Randolph College
Former names
Randolph-Macon Woman's College (1891–2007)
MottoVita Abundantior
Motto in English
Life More Abundant
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1891; 133 years ago (1891)
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Academic affiliations
Endowment$197 million (2022)[1]
PresidentSue Ott Rowlands
Academic staff
Location, ,

37°26′12″N 79°10′18″W / 37.4368°N 79.1718°W / 37.4368; -79.1718
CampusSuburban, historic; 100 acres (40 ha)
Colors   Black & yellow
Sporting affiliations
MascotWanda WildCat

Randolph College is a private liberal arts and sciences college in Lynchburg, Virginia. Founded in 1891 as Randolph-Macon Woman's College, it was renamed on July 1, 2007, when it became coeducational.

The college offers 32 majors; 42 minors; ‘pre-professional’ programs in law, medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering physics, and teaching; and a dual degree program in engineering. Undergraduate degrees offered include the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Fine Arts. Randolph also offers four graduate degrees, the Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Master of Fine Arts in Theatre, and the Master of Arts in Coaching and Sport Leadership.

Randolph College is an NCAA Division III school competing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). The college fields varsity teams in six men's and eight women's sports.

Notable alumnae include author Pearl S. Buck, who won the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize, food and travel author Frances Mayes, former U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln, and CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Randolph is a member of The Annapolis Group of colleges in the United States, the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, and the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.


The college was founded by William Waugh Smith, then-president of Randolph-Macon College, under Randolph-Macon's charter after he failed to convince R-MC to become co-educational. Randolph-Macon Woman's College has historic ties to the United Methodist Church. After many attempts to find a location for Randolph-Macon Woman's College, the city of Lynchburg donated 50 acres[2] for the purpose of establishing a women's college. In 1916, it became the first women's college in the South to earn a Phi Beta Kappa charter.[3] Beginning in 1953, the two colleges were governed by separate boards of trustees.

Main Hall, built in 1891, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[4]

In August 2006, only a few weeks into the academic year, Randolph-Macon Woman's College announced that it would adopt coeducation and change its name. Former Interim president Ginger H. Worden argued in a September 17, 2006 editorial for The Washington Post that,

Today, the college is embarking on a new future, one that will include men. Yet that original mission, that dedication to women's values and education, remains. The fact of the marketplace is that only 3 percent of college-age women say they will consider a women's college. The majority of our own students say they weren't looking for a single-sex college specifically. Most come despite the fact that we are a single-sex college. Our enrollment problems are not going away, and we compete with both coed and single-sex schools. Of the top 10 colleges to which our applicants also apply, seven are coed. Virtually all who transfer from R-MWC do so to a coed school. These market factors affect our financial realities.[5]

The decision to go co-ed was not welcomed by everyone. Alumnae and students organized protests which were covered by local and national media.[6] Many students accused the school of having recruited them under false pretenses, as the administration did not warn new or current students that they were considering admitting men.[7] Lawsuits were filed against the school by both students and alumnae.

It was renamed Randolph College on July 1, 2007, when it became coeducational. The ensuing period of integration was, perhaps unsurprisingly, difficult. The first full-time male students saw their mailboxes and doors vandalized, and were quickly polarized.[citation needed] The last class to have the option to receive diplomas from Randolph-Macon Woman's College graduated on May 16, 2010.

Randolph College is named after John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia. Randolph (1773-1833) was an eccentric planter and politician who, in his will, released hundreds of slaves after his death and once fought a duel with Henry Clay.[8]



Randolph College is primarily an undergraduate institution, offering a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The College also offers several Master's programs: a Master of Arts in Teaching, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre, and a Master of Coaching and Sport Leadership.[12]

In the fall of 2021, Randolph launched a new curriculum model called TAKE2. This model breaks each semester up into seven-week "sessions," during which students take two courses at a time.[13] This is a break from the traditional curricular model where students take four or five courses through an entire semester.

Maier Museum of Art

Main article: Maier Museum of Art

Randolph College's Maier Museum of Art[14] features works by outstanding American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. The college has been collecting American art since 1920 and the Maier now houses a collection of several thousand paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs in the college's permanent collection.

The Maier hosts an active schedule of special exhibitions and education programs throughout the year. Through its programs, internships, museum studies practicums, and class visits, the Maier Museum of Art provides valuable learning opportunities for Randolph students and the community at large.

In 2007, there was some controversy when Randolph College announced that it would sell four paintings from its collection.[15]


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The rivalry between 'odd' and 'even' graduating classes is the lynchpin of many traditions at Randolph College. The groups are distinguished based on whether their graduation year is an odd or even number, hence the names. As students spend four years earning their undergraduate degrees at Randolph, there are always two odd 'sister-classes' and two even 'sister-classes'. These groups participate in certain celebratory events together depending on the year.

Special programs

Randolph College Abroad: The World in Britain

Since 1968, the college has hosted a study abroad program at the University of Reading, England. Each year as many as 35 students are selected for the program. Commonly taken during the junior year, students may choose to enroll for the full academic year or for the fall or spring semester only. Students live in one of three Randolph-owned houses across the street from the University of Reading campus, and travel as a class to various cities and destinations in England.[16]

In 2018, the Randolph College Board of Trustees made the decision to end The World in Britain program after the ensuing academic year. This decision is believed to relate to a recent uptick in tuition costs from the University of Reading, itself, making the program financially unviable. Many students and alums of the program were saddened by this news, as they considered it to be a critical component of their educational experience.

The American Culture program

A minor in American Culture offers Randolph College students the opportunity to study American society and culture by drawing upon resources, techniques, and approaches from a variety of disciplines. The American Culture program also accepts visiting students from other American colleges and universities for a one-semester intensive study of a particular theme or region, including literature, art, history, and travel components.

Notable people



Name Known for Relationship to college
Pearl S. Buck First woman from the United States to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938 for "the body of her work". Her most famous work, The Good Earth won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize.[17] class of 1914
Helen Claire Actress on Broadway and in old-time radio[18]
Dorothy (Park) Clark Author of historical novels, mainly under the pen name Clark McMeekin ca. 1917
Candy Crowley CNN senior political correspondent whose career includes two awards for outstanding journalism, from the National Press Foundation and the Associated Press. class of 1970
Odilia Dank Republican member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1994 to 2006; first woman to chair the House Education Committee; school counselor by occupation; native of Cleveland, Ohio[19][20] class of 1960
Sara Driver Independent filmmaker, director of You Are Not I (1981), Sleepwalk (1986), and When Pigs Fly (1993); producer of two early Jim Jarmusch films, Permanent Vacation and Stranger Than Paradise. class of 1977
Daisy Hurst Floyd Dean of the Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University, 2004 until 2010 attended 1973 until 1975
E. Lee Hennessee[21] Hedge fund pioneer and philanthropist. Campaign Finance chair for Elizabeth Dole.
Lucy Somerville Howorth[22] American lawyer, feminist and politician. class of 1916
Frank M. Hull Current judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. class of 1970
Missy Irvin Republican member of the Arkansas State Senate from Mountain View since 2011 class of 1993
Iris Kelso Influential newspaper journalist and television commentator in New Orleans, Louisiana; won a Peabody Award for her television reports class of 1948
Blanche Lincoln Democratic U.S. Senator from Arkansas from 1999 to 2011. She has previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Arkansas's 1st congressional district. At the age of 38, Lincoln was the youngest woman to be elected to the Senate, in 1998. class of 1982
Kakenya Ntaiya Founder of Kakenya Center for Excellence, a school for girls in Kenya, and women's education and health activist. class of 2004
Suzanne Patrick US Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Industrial Policy class of 1977
Anne McCarty Braden Social-justice activist, civil rights leader. class of 1946
Emily Squires One of the twelve directors of Sesame Street. She won 6 Daytime Emmys. class of 1961
Anne Wilkes Tucker Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; photography curator; (named "America's Best Curator" by Time, in 2001) class of 1967
Susan Webber Wright US district court judge in Little Rock, Arkansas. She presided over Paula Jones's sexual harassment lawsuit against former President Bill Clinton. She was also involved with the investigation of the Whitewater Scandal with Kenneth Starr. class of 1970


  1. ^ "Randolph College, Full Filing - Nonprofit Explorer". 9 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Randolph-Macon Woman's College". The Independent. Jul 6, 1914. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  3. ^ "Randolph College History and Legacy".
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  5. ^ Worden, Virginia (2006-09-17). "Why We Had No Choice but to Go Coed". washingtonpost.edu. Retrieved 2006-10-20.
  6. ^ "Women's colleges". New York Times. September 21, 2006.
  7. ^ "Students at women's college outraged about coed plans". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. September 10, 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2014 – via Google News Archive Search.
  8. ^ "Who Was John Randolph?". The American Conservative. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Dr. Bradley W. Bateman Announced as Randolph's 10th President". Randolph College. Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  10. ^ "The Bill Quillian Celebration". www.vlas.org. Archived from the original on May 21, 2008.
  11. ^ "A Trip Through Time" (PDF). Randolph. 7 (2): 2–3. April 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-03-01. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Academic Programs - Academics at Randolph College". www.randolphcollege.edu. Retrieved 2023-03-13.
  13. ^ "TAKE2". www.randolphcollege.edu. Retrieved 2023-03-13.
  14. ^ "Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College". Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  15. ^ "Randolph College to Auction Four Paintings". Randolph College. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2 October 2007.
  16. ^ "Randolph College". Randolph College Abroad: The World in Britain. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  17. ^ "The Pearl S. Buck Collections". Lipscomb Library. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  18. ^ "Helen Claire Back North". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. November 19, 1939. p. 31. Retrieved February 27, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  19. ^ "Odilia Dank". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  20. ^ "Odilia Dank". votesmart.org. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  21. ^ "WEDDINGS; Lee Hennessee, Charles Gradante". The New York Times. November 1, 1992.
  22. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (1997-09-02). "Lucy S. Howorth, 102, Dies; Lawyer, Politician, Suffragist". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-11-28.(subscription required)