they progress through school. In general, the Jubilee science camp and the institute have been shown to improve the perceptions of students towards science.”

In addition to helping operate the teaching institute and science camp, the Randolph students help contribute to resources that will allow more teachers to implement interactive science lessons.

Gillespie, a physics major, has been editing lesson plans for The New Science Teacher, a web page that disseminates information about hands-on approaches to teaching science and math. Shaun Chopp ’15, who is majoring in biology, has been editing videos from last year’s Jubilee camp so teachers can watch the experiments for lesson ideas. He also is recording experiments during this week’s camp. Thao Nguyen ’17, majoring in global studies, has been doing a literature review to find sources to be cited in a paper being written by the Randolph professors.

They each have different perspectives that allow them to contribute to the project in unique ways. “It takes everyone's skill sets and applies them in different ways,” Chopp said. “It’s been a pretty fulfilling project in that sense.”

Nguyen, who comes from Vietnam, said it has been interesting to see how science education is done in the United States. “I think the project will help to promote active learning and help teachers to make science and math more fun,” she said.

Peter Sheldon, a physics professor and director of the Center for Student Research, Peggy Schimmoeller, an education professor, and Amanda Rumore, director of the Summer Research Program, are the Randolph professors who oversee the project.

Randolph students selected for the Davenport Leadership Program will also volunteer at the camp on Friday.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Randolph renames donor society in honor of William F. Quillian, Jr.

Randolph College has renamed one of its giving societies in memory of William F. Quillian, Jr., the College’s fifth and longest-serving president.

Quillian was the 2010 Commencement speaker.
The Legacy Society, which recognizes people who have included the College in their estate plans, has been renamed the Quillian Society. Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman announced the change during a donor recognition event at the recent Reunion for alumnae and alumni.

Quillian, who died on March 4, led the College for 26 years and oversaw significant changes such as campus expansion and racial integration of the student body. “Upon his retirement, Dr. Quillian took on an even more active role in the Lynchburg community,” Bateman said. Quillian was co-founder and executive director of the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust, which administers and invests gifts and bequests to benefit people living in the Lynchburg area. He also was the force behind the founding of the Lynchburg chapter of Leave A Legacy, a nonprofit that encourages people to include charitable causes in their wills.

Quillian’s wife, Margaret Quillian, and his daughter, Anne Quillian, were present at the announcement to represent her family. Anne presented Bateman with the yellow doctoral tam that members of the Class of 1959 gave to her father upon their graduation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Student research zeroes in on motivations and obstacles for volunteers

Abigail Smith ’15 hopes her Summer Research project will help more young adults to spend time serving others in their communities.

She is researching the factors that influence the decisions of Randolph College students to volunteer—or not volunteer.

Abigail Smith ’15 interviews Pujan Shrestha ’15 about his thoughts on volunteering.
“It’s a part of their life that hasn't been explored,” Smith said.

When she took a class on research methods taught by sociology professor Danielle Currier, she had to design a research experiment. She took interest in volunteerism because of her own experiences with volunteering when she was growing up in Jamaica.

As she worked on that project, she learned that there was not much published research on the motivations behind volunteering. She asked Currier to advise her for the project during the Summer Research Program.

Currier was not planning to get involved in the Summer Research Program, but Smith’s request changed her mind. “One of the best ways to change things on a micro level is by volunteering,” she said. “I wanted to know how we could help more students here want to do it.”

In the spring, they prepared a survey about volunteerism and had 91 students complete the survey. This summer, they are conducting interviews with other students who are on campus.

To determine which factors are most influential in volunteering decisions, they will watch for correlations and patterns in the responses of both the survey and the interviews.

n addition to asking about motivations for volunteering, they also are finding out about the barriers that stop some students from doing service. For example, last week they interviewed a student who pointed out that when he does have time that he could volunteer, he does not always have access to transportation to go somewhere.

This summer’s work will be a pilot study and the basis for further research in the fall. Smith plans to involve students from other colleges, too. The project might result in her senior paper, and she thinks she may continue the research in graduate school.

She enjoys getting to apply the concepts that she has explored in the classroom setting. “This has given me a chance to use all that I have done, putting what I've learned to the true test,” she said.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Study abroad in Europe offers glimpse of world war history

A group of Randolph students recently spent two weeks in Europe learning about two wars that challenged and changed the continent, as well as the world.
History professor Gerry Sherayko and communication studies professor Jennifer Gauthier led the students on an international study seminar titled “Museums, Memorials and Memory: Britain and the Two World Wars.”

They visited a variety of sites that memorialize World War I and World War II in England, Belgium, and France, including the Churchill War Rooms, Coventry Cathedral, and Flanders battlefield, as well as other historic sites. The journey allowed students to take an in-depth look at the way war is memorialized.

“By studying and having discussions about these war memorials, we have learned a lot about how each nation and its people remember the past, as well as how public memories have contributed to the construction of a British national identity,” said Phuong Tran ’15. “Without being on the site and experiencing the memorials ourselves, we would never be able to understand how the British cherish and value their past.”

You can view some of the photos from the international study seminar in this Facebook photo album.

Evolution, psychology, and physical attraction

Open up almost any magazine aimed at teenagers and young adults, and you can find numerous articles about how to be attractive, either through the way one dresses, acts, or talks.

Two Randolph students are working on scientific research into the topic of attractiveness. But their work is designed to lead not to more dating advice, but to an increased understanding of how concepts of attractiveness have evolved.

Sandeep Poudyal ’16 became interested in the topic in an evolutionary psychology class in which he learned that there have been many evolutionary explanations for heterosexual physical attraction, but there are fewer explanations on homosexual attraction. An idea for a research project began brewing.

“I thought it would be fun to explore some more stuff about heterosexual attraction, and find some new information on homosexual attraction,” he said. He proposed a summer research project with Dennis Goff, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology. He also invited Lauren Mason ’16, who wanted research experience to help prepare her for graduate school.

