News Archive

Randolph College Community Ushers in New Academic Year

Convocation ceremony honors the College's commitment to the liberal arts

8/31/2011 9:15:35 AM


LYNCHBURG–Randolph College officially ushered in the 2011-12 academic year Tuesday, Aug. 30 with the traditional Convocation ceremony.

Students, faculty, and staff joined together in Smith Hall Theatre to celebrate Randolph’s community and longstanding commitment to the liberal arts. Seniors, clad traditionally in cheerfully decorated robes and funny hats, made their first appearance together of the school year to the cheers of their classmates and professors.

John E. Klein, president, welcomed students and faculty and recounted a long list of College achievements, including a second year of increased enrollment, an increase in alumnae giving participation, and major renovation projects, including the $6 million Student Center renovation.

He also challenged students to make 2011-12 their year.

“We are Randolph College, and together we can make a difference to this institution,” he said. “For 120 years, this College has stood for academic excellence and a commitment to the liberal arts. Just as importantly, this institution has come to stand for its independence of thought, its acceptance of diversity, and its dedication to a strong Honor Code. Our community members are creative, intelligent, talented, energetic, and passionate about their beliefs and interests. The faculty, students, and staff in the audience today are true examples of that.”

He encouraged first-year students to appreciate the opportunity before them. “There is so much you can learn, so much you can grow, so many life-long friends you can make,” he said. “If you ask the seniors in the room, I’m sure they will tell you it goes by quickly. It is unlikely that you will ever have four years again like the ones you spend here. This is your chance to make the most of them.”

The energetic ceremony also included a presentation of the College’s first class banners. Four R-MWC alumnae presented banners to a member of each of the classes currently at Randolph College. These banners, part of a new program, will be present at various events throughout the academic year to signify the participation of the members of each class. They will also be displayed in a place of honor in Main Hall to symbolize the contributions Randolph students make to enrich the community. Each year on Final Friday, seniors will sign their banner, and the banner will remain on campus as a way to celebrate their achievements.

Three faculty members were also honored with special awards. Gerry Sherayko, a history professor, received The Katherine Graves Davidson Award. This award is given annually to the professor who has been outstanding in bringing distinction to the College.

Marjorie Wheeler-Barclay, a history professor, received The Katherine Graves Davidson Scholarship Award, which is given annually to a faculty member for distinguished scholarship or creative activity.

Brad Bullock, a sociology professor, was awarded The Gillie A. Larew Award for Distinguished Teaching. This award is given annually to a member of the faculty who has demonstrated excellence as a classroom teacher.

Two students also received awards. Susie Lukens ’12 was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Book Award for spring 2010.

Madeline Carmain ’13 earned the Phi Beta Kappa Book Award for spring 2011.

Ja’el Daniely ’12, the Student Government president, encouraged her classmates to explore what it means to be Randolph College.

“We all love this school and we all made a choice to be here today,” she said. “A wise friend once told me that we hold the power to use our past to define our future.

“This school was founded as Randolph- Macon Woman’s College in 1891,” she added. “This was a place where women would come from all over the world to receive an education equivalent to that of the top institutions. Now, in 2011, Randolph College is a place where students come from all over the world to compete in outstanding athletics, perform in remarkable artistic endeavors, and most of all, to receive an invaluable education. And in doing so, we live life more abundantly, vita abundantior.”

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations