RANDOLPH COLLEGE: AN OVERVIEW
Randolph College was founded as Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (R-MWC) in 1891 by William Waugh Smith, then president of Randolph-Macon College (R-MC) in Ashland, Virginia. After his efforts to enroll women at R-MC failed, Smith searched the state for a place to create “a college where our young women may obtain an education equal to that given in our best colleges for young men and under environments in harmony with the highest ideals of womanhood.”
The institution opened for its first session in Lynchburg on September 14, 1893, with 36 boarding students and 12 professors. Both R-MC and R-MWC were named for John Randolph, who was born in Prince George County, Virginia, and Senator Nathaniel Macon of Warrenton, North Carolina. Both men were widely respected for their political roles in the early 19th century.
R-MWC was founded under the charter of Randolph-Macon College, which was established 61 years before with the encouragement and financial support of the Methodist Church. Although R-MC and R-MWC established separate boards of trustees in 1953, both colleges have maintained their historic ties to the United Methodist Church.
The College received acclaim for its academic strength early in its history. In 1902, R-MWC was the first women’s college to be admitted to the Association of Colleges and Preparatory Schools of the Southern States. And in 1916, R-MWC was the first women’s college south of the Potomac to receive a Phi Beta Kappa charter. It was admitted to the membership in the American Association of University Women in 1919.
During its history, R-MWC stood among other regional single-sex colleges as “the academic” woman’s college. In the 1990s, the College earned distinction for its growing international focus. The Board of Trustees made the decision to change the College name and go coed in September of 2006, following several years of a strategic planning process, research, and deliberation. R-MWC became Randolph College on July 1, 2007, and the first fully coed class began in August of that same year.
Today, the campus has been revitalized, the student body is engaged, and faculty members remain devoted to providing students an individualized, liberal arts education. The College has seen consistent enrollment growth since 2009, as well as improvements in all areas, including alumnae and alumni giving and participation, overall giving, and academic qualifications.
Randolph is consistently recognized by the leading national guidebooks as a quality liberal arts institution. The Princeton Review listed Randolph in The Best 382 Colleges 2018 Edition, naming the College a “Top Fifty Green College” (#16) and including Randolph in its Top 20 list of “Most Accessible Professors.”
Randolph was included in the prestigious Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018 and appeared on several other lists as well: “Best Colleges for the Money” (#6 out of 36 in Virginia, CollegeFactual.com), “Cool Schools” (Sierra Club), the “50 Small Colleges with the Best Professors” (College Values Online), the 30 best liberal arts colleges in the South (BestValuesSchools.com), and Money magazine’s list of best colleges.
With more than 40 student clubs and organizations, Randolph College offers ample opportunity for involvement and leadership. Student leadership is in integral part of campus life, and students are offered opportunities for leadership positions as early as their first year.
The competitive Davenport Leadership Program provides students with an opportunity to learn and build attributes that have long been associated with leaders: self-awareness, communication, critical thinking, self-confidence, initiative, motivation, conflict management, goal setting, teamwork, and problem solving. The program helps students to understand the connections between their academic work, social and co-curricular choices, and their participation in community service.
The College offers 18 NCAA Division III athletic teams in addition to riding. The College’s athletic facilities include a field and track facility and an equestrian center.
Randolph’s graduates enter the workforce or graduate school prepared to succeed. Alumnae and alumni have forged successful careers in a variety of fields including law, medicine, journalism, education, engineering, and science, and the College ranks in the top 15 percent of all colleges and universities nationwide for the percentage of graduates who go on to earn PhDs.
Located in the heart of Virginia, Randolph’s picturesque 100-acre campus in an historic, residential area of Lynchburg features the best of traditional brick buildings and pathways and exciting facilities such as WildCat Stadium and the newly renovated Student Center. One of the more unique aspects of campus is the Mabel K. Whiteside Greek Theatre. Situated in “The Dell,” the Greek theatre was built to offer classics students the opportunity to produce ancient drama in a realistic setting modeled after the theatres of ancient Greece. In addition to these productions, The Dell is the setting for numerous events throughout the year, including Commencement.