Goff explained that many aspects of physical attraction can be explained by the evolutionary impulse to reproduce. Women evolved to seek strong mates who would be interested in supporting and protecting children, while men have an evolved attraction toward characteristics that signal fertility.

The group’s goal is to design an experiment that would gauge the influence of various characteristics on physical attraction. For the past few weeks, they have been reading articles to get ideas. “We’ve been doing a literature review and looking at possible studies to replicate,” Mason said. They plan to look at how facial characteristics, voice, and personal traits such as humor or intelligence affect attraction.

They will measure the physical attraction associated with those characteristics by administering questionnaires that people will complete. For example, they might play two voices and ask participants which one is more attractive, or they show a picture and ask the participants to rate the face for attraction.

Poudyal said the group plans to administer the survey to a few people this summer to collect pilot data. This will set the stage for more in-depth research with more participants in the fall. The same survey would be administered to homosexual and heterosexual participants to yield a broader scale of data.

The students have enjoyed the summer research, especially the ability to work closely with a professor who helps them develop ideas. “You don’t have to compete with anyone else for the personal attention that you very much want from a professor,” Poudyal said.

He added that the project has helped him confirm his plans to continue researching and earn a Ph.D. after college. “I definitely know that this is what I want to do in the future,” he said. “That is why I decided I want to do research this summer. You learn so much that you didn’t know anything about in the beginning.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s fun.”

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"The Play's the Thing" in this Summer Research project

When Grace Gardiner ’15 puts pen to paper, she usually writes poetry that focuses on an image. But when English professor Gary Dop asked if she would like to write plays with him and another experienced playwright this summer, she jumped at the opportunity.

Gardiner is working on several plays for a Randolph College Summer Research Program project titled “The Play’s the Thing: A Communal Creative Jaunt through Dramatic Structure.” She and Dop began the summer by examining the dramatic structure in existing plays, then they set out to craft their own.

When Dop was interviewing for a position on the faculty, he taught a practice class on the opening image of a play. “That stuck with me,” Gardiner said.

Dop and Gardiner are meeting regularly with Jim Peterson, a Randolph English professor who retired last year, to read and discuss the plays that they are writing.

Gardiner’s play is about a college student who is accused of rape but has no idea whether he is guilty because he had blacked out on the night of the alleged assault. The play portrays him searching his soul and wondering whether he really is capable of harming someone. At the end of the play, the audience may have opinions, but not a definite answer, about his guilt or innocence. “It’s more about his journey,” Gardiner said.

Dop said handling the question in this way requires mastery of complex storytelling, and Gardiner is doing it well.  “We don’t know how to feel about the protagonist. He is, at moments, an unlikeable character, and that makes the journey more interesting to watch,” he said. “We’re wrestling with his guilt or innocence as well.”

Dop described the play he is writing this summer as a “postmodern magical realist surrealist absurdist play” as well as an over-the-top comedy that tells the story of a character looking for a job. “It’s certainly a non-traditional kind of drama,” he said. “I’ve played with conventions in some of my scripts, but never this much.”

Gardiner said the project has helped her expand her knowledge of how to structure and tell a story. “In a play, you can’t just take a step back and describe an image. It focuses on the dialogue and the characters’ actions,” she said. “That has been added to my arsenal of writing skills.”

Later this summer, they will send their plays to the National Playwright Center for critical feedback. They also will participate in a high school summer playwriting class that Dop has taught for a couple of years. Gardiner also hopes to organize a reading so people can experience a small performance of her play.

Friday, May 30, 2014

How the liberal arts made Ayn Dietrich '04 a spokesperson for the FBI

Every day, Ayn Dietrich ’04 talks with reporters about high profile cases involving federal investigators, from suspected terrorist activity to searches for missing children. She previously served as an intelligence analyst and the person who briefs the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the attorney general on important cases.

Friday afternoon, she gave Randolph College Summer Research students an insider’s view of that world. While on campus for her 10-year reunion, Dietrich spoke in the weekly Summer Research seminar.

“I love working for an organization whose goal is to protect those who are in this country and Americans overseas,” she said. “I take it as a real honor to spread information about what we do and clear up misunderstandings.”

Dietrich, a public affairs specialist for the FBI Seattle division, showed video clips of various interviews she gave to media, and she described the process of preparing for the interviews—which sometimes involves having an hour or less to master the facts of a case.

She also described the variety of jobs she has performed for the FBI and how her liberal arts background qualified her to find success in those positions. “I couldn’t have experienced this if I didn’t have the versatile background of a liberal arts degree,” she said.

Dietrich majored in international studies and minored in communication studies and Spanish at the College. She also worked in the White House one summer and in Spain for two summers during her college career. When she went to graduate school at Columbia University, she was able to finish in one year, and her thesis was adapted from a paper she began in her senior year at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

“You wouldn’t think that in a small college I could write a paper about  how state owned enterprise in China contributes to the failure of China to create a really robust security system,” she said, noting that a larger university might have a professor who specializes in that topic and could advise her. “But I value because what I had here, because instead of one professor who was an expert who could guide me, the College gave me five.”

She added that the College’s emphasis on writing and communicating continue to serve her daily.

As an undergraduate, she was editor of The Sundial, the student-run newspaper, and served in Student Government while also playing tennis and being active in other activities. In her working life, she has continued to be involved in the community by teaching Zumba and mentoring a teenager. “My ability to do all that came as a result of being a well-rounded student and pushing myself in different areas,” she said. “This school still challenges you to be well-rounded.”

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Athletic and theatre summer camps available at Randolph College

Randolph College has numerous day camps available for local families looking for ways to enrich the summer months for their children and teens.

Sports Camps

Beginning June 2, the College will hold several athletics camps throughout the summer allowing participants to sharpen their skills in basketball, lacrosse, tennis, and horseback riding.

The season begins and ends with equestrian camps at the Randolph College Riding Center. The first begins June 2 is designed for ages 6 and up. There will be other equestrian camps for specific age groups throughout the summer.

