News Archive

Randolph College Celebrates the Class of 2012

Josiah Bunting tells class a liberal arts education will prepare them for life.

5/13/2012 12:20:10 PM


LYNCHBURG - "Bright sunshine and a blue sky greeted the 91 members of Randolph College's Class of 2012 on Sunday, May 13. The class, which includes two graduate students earning master's degrees, shared the special Mother's Day ceremony in The Mabel K. Whiteside Greek Theatre with a crowd of family, friends, faculty, staff, alumnae, and alumni.

Josiah "Si" Bunting III, a member of the Randolph College Board of Trustees offered the Commencement address. Bunting also serves as president of The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation in New York City and is an adjunct professor at Princeton University. He has served as president of Briarcliff College and Hampden-Sydney College and was the superintendent of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for eight years. An accomplished author, Bunting is a VMI graduate and Vietnam War veteran.

Bunting told the class that their liberal arts education would prepare them well for the profession they would all share in life - citizenship. He encouraged them to embrace that responsibility by opening their minds and listening to others, no matter what their political stance or view. "We must always embrace - you must always embrace - no matter what the cost to yourself, the positions of others and what you can learn from them and receive from the convictions of yourselves," Bunting said. "Always reach across aisles with a spirit of learning and friendship."

Bunting told the seniors they would be liberally educated and liberally self-educated for the rest of their lives. "Always stand up and say exactly what you think," he said. "That is your heritage. Be an original."

Derrick Woods-Morrow '12, president of the senior class, congratulated his classmates on their hard work and perseverance and told them to appreciate the experiences they have received. "Our Randolph College education has taught us to be adventurous, open-minded, and seeking of momentous phases in life that are spurred by vast dreams," he said.

Commitment to education is a powerful thing, he added. "It suggests a commitment to ourselves, and a healthy respect for not only ourselves, but of our peers, family, faculty, and administration who pushed us to reach goals, looking back, we never thought could be possible."

He encouraged the graduates to remain confident as they head into the world. "It's time to take that diploma and use it to be extraordinary people."

During the ceremony, Randolph College President John E. Klein honored outgoing Chair of the Board of Trustees Lucy Williams Hooper '73 with a special Chilhowie brick. Hooper served on the Board for 12 years, including five as chair.

"Lucy has been involved in the College since she graduated and supported our students, faculty, and staff with her financial donations as well as a tremendous amount of her time," Klein said. "She has led the College through its transition to coeducation with unwavering strength, grace, and wisdom. Her leadership and commitment to our students and the liberal arts has served us well, and we will be forever grateful for her service."

Klein congratulated the Class of 2012 for their accomplishments and the impact they have had on the College. "Over the past four years, we have watched you grow, develop, and thrive," Klein said. "We've seen you face challenges head on, discover new talents and passions, and learn to believe in yourself. You have carved your own path, while also preserving the traditions and commitment to learning that have long been the hallmarks of this great institution. You have become leaders in the classroom, on the stage, in the community, on the athletic field, and in every other aspect of campus life.

"Because of you, Randolph College is a better place."

During the Commencement ceremony, Dennis Stevens, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College presented the Maude Huff Fife Award, an annual award given to the student with the highest academic grade point average. Four members of the Class of 2012 shared the honor: Danielle Marie Robinson, Susannah Marie Lukens, Angelina M. Haines, and Joanna Elizabeth Bourque.

Klein closed the ceremony by welcoming the members of the Class of 2012 to the vast network of Randolph-Macon Woman's College and Randolph College alumnae and alumni around the world.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us," Klein said, quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. "You have inside of you everything you need to make your dreams come true. You have the educational foundation, the experiences, and the courage. You have the compassion and the enthusiasm. And you have deep sense of honor and integrity.

"You are a Randolph College graduate," he added. "Thank those people in your life who have made your Randolph education possible. Go out into the world and make it your own. Never stop learning, believing, and living your life to the fullest. And remember to come back, and come back often. Randolph will always be your home."

For photos of the 2012 Commencement ceremony, please see

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations