Monday, March 31, 2014

Megan Bloomer ’06 shares experience in sustainability career

When Megan Bloomer ’06 graduated from college, she got job offers for positions which required candidates to have a minimum of 10 years of experience. But because of her liberal arts background and the her experience in the environmental studies program at Randolph, she found that she was more than qualified, despite being right out of college.

“I was placed into jobs with no experience, 10 years ahead of where my career could be,” said Bloomer, who now is director of Village Green, the sustainability department for DaVita, a leading provider of dialysis and part of a Fortune 500 company. “That wouldn’t be possible without my Randolph education.”

Bloomer is on campus today to deliver a talk as part of the College’s Sustainability Speaker Series. She met with students at lunch to discuss careers. At 7 p.m., she will speak to a wider audience in a public talk in Nichols Theatre.

She has titled her presentation, “Moving Sustainability from the Trash Room to the Corner Office,” because she believes people will respect sustainability more if they recognize its potential. “When I explain my job, people say, ‘Oh you’re in charge of recycling,’” she said. “That’s still the first thing that people think. But last night I was on the phone executing a $20 million deal. Sustainability is a lot more than policing what people throw away.”

“I can tell you what goes into which recycling bin, but let’s go talk about how we can save $20 million on energy,” she added.

Bloomer hopes to help people recognize the positive impact of corporate sustainability, but she also wants to show students what their liberal arts education  will prepare them for. She recalls taking classes that had nothing to do with her personal and career interests, but that helped her build a foundation for making connections and finding solutions, which is a daily part of her job now. “It comes naturally to me because I was forced out of my comfort zone and forced to make those connections,” she said. “The platform that you're pushed to create here is the best platform for any field.”

Friday, March 28, 2014

Michael Kimmel to speak at Randolph April 2

Randolph College will host one of the nation’s leading scholars on men and masculinity for a discussion of the role gender plays on a college campus and how gender equality is a good thing for men.

Michael Kimmel will present “Mars, Venus, or Planet Earth: Men and Women on Campus in a New Millennium” on Wednesday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Wimberly Recital Hall.

The presentation will survey the landscape of current controversies about gender and discuss ways in which men and women are much more similar than some imagine. Kimmel also will focus on ways men benefit from feminism and gender equality.

These are frequent topics addressed in his books, articles, and public appearances. “If the past few decades have made anything clear, it's been that we are neither Martians nor Venusians. And what's good for Earthlings—male and female—is good for all of us,” Kimmel wrote in a recent article for the Huffington Post. “If we want to help women achieve greater equality, we have to engage men.

Kimmel served as a consultant for the College when Randolph-Macon Woman’s College transitioned to coeducation and became Randolph College. Sociology professor Danielle Currier said Kimmel is interested in how the College has developed since then, and she believes the College community is interested in what he has to say. “His major topics of research and writing are gender, masculinity, and how women and men interact in social situations—particularly colleges,” Currier said. As a coed institution, “we need to have continuing conversations about how young women and men interact in a college setting.

“We are all affected by gender in all of our relationships and all our social interactions,” she said, adding that she hopes the talk helps people “think more critically and positively about how women and men can get along and have positive friendships and intimate relationships.”

Former astronaut encourages scientific exploration and persistance

Former astronaut Leland Melvin kicked off the Randolph College Science Festival with a lecture about his journey to becoming an astronaut. He advised students in the audience to explore science by experiencing it and never giving up.

Melvin explained how he gained experience in science while growing up in Lynchburg with parents who were teachers. Science was more than just book learning, he said. He learned about problem solving, creating, and experimenting through experiences such as helping his dad convert a bread delivery truck into an RV, building his own skateboard, and playing with a chemistry set.

“Science isn’t just about reading in a book,” he said. “Science is about making things.”

Melvin explained that he first learned about persistence during a high school football game when he dropped a touchdown pass, but the coach called the same play again. On the second try, he caught the pass, winning the game for Lynchburg’s Heritage High School and helping win him a college scholarship. He said the same kind of persistence is needed in science.

“If we had quit after the first five launches that failed, we never would have gone to the moon,” he said. He asked whether any students in the audience had ever failed a test, and he encouraged them to continue learning and trying to succeed. “You have to just keep moving,” he said.

After his talk, he answered questions from the audience and signed autographs and posed for photos with fans.

For photos from Melvin’s talk, check out the Science Festival 2014 Facebook album. Also, read this article in the News & Advance for more details about his talk.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

American Culture Program studies in the Caribbean, delivers digitized historical documents

Students in Randolph College’s American Culture Program are spending the next several days in the U.S. Virgin Islands learning more about life in the Caribbean and how it relates to American immigration and identity.

While they are there, the students will deliver copies of historical archives that are currently unavailable on the islands.

Each year, the American Culture Program focuses on an aspect of American life and history. Lori Lee, the Ainsworth Visiting Professor of American Culture, proposed a look at the Caribbean, and particularly the U.S. Virgin Islands, as a way to explore issues of American identity. “I thought it would be great to look at that by learning about a place that has become American,” she said.

By studying American involvement in the Caribbean, the students are learning about migration, imperialism, environmental impacts, tourism, economic development, and the way that cultural identity is formed.

In February, the group traveled to the Washington, D.C., area to work on a project that seeks to give residents of the Virgin Islands access to historical documents that are currently only available in federal archives. They copied passport applications that island residents completed in the early years after the islands became U.S. territory.

For several years, Lee has participated in this project that delivers copies of passport applications to the Virgin Islands on Transfer Day—marking March 31, the day that the U.S. purchased the islands.

Randolph students work with passport documents in the National Archives.
Although “migration has been central to Caribbean life for centuries,” the requirement to have a passport to move to the mainland U.S. created a valuable historic archive, Lee said. “These are two-page documents that record who people are, where they’re going, what their jobs are. For a lot of people, this was their first time being photographed.”

Alex Fella ’15 enjoyed working with the passport applications, but he is especially looking forward to delivering them for Transfer Day because he knows how significant the documents will be for people who live there. “They will be able to see these family ties—they can see pictures from their ancestors who have emigrated from the islands,” he said.

The group also met with representatives from the Organization of American States and the Council for Puerto Rico Statehood. Then, they had lunch at a Caribbean restaurant and met its owner, a Jamaican immigrant. “We wanted to get a more personal understanding of what it is like to live in the Caribbean, leave, and become a pretty successful business owner,” Fella said.

In 2011, another group of Randolph students went to
the U.S. Virgin Islands to study water quality there.
Abigail Smith ’15, who is from Jamaica, was intrigued by the way the restaurant adapted recipes, and even omitted some Caribbean favorites. The restaurant owner explained the importance of being flexible as cultures integrate.

Smith signed up for the American Culture Program because she wanted to get an American perspective of the Caribbean to compare with the perspective she developed while growing up in a British territory. By learning more about the history and cultures of the Caribbean, she has developed ideas that she hopes to apply as an ambassador between Caribbean islands someday.

“We’ve had a history of dependency on first world countries. There have not been as great efforts to reach inside and partner with different islands. We see more differences than similarities,” she said. “But we really are so similar. If we regionalize the area, that’s one of the ways we can become more developed.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Randolph professor publishes more books in EasyGuide series

A Randolph professor has published two more books in the EasyGuide series designed to help students grasp technical topics related to psychology and other social sciences research.

This month, SAGE Publications released An EasyGuide to Research Design and SPSS and An EasyGuide to Research Presentations, both co-authored by Beth Schwartz, the William E. and Catherine Ehrman Thoresen ’23 Chair in Social Sciences and assistant dean of the College.

Dennis Goff, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology, was one of Schwartz’s co-authors for the book on research design.

These books follow An EasyGuide to APA Style, which Schwartz published in 2013. “It started as a single book, but when I talked with the publisher after the success of that first book, we decided it would be great to add some additional EasyGuides,” Schwartz said.

The EasyGuide books aim to make information more accessible to students by conveying technical information in a more conversational tone, as well as combining information from a variety of sources, Schwartz said.

“The books include step-by-step instructions, with screenshots when applicable, to help with the logistics of writing, conducting statistical analyses, and creating presentation slides,” Schwartz said. “The information is easy to read, includes some humor to make what can be dry material a bit easier to digest, and has easy-to-follow examples.”

Schwartz said she has already started discussing potential topics for more books in the EasyGuide series.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Poet Shara Lessley gives public Reading March 26

Shara Lessley, author of the poetry compilation Two-Headed Nightingale, will give a public reading at Randolph College on March 26th at 8 p.m. in the Alice Ashley Jack Room as part of the Visiting Writer Series.

Lessley, the Anne Spencer Poet in Residence, will be at Randolph for four weeks. In addition to giving the public reading this Wednesday, she will teach a class with a focus on writing and poetry.

Photo by Lisa Beth Anderson
Lessley is a poet and teacher with a bachelor’s degree in dance and English from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Poetry from the University of Maryland. She sees a connection between the two disciplines.

“My training as a dancer influences the way I see syntax and the line. Elongation, contraction. Rhythm. Musicality. I'm very interested in the sentence as a muscle the poet flexes and points, in order to control pacing and speed,” Lessley said.

Lessley has been drawn to poetry since she was nine. “When I was nine, I encountered Dickinson's ‘I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,’ and was completely gobsmacked,” she said. “Of course, I didn’t understand the poem fully, but I was overwhelmed by its weirdness, its mystery and music. It made me want to parade and stomp around in Dickinson's ’Boots of Lead’—a high mark of praise for a third grader, I suppose.”

Lessley draws her current inspiration for her poetry from her experience living in Amman, Jordan the past three years, a region she describes as “complex and rich.”

Among her other accomplishments, Lessley is also a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University and the 2014 Mary Wood Fellow at Washington College.  Her work has been featured in The Rumpus Poetry Anthology and The Ecopoetry Anthology.

Lessley is Randolph College’s first Anne Spencer Poet in Residence. While the College has hosted poets and other writers for years, this position in the Visiting Writer Series was recently renamed to honor Anne Spencer, a Harlem Renaissance poet who lived not far from the College.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Honor societies hold 2014 induction ceremony

Several academic honor societies at Randolph College inducted new students to their ranks in a ceremony this week. Here is a list of students inducted in Wednesday’s ceremonies.

You can browse photos from the ceremony on the Randolph College Facebook page.

Psi Chi
Jensen Hoover ’15
Lauren Mason ’16
Sandeep Poudyal ’16
Faith Stoneking ’16

Iota Sigma Pi
Women in Chemistry
Meron Demeke ’15
Alyssa Everett ’15

Alpha Kappa Delta
Jensen Hoover ’15
Amy Jacobs ’14
Danielle Lewis ’15
Margaret (Maggie) Murray ’14
Abigail Smith ’15
Rachel A. Storey ’14
Robert Villaneuva ’14
Coulton Watson ’15
Brandi Witt ’14

Pi Delta Phi
Melissa Halka ’14
Huong Ngoc (Hin) Doan ’14
Diep Thi Linh (Penny) Trieu ’15

Auzeen Abbassi ’15
Kelia Cutkelvin ’16
Meron Demeke ’15
Seth Dorman ’15
Allison Druffel ’15
Cameron Garrison ’14
Lytease Industrious ’16
Cassandra Joe-Louis ’16
Marissa McClinton ’16
Averie Morgan ’15
Dara Niketic ’15
Riya Patel ’16
Olivia M. Reed ’16
Renee Russell ’16
Eun Joo Seo ’15
Blair George Steele ’15
Kyra Tucker ’15
Coulton Watson ’15
Haleigh Wilson ’15

Theta Alpha Kappa
Religious Studdies
Olivia I. Groff ’14

Pi Sigma Alpha
Political Science
Conner W. Dye ’15
Glenna M. Gray ’14
Katherine R.D. Lesnak ’15
Abigail J.N. Smith ’15
Sarah Terlizzi ’15
Tamara M. Trombetta ’14

Omicron Delta Epsilon
Mai Hoang Dam ’15
Connor W. Dye ’15
Hoa Hong Nguyen ’15
Huong Viet Nguyen ’15
Tu Anh Nguyen ’15
May Nwe Soe ’14
Ha Thanh Tong ’15
Stephany D. West ’15
Emma Williams ’16

Chi Alpha Sigma
Scholar Athletes
Emilee Dunton ’14
Connor Dye ’15
Alyssa Everett ’15
Katherine Lesnak ’15
Ryan Mahon ’15
Michael Ramsey ’15
Stephany West ’15
Colton Wood ’14

Sigma Pi Sigma
Alex Kwakye ’15
Pujan Shrestha ’15
Tung (Alex) Tran ’15
Colton Wood ’14

Phi Alpha Theta 
Auzeen J. Abbassi ’15
Igor D. Bayder ’14
Tierney C. Dickinson ’14
Megan K. Einhorn ’15
Maximilian N. Niketic ’14
Rachel A. Storey ’14
Katherine E. Vance ’14
Monica A. Varner ’14
Stephany D. West ’15
Emma A. Williams ’16

Sigma Xi
Stephanie Barron ’14
Mimansha Joshi ’14
Kristina Marinak ’14
Kavya Pradhan ’14

Sigma Tau Delta
Mandy Boucher ’15
Savannah Edwards ’15
Grace Gardiner ’15
Ellen Meadows ’15
Nik Oliver ’15
Erin Vasta ’15
Christina Crouch ’15
Megan Einhorn ’15
Olivia Groff ’14
Ashley Peisher ’15

Lambda Pi Eta
Communication Studies
Phuong Tran ’15

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Alumna endows music scholarship to honor piano professor

Laura Geisel Sullivan, M.D. ’74 entered medical school at a time when there were few female physicians. And while she was a serious student of biology at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, she also was a talented and dedicated student of piano. As an undergraduate, Sullivan remembers practicing the piano “every night after dinner until 10 p.m., when the night watchman would tap on my practice room door and remind me it was time to go.”

Laura Geisel Sullivan ’74 and Elaine Dahl St. Vincent visit with a student
at the 2008 Alumnae Achievement Awards banquet honoring Sullivan.
Balancing the desire to pursue a career in medicine with her passion for piano was not always easy, but Sullivan credits her R-MWC piano professor, Elaine Dahl St. Vincent, with providing constant support and encouragement. In gratitude to her former teacher, Sullivan recently established The Elaine Dahl St. Vincent Endowed Music Scholarship Fund to benefit Randolph College students of piano. In creating the scholarship, Sullivan hopes to assist students who are committed students of piano but for whom a Randolph education is financially out of reach.

St. Vincent served on the R-MWC faculty from 1947-1980 and chaired the Department of Music from 1957-1979. In 1971, the College awarded her the prestigious Gillie Larew Award for Distinguished Teaching. While she taught hundreds of talented students during her tenure, she recalls Sullivan vividly: “Although Laura was not a music major, she was talented and diligent in such a superior way that the music department consented to permit her to play a senior recital. . . Laura was receptive to teaching and, therefore, she was a joy to have as a student.”

The close connections Sullivan enjoyed as a student at R-MWC have stayed with her long after graduation. Sullivan, who earned the College’s Alumnae Achievement Award in 2008 for her leadership in surgical pathology and hematopathology, has long been a supporter of the College, and her alma mater has played a large role in her extended family as well. Her daughter, Kathryn Sullivan Underwood ’09, majored in art history at the College, and her other daughter, Best Sullivan ’14, is currently enrolled in Randolph’s MAT program. Her niece, Laura Word Taylor ’13, recently graduated with a chemistry degree.

Sullivan is thankful to faculty members like St. Vincent for playing such a big role in her life. “Working one-on-one with Elaine all those years, I really got to know her, and I have enjoyed staying in touch with her ever since.”

Happily, Sullivan also has stayed in touch with the piano, still balancing the demands of a full time medical practice while finding time to practice piano most days. Recently she performed in her hospital’s annual “Physicians in Concert” series. “I played Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue,” she says, adding, “It took a lot of work to get it right, but I think Elaine would have been pleased!”

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Heritage Ensemble presents ‘Flavor Boost’

The Heritage Ensemble will celebrate African culture with music, literature, and dance in three “Flavor Boost” performances this week.

Flavor Boost is the 19th annual performance in the Flavor series directed by Hiawatha Johnson, Jr., a composer-in-residence and the accompanist for Randolph’s dance program. The show opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Thoresen Theatre. Other performances are scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m. General admission is $5, and student tickets are $3. (Randolph students can attend for free with their Paw Pass.)

“This is the most music filled ‘Flavor’ to date,” said Johnson, who named Earth, Wind & Fire; Sly & the Family Stone; and the Staple Singers as some of the artists whose music will be represented.

The show will also feature poetry and prose by Sonia Sanchez, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Randolph college students and alumnae.

The current Heritage Ensemble includes 21 students, and three alumnae will return to perform in this year’s Flavor show.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Statewide art history symposium to be held at Randolph

The Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College will host the first annual Virginia Art Historians Colloquium Undergraduate Symposium this weekend.

The symposium will include five presentations on a variety of art history topics, including a paper by Glenna Gray ’14 about modern pillaging of Iraqi art. Presentations begin at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“This symposium gives undergraduate art history students an opportunity to share their research with their peers from other institutions in Virginia,” said Leanne Zalewski, a Randolph art professor.

The idea for a statewide symposium highlighting the work of art history students came up in a discussion between Zalewski and professors from other colleges at a conference last fall. Zalewski offered to host the first one at Randolph.

The presentations include:

“I Heard it Through the Grape Vine: Revelry Scenes in Ancient India” by Ellen Archie, Washington and Lee University

“The Truth Beyond the Loss Register: An Examination of the Economic and Political Factors Behind the Pillaging of Iraq's Cultural Heritage” by Glenna Gray, Randolph College

“She left the web, she left the loom: Pre-Raphaelite Representations of the Lady of Shalott and Gender Ideologies in Victorian England” by Virginia Lefler, Roanoke College

“Odilon Redon: Prince of the Fin de Siècle” by Stephanie Stassi, Hollins University

“Not So Happy Days: A Biographical Analysis of Happy Days (Edward Henry Potthast)” by Grayson Van Beuren, Virginia Tech

There will be question and answer sessions at 1:50 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Friday, March 14, 2014

2001 alumna runs Boston Marathon for charity

The day after a bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon, Rachel Mathewson ’01 went running.

So did many Boston residents. For Mathewson, it was a way of trying to respond with hope and solidarity after a tragic attack that killed three people and injured more than 200.

“As a mother, and as a runner, and as someone who lives here, I know we have to move forward,” she said, recalling that day. “That’s the way we’ll promote healing.”

This year, Mathewson will run the Boston Marathon on behalf of a charity that honors the youngest person who died from the bombing last year—8-year-old Martin Richard. Mathewson was one of 72 people chosen to receive one of the charity’s spots in the race.

In the aftermath of the bombing, a photo of Richard and a sign he had made stating “No more hurting people—Peace” was widely circulated. In January, his family announced the formation of the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation and Team MR8, a Boston Marathon team that would raise money that the foundation could use to support education, athletics, and community programs.

Mathewson, who has run one marathon before, decided to complete the 11-page application. “I never thought I would be picked,” she said. But at the end of January she learned that she had been selected for the team. “It is an extraordinary privilege to be running this Boston Marathon and especially for Martin, adding my voice to his message of peace,” she said.

Since then, Mathewson has stepped up her running in order to be ready for the 26-mile race. Her running schedule includes short runs during the week and longer runs on weekends with other Boston-area members of Team MR8.

“This is a relatively short time frame to be training for a marathon,” she said. “There is the physical part of it, but I think the mental part of it is more challenging. It requires a lot of dedication and persistence. It’s more a state of mind. The miles will come. You just keep putting one foot in front of another.”

By joining Team MR8, Mathewson committed to raise at least $7,500 for the foundation. The amount seemed daunting at first, but she believes it will help establish a strong beginning for the charity. Mathewson thinks of her fundraising efforts much like she approaches running—one step at a time. Currently, she is more than halfway to her goal, according to her fundraising page.

Mathewson, who majored in psychology at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, has been inspired by the way her community responded to the bombing last year. Victims have shown courage and determination in overcoming their injuries, the community has joined together to support their recovery, and the Richard family turned their sorrow into an opportunity to do good.

“Everyone is in action. Everyone is moving forward,” she said. “This year’s marathon is going to be a testament to the fact that you can’t take this away from us.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Family and friends celebrate the life of William F. Quillian, Jr., with stories, poetry, and a rendition of "Minnie the Moocher"

One of the most well-known memories of William F. Quillian, Jr., was his tradition of singing “Minnie the Moocher” for Randolph-Macon Woman’s College functions as well as community events.  So it was somewhat unexpected, but not really surprising, when the final speaker at his memorial service, his son Robert Quillian, broke out into the song in which every verse ends, “Minnie had a heart as big as a whale.”

On the last verse, Robert Quillian changed the lyric: “Our daddy had a heart as big as a whale.”

Quillian, the fifth and longest-service president of the College, died on March 4, just a few weeks before his 101st birthday. Many of the comments and remembrances shared at Quillian’s service on Monday revolved around the size of his heart and the love he had for others.

“His love knew no bounds,” said Gil Cobbs, a local civil rights activist, former Lynchburg City Council member, and friend of Quillian’s. “What brought joy to him was creating joy and happiness in others.”

Speakers also talked about Quillian’s leadership of the College, his effectiveness in fundraising for the College and for other charitable causes, his stance for civil rights, his relationship with his wife, Margaret, and his desire for justice and racial equality. Bill Quillian III read a poem he had composed about his father’s life.

The Rev. Curtis Harper, who was a friend of Quillian’s for about the past 10 years, said Quillian epitomized the College’s motto, vita abundantior, a life more abundant.
“The spirit of a life more abundant radiated from that president’s office across the campus, over the Red Brick Wall, through the hills and valleys of our city, among the privileged and unprivileged,” he said. “It radiated from Bill Quillian’s heart throughout most of the 20th century and into the 21st century.”

Even towards the end of his life, when he had already retired from three careers, Quillian remained active in trying to improve the lives of others. Harper recalled Quillian’s role in forming a group to get together and discuss issues related to social justice. Harper recalled an Easter message that Quillian published several years ago encouraging people to honor their Christian beliefs by serving others who are less fortunate.

“He didn’t have any acquaintances,” Quillian's son, Robert, told the group. “If he knew you, you were his friend.”

He added that all who knew him benefited from his friendship, but many who did not know him are blessed by his legacy.

“Whether he was developing one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the country, or whether he was promoting  the arts here in Lynchburg, or spearheading some charitable cause, we are all fortunate and humble beneficiaries of his extraordinary life’s work.”

Make a gift in memory of Dr. William F. Quillian, Jr.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Alumna could win teaching excellence awards

Tracy Earley Proffitt ’04 is in the running for the McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence, a prestigious annual award that recognizes outstanding teachers with prizes of $25,000.

Proffitt, who teaches in the Gifted Opportunities Center at Lynchburg City’s R.S. Payne Elementary School, will find out in April whether she is one of this year’s McGlothlin Awards winners.

Proffitt has been a teacher for most of the 10 years since she graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. She and her husband, also a teacher, spent three years working together in another field but then recognized their calling was in the classroom. “We both realized that teaching is where we want to come back to,” she said.

Her students and their parents are glad that Proffitt came to that realization. “She really knows how to stimulate a young child’s imagination and channel it into learning,” said Mari Ishibashi, a Randolph political science professor whose son, Elliot, is in Proffitt’s class. “She makes learning enjoyable, creative, and challenging for students.”

Proffitt employs a “flipped classroom” approach, in which many of her lectures are recorded for students to watch at home so more class time is spent on application. Her assignments involve hands-on activities and creative ways of thinking about the concepts.

For example, one assignment asked students to design a playground and describe it to demonstrate their understanding of force and motion. Ishibashi said such challenges help her son enjoy learning. “I really like the fact that he feels so excited, not burdened, about the prospect of doing these projects,” she said.

Proffitt gained the courage to teach this way in part thanks to her fourth grade teacher, who had a similar teaching style. Proffitt said that Randolph’s liberal arts education, and especially the teacher education curriculum, taught her about setting and meeting high standards.

“There was no room to be a slacker and not meet the expectations,” she recalled. “That has carried over to my classroom. If I have high expectations, then my students meet them. If they are not capable of meeting them, then I get involved and help them.”

She also learned about the personal touch that helps in teaching. “I had professors who really invested in me, who, outside of class, cared about what was going on. I try to be that for my students, too.”

Randolph junior becomes poetry contest finalist, gets poem published

During its 50-year history, december magazine has published the early works of authors like short story writer Raymond Carver, the novelist Rita Mae Brown, five United States poet laureates, and six Pulitzer Prize winners. Hannah Cohen ’15 is happy to find herself in such good company.

“Filter,” a poem that Cohen wrote for a creative writing class at Randolph College will appear in december magazine later this year. It was one of three poems she submitted for the Jeff Marks Memorial Poetry Prize, for which she was listed as a finalist.

“I sent them out on a whim. I didn’t really expect to hear back,” she said. “I wasn’t really that sad that I didn’t win. I think just having the chance to be published in a recognized magazine is great. It really excited me. It made me feel important.”

Cohen described “Filter” as a poem about “cigarettes, death, love, and art.” It begins with a speaker noticing cigarettes discarded on the side of the highway, moves on to memories of the speaker’s grandmother, references to the Greek myth of Pygmalion and the artist Michelangelo, and returns to the car and images of cigarettes.

Cohen, who transferred to Randolph last year, enjoys exploring the ways in which her favorite subjects—art history, writing, and religion—intertwine. She is majoring in art and English and minoring in religious studies.

She has enjoyed writing for a long time, but became more serious about it in high school. At Randolph, she has benefited from working with professors who helped her sharpen her talent and find motivation to write. “I feel like I got the criticism and revision from my professors that I wouldn't have had if I had gone somewhere else,” she said.

“Hannah’s poems are full of surprising imagery and syntactic energy. She also has a dedication to writing and the life of writing that is rare in undergraduates,” said Laura-Gray Street, the Randolph English professor who taught the class for which Cohen wrote “Filter.”

Street added that it is very significant that Cohen’s poem was accepted by december, considering the other poets who have gotten started there. “That kind of company can exert a strange kind of pressure on a developing writer, of course. But it can also serve as creative stimulus, which I hope and believe it will be for Hannah. I’m very proud of her!”

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Inauguration of Randolph President Bradley W. Bateman announced

Today, we publicly announced several details about the inauguration of Bradley W. Bateman, the 10th president of the College.

One of the highlights of the April 25 – 26 event will be a concert by Mavis Staples, a Grammy Award-winning singer. We also will host a symposium on the importance of liberal arts education.

For more details on the schedule, including instructions for members of the general public who would like to request free tickets for the Mavis Staples concert, read the press release or see the inauguration website.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Randolph College Remembers Dr. William F. Quillian, Jr.

Quillian was the 2010 Commencement speaker
A Lynchburg icon passed away early Tuesday morning, March 4, shortly before his 101st birthday.
William F. Quillian, Jr., the fifth president of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, now Randolph College, and the institution’s longest-serving president, was a long-time supporter of the College, speaking at Commencement in 2010 and publishing Voices from R-MWC, a collection of essays about the College and his leadership. His presidency stretched from 1952 to 1978.

He and his wife, Margaret, came to Lynchburg in 1952 when Quillian began his tenure as president. His leadership brought dramatic chang
e—to the campus and the world surrounding it. During Quillian’s 26-year presidency, he oversaw a major push for capital improvements, racial integration of the student body, the end of sororities, and the launch of the College’s flagship study abroad program, The World in Britain.

The endeared president and father of four was well-loved by alumnae and alumni, who remembered his devotion to students and the liberal arts.

Quillian and his wife, Margaret
Randolph President Bradley W. Bateman said, “You cannot come to Randolph without being impacted in some way by Bill’s leadership. We will forever be grateful for his unwavering support of this institution. And we join with his family in both mourning the passing of this fine man and celebrating the abundant life he lived with passion.”

Information on services for Quillian will be shared as soon as it is made available. 


To read more about Quillian and his commitment and suppport of the College, please see this release.

Make a gift in memory of Dr. William F. Quillian, Jr.