Basketball and tennis clinics for boys and girls and a lacrosse camp  for boys will take place on the Randolph College campus beginning in July.

For a full schedule and more information on athletic camps, visit

Theatre Camp

The two-week WildCat Theatre Conservatory from July 28 through August 9 will help participants develop creativity, confidence, and communication while learning about theatre, too. Professional performers will teach classes in acting, musical theatre, improvisation, production, and the creation of original theatre. The camp is open to students in grades K-12.

For more information and registration for WildCat Theatre Conservatory, visit

Friday, May 23, 2014

What are Randolph College students doing this summer?

Randolph College students are making good use of their time out of school this summer. Now that the semester has ended and warm weather abounds, they are spreading throughout the world to study, work, and conduct research. Here are just a few things they are doing:

On Sunday, 12 students departed for Europe for a two-week summer seminar about the way British museums and monuments tell the stories of World War I and World War II. They also plan to visit WWI battlegrounds in Belgium and France. History professor Gerry Sherayko and communication studies professor Jennifer Gauthier are leading the trip.

Other students are studying in the Netherlands, the Caribbean, and Korea this summer.

For many Randolph students, the summer is an important time to get hands-on career experience through internships.

Hannah Neifert ’14 is working in development and arts management at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She received the Donald P. Baiocchi Lyric Opera Internship in Chicago, which is sponsored by Amanda Fox ’67 and Matthew Fox.

Teague Nelson ’14 is participating in Preservation Institute: Nantucket, a summer program that teaches students about historic preservation and historical research. A.J. and Lynne Coppage Land ’60 sponsor an internship in the program for one Randolph student each year.

Meanwhile, Dina Velazco ’16 is interning as a financial assistant for Embutidos Semosa in Venezuela, and Mark Patterson ’15 is working for Go Measure 3D, a company located about 30 minutes from Randolph providing three-dimensional scanning services.

Other student interns include a muralist in Baltimore, Maryland, a risk management analyst in Vietnam, and a news desk assistant in Pennsylvania.

More than 20 students are doing research in the Randolph College Summer Research Program.

Throughout this summer, check back with the Randolph College blog to read more about what Randolph students are accomplishing and learning around the world.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Members of the Class of 2014 inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

Last weekend, 14 members of the Class of 2014 were welcomed into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. An induction ceremony was held Saturday, the day before their Commencement.

The newly inducted members are:

John Grundy ’14
Glenna Gray ’14
Kavya Pradhan ’14
Katherine Bickley ’14
Emma Bartholomew ’14
Tsubasa Watanabe ’14
Brittney Via ’14
Hin Doan ’14
May Nwe Soe ’14
Jim Kwon ’14
Emily Rist ’14
Julia Kim ’14
Angelina Carilli ’14
Amy Jacobs ’14

Randolph College is one of only about 280 colleges in the nation with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1916, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College received the first Phi Beta Kappa charter granted to an independent woman’s college in the South, and the Delta Chapter of Virginia was officially installed the following year. Membership in Phi Beta Kappa recognizes a student’s high achievements in scholarship and maintenance of a balanced program of study in the liberal arts.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Students begin summer research projects

Students and professors are kicking off the 15th year of the Randolph College Summer Research Program this week.

More than 20 students will spend the next eight weeks working on projects as diverse as improving water purification, writing plays, analyzing the connection between Facebook and self-esteem, and exploring the possibility of distributing unused food to people in need.

“It is an exciting time to see students take on their own independent research projects under the careful guidance of their faculty mentors,” said Amanda Rumore, director of the Summer Research Program. “For some, this is their first taste of research in their field, and for others this is a continuation of a larger project. Either way, the program always proves to be a fruitful learning experience for its participants.”

The students and their faculty mentors met over lunch Monday to meet each other and introduce their respective projects. Throughout the program, they will attend weekly seminars to help them learn more about various kinds of research. Speakers include faculty and two alumnae.

The Summer Research Program was founded in 2000 with a grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund. It helps students learn skills in research, critical thinking, data analysis, problem solving, and communication.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Randolph College celebrates the Class of 2014

The Randolph College community celebrated the success of more than 140 new graduates Sunday in the 2014 Commencement in the Dell. Students, faculty, staff, and the family and friends of the Class of 2014 cheered for the graduates as they accepted their diplomas and looked forward to the future.

The College awarded baccalaureate degrees to 121 students and graduate degrees to 20. The Class of 2014 includes students from 18 states and 13 countries with a total of  25 different majors. The most common majors among the graduating class are art, biology, business, English, history, and psychology. The Class of 2014 also includes the first nine graduates in the sport and exercise studies major.

Carl Girelli, Randolph College’s vice president of academic affairs and dean of the College, presented the Maud Huff Fife Award, which is named in honor of a member of the Class of 1918. The award is given to the student whose quality point ratio is the highest in the senior class.

“Customarily, there is some mathematical rounding in the determination of the award’s recipients,” Girelli said. “Consequently, there is sometimes not one single honoree. This year is remarkable in that there are multiple outstanding students in a virtual dead heat, all of whom richly deserve the award.”

Girelli then announced that the award was being given to Katherine Bickley ’14, Glenna Gray ’14, John Grundy ’14, and Kavya Pradhan ’14.

Edward Ayers, the president of the University of Richmond, delivered the commencement address and asked the students to ponder their time of history, when rapid technological, financial, and political changes have created an uncertain time. He compared this to other times of unpredicted, unprecedented change, including the Civil War, the end of segregation in the south, and the 1970s, when he graduated from college and entered a changing job market.

“Everyone, it turns out, lives in history,” Ayers said. “History is pulling on you right now, whether you know it or not. whether you feel it or not.

“You’re always going to be living in unusual times,” Ayers continued. “Some years are better than others financially or politically. Things are always shifting beneath our feet. ... The only law of history I've discovered is that the unexpected always happens.”

He encouraged the graduates to apply their liberal arts experience by embracing the ambiguity in the world and developing timeless attributes.

