News Archive

Randolph College President John E. Klein Announces 2013 Retirement

Tenure marked by leadership through a transition to coeducation; building a sustainable financial future; enhancing the academic program; investing in infrastructure and the student experience; and deepening commitment from key constituents.

5/2/2012 8:21:30 AM


LYNCHBURG–Randolph College President John E. Klein announced today that he will retire as the institution’s ninth president at the end of the next academic year.

At his inauguration in October 2008, Klein called upon the Randolph College community to work together to grow enrollment; strengthen faculty and staff; update facilities; and emphasize distinctive academic programs. His presidency has been marked by significant achievements in each of those areas, all while navigating a transition to coeducation and a withering economic environment.

“I made a commitment to guide Randolph College through a successful transition to coeducation and financial sustainability,” said Klein, who will be nearly 68 years old when he retires in June 2013. “In my inaugural address, I mentioned the ancient Roman custom of having an engineer who designed an arch stand under it after the capstone was placed, as a demonstration of faith in its design and construction. Today, the capstone is in place, I am standing beneath the arch, and I am confident that Randolph will continue to build upon what we have accomplished.”

Finding Opportunity in Change

Klein, who was named president on June 13, 2007, arrived on the Randolph College campus just three days before its first coeducational class in August of that year. He brought with him a personal commitment to the liberal arts, a strong financial background, and an understanding of the opportunities and challenges inherent in change–all necessary to guide Randolph College through the critical transition to coeducation. “John’s leadership and care for students have enabled Randolph College to continue this institution’s longtime reputation for academic quality,” said Lucy Williams Hooper ’73, who will finish a five-year term as board chair and a 12-year term as a trustee in June. “He has led our transition and instituted policies and procedures that will ensure academic, financial, and cultural vitality for decades to come, and he has done so in a way that has preserved the unique characteristics of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.”

Building a Sustainable Financial Future

Klein’s financial expertise and vision enabled the College to make difficult but necessary decisions to stabilize its financial condition, ensure careful stewardship of its endowment and resources, and create growth for generations to come. The College adopted a five-year strategic plan in 2011 and has instituted an integrated planning and assessment process that will accelerate its growth to an optimal enrollment level of over 1,000 students. “John's experience in business and at a large university proved very valuable in instilling a culture of financial accountability at Randolph,” said Charles W. Pryor, Jr., trustee and chair of the board’s Finance Committee. “As a result, the College's financial condition has improved and continues to do so.”

Enhanced Academic Program

Klein’s focus on financial stability and investment in new initiatives has resulted in the College introducing the Randolph Innovative Student Experience (a $2,000 grant for research, scholarly or creative pursuits for which all students in their junior or senior year are eligible), a new First-Year Experience program and new majors in Business and Sport and Exercise Studies; attaining reaffirmation of its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS); and garnering national recognition from the nation’s top college ranking organizations, including U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review, Newsweek, and Forbes. The College’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Bridges Not Walls, is a core component of reaccreditation and will provide Randolph College students with a unique level of intercultural competence and readiness that will prepare them to be effective in a complex global environment.

“John came to Randolph College because of his belief in the importance of the liberal arts tradition,” said Peter Dean, trustee and co-chair of the Educational Affairs Committee. “From his first day as president he has emphasized the College's commitment to high academic standards, and during his tenure he has been able to enhance Randolph's strong curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences while offering great value to students and parents.”

Investing in Infrastructure and the Student Experience

Klein instituted a strategic planning and implementation process for enhancing campus facilities. This work was highlighted by a donor-funded $6 million renovation of the Student Center within historic Main Hall (scheduled for completion in December 2012) and the 2009 construction of WildCat Stadium, a state-of-the-art artificial turf field and track facility. During his tenure, the College also renovated the main floor of Lipscomb Library; created Caldwell Commons, a conference facility and site of a new Campus Store on the first floor of West Hall; built a new disc golf course; renovated tennis courts and upgraded the Riding Center facilities; and made landscaping improvements across campus. Many of these new facilities support Randolph’s rich set of co-curricular and extracurricular activities.

A significant part of Klein’s plan to build value for young women and men seeking an academically-rigorous environment in which they could also pursue a passion for sports involved revitalizing the WildCat athletic program. Randolph College has created five new men’s teams and two new women’s teams since 2007 and, true to the Division III mindset, has worked hard to recruit and retain students with both athletic and academic talents. Three WildCat teams have advanced to or won conference championships during the past five years. In 2011, the softball team advanced to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship, the men’s soccer team won the ODAC championship and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament, and the men’s basketball team advanced to the ODAC championship for the second consecutive year.

“An impressive variety of programs with a faculty that challenges our students to achieve academic excellence are key markers for a vibrant, growing college community,” said Donald M. Giles, a trustee and chair of the Enrollment and Student Affairs Committee. “Whether in the classroom, out on the field, or in the community, our students embody the best outcomes of a liberal arts education.”

Deepening Commitment from Key Constituents

Commitment from alumnae and alumni donors has resulted in funding for numerous facilities improvements, student scholarships, and other initiatives at the College during Klein’s tenure. He and his wife, Susan V. Klein, have played a key role in cultivating that commitment by traveling to 65 alumnae and alumni chapter events and many personal meetings with alumnae and alumni donors over the last five years. As the Kleins have shared news about the College’s transition, progress, and future, alumnae and alumni have responded with increased engagement as donors, volunteers, and active proponents of Randolph College. “The personal commitment, energy, and caring John and Susan have brought to the College continue to strengthen and deepen our engagement with many alumnae, alumni, and other constituents,” said Mary Michels Scovanner '77, a trustee and chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee. “Increases in giving, support, and participation have enabled the College to continue to achieve vital goals and enrich the campus experience.”

The Kleins’ close, personal approach to advocating for the College has also been effective in Lynchburg and the Central Virginia region, where they serve on the boards of Amazement Square, the Society of St. Andrew, and the James River Arts Council.

Becky Dunn ’70, who will serve as chair of the Board of Trustees beginning in July, said Randolph College is now positioned to meet its long-term goals. “John has worked 24/7 for the last five years to make the College better in every way,” she said. “He has successfully led Randolph through a difficult period. Thanks to his leadership, commitment, and drive, the future of Randolph College is bright.”

Klein said Randolph will continue to enhance the educational foundation it provides to students.

“When Susan and I first arrived at Randolph College, we were impressed by the intelligence and passion of the College’s students, faculty, staff, and alumnae,” Klein said. “During the past five years, we have attended countless performances, athletic competitions, speakers, symposiums, and other community events that never fail to remind us what a special place this is. Our travels to alumnae/alumni chapters across the nation and our participation in Reunions have allowed us to meet and hear the fond memories of our accomplished and inspiring alumnae. I made a commitment in 2007 to honor our past as Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and to focus on securing the future of Randolph College. Our transition to coeducation is now complete. Due to the efforts of a wonderful staff and faculty, Randolph College has made dramatic strides and improvements, while staying true to its mission of preparing students to engage the world critically and creatively, live and work honorably, and experience life abundantly. I look forward to continuing that work in the coming year.”

| |

CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations