Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, a member of the Class of 1914, has touched millions of lives with her work and demonstrates the potential unlocked by a liberal arts education. Her literature won the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes while also breaking down barriers of understanding between Asia and America. Buck’s humanitarian work gave countless children a better life. As we approach the 100th anniversary of her graduation from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Randolph College offers the community several opportunities to learn and reflect on her legacy.
Anchee Min presents "Pearl of China"
November 12, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Wimberly Recital Hall
The celebration begins with a lecture by Anchee Min, who will explain how she discovered Pearl S. Buck and developed a love for her work.
As a middle school student in China in the early 1970s, Min was ordered to denounce Buck as an "American cultural imperialist." She asked for the opportunity to learn about this American her government so derided, but her request was denied.
Finally, Min was given a copy of Buck’s bestseller, The Good Earth, in 1996. She felt an immediate respect and admiration for Buck's portrayal of Chinese peasant life. This experience inspired her to write Pearl of China, a novel about a Chinese child befriended by Buck. The novel often reads like an unabashed fan letter to Buck, painting an idealized portrait of the artist as a patient, empathetic, and strong-willed writer whose love for China and its people never wavered, even when the country's government drove Buck and her family into exile.
The Randolph College Department of English will have a special announcement at this lecture. Book sale and signing will follow. Titles available for sale will be Min’s Pearl of China and Buck’s newly discovered The Eternal Wonder.
Pearls of Wisdom
Randolph’s Behind Closed Doors campus newsletter will feature special facts about Buck through “Pearls of Wisdom.” The campus will learn 20 interesting things – for 20 weeks – about our most notable alumna!
Pearl S. Buck Displays
The Lipscomb Library is assembling several Pearl S. Buck displays for the 2013-2014 academic year, which will rotate as the year goes on. This will include letters from Buck to dear friends, particularly Emma Edmunds White from 1911-1972, original manuscripts of Buck works, including novels, short stories, and plays. Further, we will display artifacts from the 1910-1914 era of the College when Buck would have been in attendance. The displays can be viewed from October 21 through May 18, the Class of 2014’s Commencement day.
In November 2013, the student-published paper, The Sundial, will publish a feature story on the 100th anniversary of Pearl S. Buck’s graduation from the College. The publication will also include a Buck-written piece.
The February 2014 edition of the Bulletin, our alumnae and alumni magazine, will look at Buck’s literary and humanitarian legacy, paying special attention to her place in the College’s history.
In honor of Pearl S. Buck, the Cheatham Dining Hall will feature Chinese cuisine at the Center Island Chef’s Station where guests can watch their dish being created on November 12. The Skeller in the Student Center will feature Bubble Tea on November 11-15. Stop by on your way to class or a meeting to view the flavor options!
East Wind, West Wind Screening
February 6, 2014
East Wind, West Wind follows the extraordinary life of Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), a missionary child who was raised in rural China and developed a deep affection for the Chinese people she lived among. She became one of the most popular American writers of the 20th century, especially for her best-selling novel, The Good Earth. Through her sympathetic eyes, the harsh life of the Chinese peasantry became vivid for westerners. The film interweaves fascinating early footage of both rural and urban China, with interviews with Asian scholars and her contemporaries. Elizabeth Lipscomb, former R-MWC English professor, and Frances Webb ’77, reference librarian, will introduce the film and be available for questions following the screening.
Alumnae and Alumni District Event
The Office of Alumnae and Alumni has organized a District 2 (MD, PA, DE, DC) event on April 5, 2014 to celebrate Pearl S. Buck. The event will include a tour of Pearl Buck’s house at 10 a.m., followed by lunch at noon. For more information about this event please contact the Office of Alumnae and Alumni at 434-947-8102.
Alumnae and Alumni Reunion
At Reunion in May 2014, the Class of 1964 will host a session to discuss Buck’s most recent release, The Eternal Wonder, to celebrate the Commencement speaker who spoke to their class 50 years ago at graduation!
Pearl S. Buck, winner of the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize, is the College's most notable alumna.
She was a champion of civil rights, women's rights, children's rights, and the rights of those with disabilities long before these issues were talked about in public.
She is the author of The Good Earth and numerous other works.