“As much as history changes, some traits are always what we need: courage, patience, hard work, compassion, and love are never going out of style,” Ayers said.

Stephanie Barron ’14, the president of the graduating class,also talked about change. She compared the change the graduates facetoday to the changes they have experienced over the past four years, including the transformation of the Randolph College Student Center.

She pointed out that the faculty have been a constant source of support. “Our professors have set a shining example of what it means to be dedicated, passionate and hard workers, and they have helped us realize that true happiness doesn’t always come from doing what you are expected to do but from doing something you love to do,” she said.

Barron encouraged her classmates to approach the next phase of their lives with confidence. “I feel extremely confident that as we leave today and go out into the world we will not only be prepared for whatever changes our lives may throw at us, but that we will eagerly seek any opportunity to learn and become better, stronger individuals while keeping every bit of what makes us stand out as hard-working but also fun-loving people,” she said. “I hope that when we leave here today, we leave with our books, our endless buttons, and our diplomas but also a promise to live a life more abundant.”

Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman told the Class of 2014 that they will always hold a special place in his heart as the first graduating class of his presidency. He asked the graduates to imagine themselves in a large football stadium with all of the other people graduating from small liberal arts colleges this year. “All of you as graduates of liberal arts colleges cannot fill the stadium,” he said. “There are not very many of you. And yet I say with confidence that you will lead this nation and this world. Why do I say that? Because you have the skills necessary to perform at the highest levels. You communicate well. You think critically and creatively, and you have learned how to work well with others who are not like you.”

Bateman challenged the graduates to accept a responsibility to work for the good of others. “I ask you to think of the responsibility that you have to help provide freedom to others,” he said. “Remember what has been given to you.”

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Senior Profile: Marielle Rando ’14

Marielle Rando 14 spent much of her time at Randolph learning about leadership. Serving as the Student Government president for the last half of her senior year was the perfect capstone.

Rando initially did not run for the president position because she was studying abroad in Spain when elections took place, and she did not want to commit to a demanding position during her fall soccer season. But last October, Jim Kwon ‘14, who was serving as the Student Government president, announced that he would graduate one semester early and would therefore step down from that role. Rando offered her name for the position and was elected.

As Student Government president, Marielle Rando ’14 spoke at the
Inauguration of Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman.
This semester, she has been able to work with students, the College’s faculty and staff, and the Board of Trustees to make some significant changes. The experience has helped her see some of the ways she has grown in her time at Randolph.

“I’ve become more of a critical thinker. I’ve become a lot smarter, and I've become a successful leader,” she said. “I’ve learned that I have to put in the work for the things I want to achieve, and sometimes it’s going to be a lot of work.”

As Student Government president, Rando worked to reorganize the Social Violations Hearing Board, which now functions more like the student-run Judicial Committee in responding to social breaches of the College’s honor code.

She also helped to organize successful and memorable activities. In April, students packaged 10,000 meals for an organization called Stop Hunger Now. Later, Student Government sponsored a concert by the DJ and music producer Kap Slap. The success of that concert has prompted an alumna to donate funds to host similar high-profile concerts over the next several years.

Rando’s involvement in leadership and athletic activities caught the attention of the NCAA, and she has been awarded an NCAA Women’s Enhancement Program Postgraduate Scholarship for Careers in Athletics. She will use the $7,500 scholarship to attend Virginia Commonwealth University, where she has been accepted into a sports management program.

After graduate school, Rando hopes to work in university athletics and perhaps become an athletic director. She said that the many experiences she has had at Randolph have prepared her for success in graduate school and a career.

“At Randolph, it’s a really small school, but there is just as much opportunity here as there is a big school,” she said. “You can take the opportunities in.”

Senior Profile: Shuang Li ’14

Photography had nothing to do with her major or the job description for her first internship, but Shuang Li ’14 saw an opportunity to apply her interest in the art to her work for a jewelry store. Her determination to do that led to a job offer before she graduated.

After Li’s graduation from Randolph College this weekend, she will begin a full-time job at Bowen Jewelry Company in Lynchburg, where she has had an internship for more than a year.

Shuang Li ’14 looks over jewelry advertising ideas with Biff Bowen, president of
Bowen Jewelry Company, during her internship with the company in 2013.
Coming from Beijing, China, Li majored in business at Randolph. In her junior year, she heard that Bowen Jewelry wanted a student for a marketing internship. Li began working there for a few hours on two days each week.

“When I first came in, they just needed me to do social media,” Li said. “They had never had a person to manage all their social media and keep it active.”

Li noticed that pictures on Facebook tended to drive more engagement than text updates did. So she started focusing more of her time on creating more stunning images of the jewelry.

“The jewelry industry is very image based,” Li said. “People don’t go into different stores and look at a lot of products and then decide. They decide what they want before they leave their house. They decide online.”

Taking a picture of jewelry is more complicated than it might seem. Li did a lot of research about settings on her camera, how to position jewelry so that it seems to be suspended in mid-air, and how to arrange lights around the setting. She convinced her employers to purchase some equipment. Soon, she had an image that they liked and used in a print ad, which turned out to be very successful.

Last summer, Li was working for the College’s summer paint crew and continuing the internship two days a week. Then her internship supervisors offered to hire her full-time to work on marketing for them.

Biff Bowen, President of Bowen Jewelry Company, said he was impressed by Li’s determination to master jewelry photography. When she encountered obstacles, she saw them as learning opportunities and kept trying until she could create the images she was after.

When her senior year started, Li continued working in a part-time internship at the jewelry shop, but the store offered to hire her full-time upon graduation.

Li said one reason behind her success is the advice she heard from Maryam Brown ’02, Randolph’s internship coordinator, about being professional and making a good impression: “Your job is to make your boss's job easier.”

“I've been trying to reach that,” Li said. “I will do as much as I can do to make their job easier and to save them time.”

“It is my responsibility to just finish and get that job done, no matter what,” she added. “I’m learning and growing, and I hope I can bring more to Bowen Jewelry.”

Friday, May 16, 2014

Senior Profile: Mike Ehilegbu ’14

When Mike Ehilegbu ’14 wants to improve on something, he knows how to put in the time.

As a result, he has improved as both a student and a basketball player during his four years at Randolph College.

Clay Nunley, head men’s basketball coach, pointed out recently that Ehilegbu’s best grades have come even as his classes have gotten harder. Also, his time spent working on basketball skills outside of regular practice time has paid off, making him one of the most dependable players on the team. Meanwhile, Ehilegbu also became more outspoken as a team leader.

At Randolph, Ehilegbu became interested in writing and he majored in communication studies. He decided to combine that with his interest in athletics, and he plans to pursue a career in sports journalism. “I hope I can develop a voice in sports so I can state a strong opinion and people will listen,” he said.

Ehilegbu was featured in this recent Randolph magazine story that followed up on several students who had been featured when they first arrived at Randolph. Since then, he continued to dominate on the basketball court. Ehilegbu led Randolph in minutes, points, rebounds and assists this season. His 158 defensive rebounds this year were third in the league and the most of any guard. He scored his 1,000th career point this season, too. The Old Dominion Athletic Conference named him to the All ODAC Men’s Basketball second team.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Senior Profile: Amy Jacobs ’14

When Amy Jacobs ’14 was in high school, she took the initiative to start her own equestrian photography business. When she came to Randolph, she continued to show initiative by becoming involved in many leadership opportunities.

Jacobs, who will graduate magna cum laude on Sunday, has served on the Macon Activities Council for four years, and she was the organization’s president this year. She also studied abroad, completed internships, rode on the equestrian team, tutored business students, and gave tours of campus as a Gold Key Guide.

At the Academic and Leadership Awards ceremony this spring, Jacobs was honored with the Initiative Award, Student Volunteer Award, the Stan Marshall Award for Excellence in Business, and the Ambassador Award from the Admissions department.

“I was honored to be recognized by the various organizations to which I had given my time,” Jacobs said. “However, I know that my achievements would not have been possible without the overwhelming support of the Randolph College community.”

Jacobs plans to pursue a career in human resources, marketing, or event planning. Her work at Randolph makes her confident in her ability to succeed in any of those fields. “I look forward to graduation, and I’m excited about the challenges I will face beyond the red brick wall,” she said.

You can read a recent feature on Jacobs from Randolph magazine here.

Senior Profile: John Grundy ’14

John Grundy ’14 was recruited to Randolph to play lacrosse, but he was determined to do much more. When he began college, he wanted to focus on learning more than he had in the past.

John Grundy ’14 receives the Scholar Athlete of the Year
award from Randolph English professor Dan Stiffler.
“In high school, I didn’t push myself; I never studied,” he said. “In college, I was determined not to let that happen. I wanted to push myself and see how well I could do.”

He did do more. In addition to excelling in the classroom, Grundy served as a resident assistant, participated in the Davenport Leadership Institute, and worked as a learning strategies tutor. He also served on a civility task force that helped identify ways that the community could increase respect for diversity.

His hard work paid off and was noticed. At the athletic awards banquet in April, he was given the Scholar Athlete of the year award, which honors the graduating student-athlete with the highest grade point average. Then at the academic and leadership awards ceremony the next day, Grundy was surprised with the Student of the Year Award.

This year, Grundy has had extra motivation for all that he has been involved with: he became a father last fall.

“I had to do everything for my daughter so she has a better life in the future,” he said. “Working and going to class and going to lacrosse, she made it all worthwhile.

“She’s the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Grundy continued. “When I see her smile,that makes me happy.”

His fiancée, Casey, and daughter, Isabelle, plan to move from Northern Virginia to Lynchburg, where Grundy plans to continue working at a YMCA gym. His work there started as an unpaid internship two years ago and then turned into a part-time job that includes working with personal training clients. A sport and exercise studies major, he hopes to eventually run a gym of his own, applying lessons he has learned outside his major in classes in psychology, multicultural education, sociology, communication studies, and more.

Grundy added that the most important thing he has learned has been the value of being a leader. “Coming into college, I wanted to be this all ODAC player recognized for individual accomplishments. Now I’m just happy about the impact I’ve had on my teammates, and how I’ve changed their attitudes,” he said. “That makes a much bigger impact than individual awards.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Senior Profile: Kelsey Abell ’14

Kelsey Abell ’14 started college thinking she would become an elementary school teacher. But for her, part of the beauty of the liberal arts curriculum was that she discovered a talent and interest in art that she had not realized before.

Abell was one of several members of the Class of 2014 featured in Randolph magazine during her first semester at Randolph. We recently followed up with her to learn about her artwork and her new plans to become a college art professor. You can read that story here.

Much of Abell’s senior year was spent in the art studio, where she was preparing works for the senior art exhibition, which opened earlier this month and is on display at the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College until Sunday. That was one of her favorite moments of the year.

“The exhibition was what I was working towards all year, and it was an absolute blast,” she said. “I got to share the experience with six other senior studio art majors and my family. It has been an amazing experience with a group of people I call family and amazing to see my own art work on the walls of a museum.”

Monday, May 12, 2014

Randolph prepares to celebrate 2014 Commencement

Randolph College will celebrate the graduation the Class of 2014 in several events this weekend.

About 121 students will receive bachelor’s degrees and approximately 20 will receive master’s degrees.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, a hooding ceremony for master’s degree recipients will be held in the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College. The College will then hold Baccalaureate, a celebration of faith and thanksgiving, at 11 a.m. in Houston Memorial Chapel. Gordon Steffey, a Randolph professor of religion, will deliver the baccalaureate address. Students will present music, readings, and an interpretive dance.

Saturday’s events continue with Daisy Chain, a beloved tradition that honors the friendships between the sophomore and senior class, at 3:30 p.m. Garden Party, a celebration for the members of the graduating class, their families, and faculty, will be held in Michels Plaza at 4 p.m. Saturday. This year, a jazz group, the Dwight Spencer Trio, will provide live music for Garden Party.

The weekend will culminate in the Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday in the Dell. Edward L. Ayers, president of the University of Richmond and a renowned scholar of Civil War history, will deliver the Commencement address. Other speakers will include Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman and Stephanie Barron ’14, president of the graduating class.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Many returning for Reunion 2014

In a few weeks, many former students will return to their cherished alma mater to reunite with their classmates, former professors, and other friends.

The annual Reunion brings alumnae and alumni of the College back to campus on anniversaries of their graduation. Although all are welcome, those whose class years end with a four or a nine are especially invited to this year’s reunion from May 29 – June 1. More than 170 people from 16 class years have registered to attend.

Activities in Reunion 2014 include tours of the Old City Cemetery and the Randolph College campus; a discussion of a recently-discovered novel by Pearl S. Buck, a member of the class of 1914; a student panel; lunch with faculty emeriti; educational opportunities with no tests or homework; live bands on three nights, and more.

Alumnae and alumni can register for Reunion 2014 and get more information at

Registrations after May 15 will require a late fee.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Psychology students present research at annual VPA meeting

Several Randolph College psychology seniors presented their research papers at the annual meeting of the Virginia Psychological Association in Norfolk, Va.

The seniors and their presentation titles are listed below.

Jacob Hood ’14 and Robert Villanueva ’14 (presented by Jacob Hood): Effects of Race and Socioeconomic Status on the Perceived Credibility of Eyewitnesses

Alexis Arnett ’14, Nushaa Kaz ’14, and Elizabeth van Noppen ’14: The Effect of Exercise Choice on Adherence, Motivation, and Self-Efficacy

Emily Rist ’14 and Sara Kasey ’14: Stress Levels and Contact with Nature

Elizabeth Delery ’14 and Brian Mule ’14: The Effects of Meditation on the Cortisol Stress Response

Sara Khalid ’14: A Comparison of Help-Seeking Behaviors Across Cultures and Genders

Friday, May 2, 2014

Students honored in awards ceremonies

The end of an academic year offers the Randolph College community the opportunity to reflect on the year’s accomplishments and the achievements of students. This week, we held two award ceremonies—one for athletics and one for academics and leadership—to honor students for their contributions to the community.

Read about the athletic awards and see a list of recipients in this story on

About 70 students were honored with more than 80 awards at the Academic and Leadership Awards Ceremony. John Grundy ’14 received the Student of the Year Award.

List of Award Recipients

Outstanding First Year Student in Art History — Callan Frye ’17
Rachel Trexler Ellis '44 Art Prize for Excellence — Katherine Bickley ’14
Rachel Trexler Ellis '44 Art Prize for Excellence — Kelly Wood ’14

Asian Studies
Asian Studies Program Award — Tahan Menon ’16
Asian Studies Program Award — May Soe ’14
Asian Studies Program Award — Tamara Trombetta ’14
Asian Studies Program Award — Zhe Zhang ’15

Sophomore Biology Award — Ngoc Pham ’16
Sophomore Biology Award — Renee' Russell ’16
Ann Grant Gerhardt Award in Biology — Auzeen Abbassi ’15
Ann Grant Gerhardt Award in Biology — Dara Niketic ’15
Grace Taylor Wiltshire Honorary Alumnae Award in Biology — Meron Demeke ’15
Grace Taylor Wiltshire Honorary Alumnae Award in Biology — Katherine Riedel ’15
Marnie Reed Crowell Award in Biology — Averie Morgan ’15
Marnie Reed Crowell Award in Biology — Adriana Verdezoto Alvarado ’15

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry — Alyssa Everett ’15
General Chemistry Award — Alyssa Umberger ’17

Exemplary Student in Classics — Gabriel Kuhl ’17

Communication Studies
Carla Heath/James Hoban Award in Communication Studies — Amanda Sims ’16
Carla Heath/James Hoban Award in Communication Studies — Megan Wilkes ’17

Eleanor Struppa Departmental Award in Dance — Lauren Boergert ’14
Genia Melikova Award in Dance — Matthew Cornpropst ’14
Helen McGehee Award in Dance — Lindsay Brents ’16
Rebecca Jung Award in Dance — Chloe Tong ’14
Sally Spencer Award in Dance — Amanda Fischer ’15

Economics & Business
Stan Marshall Award for Excellence in Business — Amy Jacobs ’14

Kathleen Bowman Research Award in Education — Emilee Dunton ’14

1st Prize, Academy of American Poets — Grace Gardiner ’15
2nd Prize, Academy of American Poets — Eric Morris-Pusey ’15
3rd Prize, Academy of American Poets — Lydia Brown ’17
Sarah I. Davis Award in American Studies — Grace Gardiner ’15
John P. Kirby Award for Explication — Emma Bartholomew ’14
1st Prize, Margaret I. Raynal Fiction Award — Katy Boyer ’16
2nd Prize, Margaret I. Raynal Fiction Award — Eric Morris-Pusey ’15

Environmental Studies
Outstanding Environmental Studies Student — Sara Woodward ’16
Environmental Studies Senior Award — Kavya Pradhan ’14

Prix de Civilisation Française — Melissa Halka ’14
Prix de l’Alliance Française — Huong Doan ’14
Prix de l’Alliance Française — Diep Trieu ’15

Outstanding First-Year Math Student — Noelle Wojciechowski ’17

Outstanding Student Award in Music — Grace Cummins ’16
Marie N. Grisard Instrumentalist Award — Morgan Wardlaw ’17

Outstanding First Year Student in Physics — Alan Gibson ’17
Outstanding New Major in Physics — Duc Dinh ’16
Outstanding Contributor to Science Education — Timothy Slesinger ’14

Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in Psychology — Diep Trieu ’15
Best Senior Project in Psychology — Elizabeth Delery ’14
Best Senior Project in Psychology — Brian Mule' ’14

J. Kenneth Morland Award in Sociology — Tsubasa Watanabe ’14
Shirley W. Strickland Award in Sociology — Abigail Smith ’15

Charlotte Daniels Stern Award in Spanish — Ariana La Grenade-Finch ’16
Charlotte Daniels Stern Award in Spanish — Blanca Sánchez ’16
Helen Edwards Morrison Award in Spanish — Sydney Henson ’14

Sport and Exercise Studies
Outstanding Achievement in Sport and Exercise Studies — John Grundy ’14

Academic Achievement Award in Theatre — Matthew Cornpropst ’14
Outstanding Contributor in Theatre — Allison Michael ’16
Outstanding Contributor in Theatre — Emily Terlizzi ’16

Maier Museum of Art
Maier Museum of Art Helen Owen Calvert Writing Award — Jordan Long ’17

Summer Research Program
Summer Research Program Outstanding Oral Presentation Award — Hart Gillespie ’15
Summer Research Program Outstanding Poster Award — Sydney Henson ’14
Summer Research Program Outstanding Poster Award — Katherine Lesnak ’15
Summer Research Program Outstanding Poster Award — Timothy Slesinger ’14
Summer Research Program Outstanding Poster Award — Tung Tran ’15

Writing Board
2014 Writing Board Best Short Paper — Teague Elliott ’16
2014 Writing Board Best Long Paper — Eric Morris-Pusey ’15

Leadership Awards
Resident Life 3-Year Service Award — John Grundy ’14
Resident Life 3-Year Service Award — Sydney Henson ’14
Resident Life 3-Year Service Award — Sarah Khalid ’14
Resident Life 3-Year Service Award — Stephanie Barron ’14
Resident Life 3-Year Service Award — Ryan Purrington ’14
Resident Life 3-Year Service Award — Kavya Pradhan ’14
Resident Life 3-Year Service Award — Sara Kasey ’14
Dorothy Hughes Award — Jessica McIntosh ’16
Ambassador Award — Amy Jacobs ’14
Tutor of the Year — Hart Gillespie ’15
American Association of University Women Award — Laura Snell ’15
Outstanding Contributor to Intercultural Awareness Award — Kavya Pradhan ’14
Student-Mentor Award — Sydney Henson ’14
Initiative Award — Amy Jacobs ’14
Outstanding Behind-the-Scenes Contributor Award — Brandon Stroble ’16
ABCD (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty) Award — Marielle Rando ’14
Student Organization Advisor of the Year — Catherine Khoo ’11
Virginia Hill Worden Exemplary Leadership Award — Abigail Smith ’15
Volunteer Leadership Award — Amy Jacobs ’14
Deans’ Leadership Award — Glenna Gray ’14
Student of the Year Award — John Grundy ’14

Randolph professor explains environmental impact of local train derailment and oil spill

On Wednesday, a train derailed several miles from Randolph College, sending three cars carrying crude oil into the James River. When local media began reporting on the environmental impacts of the resulting oil spill, they asked Sarah Lawson, a Randolph environmental studies and physics professor, to explain what could happen.

On Thursday, Lawson appeared on a live WSET noon newscast to talk about how the spilled oil could affect the waterways and wildlife. Later, she helped reporters at the News & Advance explain the potential long-lasting consequences of the oil spill. Her comments are included in the sidebar on this article.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Randolph riders win at National Horse Show

Two Randolph College students won national honors at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Horse Show today.

Reynolds Martin ’15 won first place for individual novice equitation on the flat, while Meaghan Hynes ’16 won third place for individual intermediate equitation on the flat.

For more information, watch for the full story on A brief video interview with the riders is available on the WildCat Athletics Facebook Page.

They are the first two Randolph riders to win top three spots at the National Horse Show. They are the fifth and sixth in the program’s history to compete in the show.

Martin is a legacy student, the daughter of Owen Murray Jaeger ’83, granddaughter of Jane Reynolds Murray ’66, and cousin of Maggie Murray ’14.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Inauguration Videos

The Inauguration of Bradley W. Bateman included three video presentations to celebrate his life and career, the history of Randolph College, and the value of a liberal arts education.

“Bradley W. Bateman: A Passionate Leader & A Champion For The Liberal Arts” was played during the installation ceremony to introduce the audience to Bateman.

“Here Let Wisdom Rise: Thoughts on Liberal Studies - Excerpted From Seneca's ‘Letters From A Stoic’” also was played during the installation ceremony. Bateman chose this text because it is one of the earliest essays on liberal education and emphasized the ability of liberal education to help people achieve freedom.

“Randolph College: A Member Of The Lynchburg Community” celebrated Randolph’s role in the Lynchburg community and was played to welcome the audience to the Mavis Staples concert.

The Inauguration has received widespread media attention. We are collecting articles and other content related to Inauguration here.

Seniors present art and research at the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College

The Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College will hold an opening reception for Young Ambitions: 2014 Senior Exhibition on Tuesday., April 29 at 4 p.m.

The exhibition includes works in a variety of media including paintings, photography, video, sculpture, and installation art by seven Randolph College seniors majoring in art with a concentration in studio art: Ashesh Maharjan ’14, Kelsea Hammoura ’14, Kelsey Abell ’14, K. Becker Bickley ’14, Jerelle Morse ’14, Kelly Wood ’14, and Mariah Reed ’14.

On Thursday, May 1, at 4 p.m., Randolph College’s graduating art history students will present their senior papers. Presentation topics include:

  • “Physiognomy in the Works of Gianlorenzo Bernini and the Influence on Le Brun’s Treatise A Method to Learn to Design the Passions,” by Katherine Vance ’14;
  • "Balancing Gender Roles: The Daphne and Apollo Myth in Victorian Paintings by Henrietta Rae and John William Waterhouse," by Monica Varner ’14;
  • "Looking Through the Lens: Optical Means in the Painting of Fabritius and Manet," by Hannah Neifert ’14;
  • "Mistress of Misogyny: A Gendered Reading of Feminine and Masculine Representations in Peggy Guggenheim's Collection," by Lian Aurora Perez ’14;
  • "Nost-algia: Redirecting the Case for Repatriation of the Parthenon Sculptures," by Glenna Gray ’14;
  • “Saving Grace: The Influence of Papal Acquisitions on the Conservation of Roman Monuments and its place in Modern Conservation Scholarship,” by Tierney Dickson ’14;
  • and "Harmony with Strangers: Daily Tous les Jours 21 Balançoires (21 Swings)," by Melissa Halka ’14.

These events are free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided at both the opening reception and the presentation. For more information on exhibitions and events, visit or contact them at (434) 947-8136 /

Randolph hosts Alliance Francaise lecture

Randolph College will host a lecture for the Alliance Francaise of Lynchburg at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Nichols Theatre.

Marie-Therese Killiam, a professor of French at Sweet Briar College, will present the talk, “From Charlemagne to Napoleon: writing history through art and war.” A reception will follow.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Randolph College celebrates the Inauguration of President Bradley W. Bateman

Randolph College celebrated the Inauguration of Bradley W. Bateman, the College's 10th president, this weekend.

The Inauguration began on Friday with a symposium titled “Why the Liberal Arts?” A group of scholars, including Jerry W. Ward, Martha Hemwall, Kwang-Wu Kim, and David P. White, addressed topics on advising, teaching, creating, and serving. For a full schedule of the symposium, please visit

The symposium was followed by the dedication of a tree in honor of William F. Quillian, Jr., the fifth president of the College, who passed away earlier this year. He was remembered for his strong dedication to the College and his service to the community.

The Inauguration celebration continued today with an interfaith chapel service, the official installation ceremony, and a concert with Grammy-award winner Mavis Staples.

For a full schedule, visit the Inauguration website. Video of the installation ceremony will be available soon on the website.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Randolph Model UN students win awards in 2014 conference

Randolph College students won several honors at the National Model United Nations Conference last week.

Randolph’s Model UN team was named an Honorable Mention Delegation. Also, six Randolph students—including five who were participating in Model UN for their first time—won awards for position papers that they authored.

“All the awards reflect the hard work and diplomatic skills of the delegates and the utter dedication to excellence of our two head delegates,” said Jennifer Dugan, a Randolph global studies professor and the advisor for the Model UN team. “I am proud of our achievements this year.”

Randolph’s delegation to the Model UN this year represented the country of Malta. The delegation included 16 students, including head delegates Jacob Lusczek ’15 and Samantha Terry ’16.

Randolph’s position paper award winners include: Sarah Terlizzi ’15 and John Vecchiettie ’14, who served on the UN General Assembly Third Committee; Tsubasa Wantanabe ’14 and Erica Quinby ’17, who served on the UN Industrial Development Organization; and Rickie Scott ’17 and Sebastian Ranasinghe ’16, who served on the UN General Assembly Second Committee.

These awards add to an already impressive list of Model UN awards. The Randolph team regularly brings home awards for outstanding delegations and excellent position papers.

Student travel and participation in the Model U.N. program is made possible by the Sheldon and Chrystine Hicks Endowed Global Studies Fund through a generous gift from Marilyn Hicks Fitzgerald ’68 and Michael P. Fitzgerald.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Randolph students will package meals for the hungry on Earth Day

Randolph College students will package 10,000 meals for people in need on Tuesday, April 22.

The College’s student government has partnered with Stop Hunger Now, a nonprofit group with a branch in Lynchburg, to package the food. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Gravely-Hampson Commons.

Amanda Denny, the College’s director of leadership and engagement, has volunteered with Stop Hunger Now several times, including one event on campus several years ago. She recently suggested that the Randolph College student government partner again with Stop Hunger Now. “Student government had been looking for a project to support that would bring our students, faculty, and staff together in a meaningful way,” she said.

Denny’s idea excited the student government members. “We thought it was a great idea and decided to go forward to it,” said Coulton Watson, a student senator who is organizing the event. “It’s a great way to be involved in the community, as well as show our appreciation and give back.”

Watson has recruited many volunteers from the student body, and faculty and staff members are welcome to assist, too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Symposium of Artists and Scholars celebrates student excellence

The sixth annual Symposium of Artists and Scholars will include more than 60 presentations highlighting Randolph College students’ scholarly work and creative ventures.

The symposium will take place Thursday and Friday. Students will present research on a wide range of topics, such as the effects of dance exercise on coordination improvement, the role fungi play in allergic reactions, and philosophical questions of artificial intelligence. They also will present creative works, such as a poem about a Lynchburg pawn shop, a student-authored play about relationships, and musical compositions.

“Randolph College students are engaging in an amazing variety of high-quality research projects and creative pursuits,” said Peter Sheldon, director of the Center for Student Research. “We are proud of the work our students are doing, and we look forward to celebrating and sharing their work in the Symposium.”

Doug Shedd, the Catherine Ehrman Thoresen ’23 and William E. Thoresen Professor of Biology, will present the keynote address, “Why Biodiversity Matters,” at 7 p.m. Thursday.

For a full schedule of the Symposium of Artists and Scholars, read the symposium program here.

The annual symposium, modeled after traditional academic conferences, was started in 2008 to celebrate the height of Randolph College student achievement.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Alumna Anne Wilkes Tucker ’67 featured in Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal recently published a column about the career of Anne Wilkes Tucker ’67. On the occasion of Tucker’s upcoming retirement after nearly 40 years of curating photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), the Journal interviewed her about her career.

The column highlights her groundbreaking exhibitions on Czech Modernism, Japanese photography, and war photography. It also touches on changes she has seen during her career.

Tucker, who first worked with photography when she took photos for the Randolph-Macon Woman’s College newspaper and yearbook, has grown MFAH’s photography collection from just 141 prints when she arrived there in 1976 to more than 29,000 prints by more than 4,000 artists today.

She also is a member of the Randolph College Board of Trustees.

Read the full story here: