History

As a member of the Randolph-Macon family, you become part of our two-century history of educating young people to successfully tackle the challenges of an ever-changing world.

R-MC's History of Success

Founded in 1830 by the Methodist Church, Virginia statesman John Randolph and North Carolina statesman Nathaniel Macon gave their names to the college. Though neither gentleman was a Methodist, their names were adopted to send a message that students of all denominations were welcome. This tradition of openness flourishes today in the religious and ethnic diversity of our student body. Randolph-Macon remains the oldest Methodist-related college in continuous operation in the United States.

Originally located in Boydton, Virginia, the college moved to Ashland in 1868 to escape the ravages of the Civil War. The move challenged the college's spirit and stimulated new growth. A new era of vitality ensued with students raising most of the money for Washington and Franklin Hall, the first major building on the “new” campus. Referred to affectionately as “Wash-Frank,” the building is a national historic landmark and is still in use today.

A lot has changed since those early days. The handful of male students who once attended classes has now blossomed into a student body of more than 1300 men and women from all across the United States and all over the world.  Our beautiful 116-acre campus has developed around Washington and Franklin Hall and now boasts 60 major buildings, with more on the way, including an expanded Copley Science Center. The Latin- and Greek-based curriculum offered in the 1830s that focused on English, history and geography has expanded to include 38 majors, 34 minors and an array of pre-professional programs.

R-MC Today

What remains the same is our commitment to preparing students to build their own extraordinary futures through a rigorous academic program that exposes students to all areas of artistic and scientific inquiry as well as mentoring from caring professors.  Like generations of previous R-MC graduates, incoming students benefit from small classes taught by professors—never teaching assistants.  Our student-faculty ratio is 11 to 1 and our average class size is 16, meaning students can count on being challenged to maximize their potential. 

The Edge at Randolph-Macon, a four-year career preparation program, housed within The Edge Career Center, provides students with professional skills, internship opportunities and connections to a global alumni network.  Combined with an extraordinary liberal arts education, The Edge gives graduates a competitive advantage when applying for jobs or admission to top graduate schools.

Randolph-Macon offers robust undergraduate research, study-abroad, and internship programs. The college's unique January Term gives students the opportunity to concentrate on one course, study abroad and immerse themselves in another culture, or gain valuable career experience through an internship.

Alumni have a proud history of giving back to R-MC so that new students of all financial backgrounds can afford the Randolph-Macon experience.  As a result, the college offers numerous financial aid options to students, including scholarships.

Athletics have always been an integral part of R-MC life.  In fact, the college still participates in the oldest football rivalry in the south. Every year “the game” pitting Randolph-Macon against Hampden-Sydney draws hundreds of fans.  This commitment to athletics continues with R-MC as a proud member of the NCAA Division III and Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The college sponsors 17 intercollegiate sports, and many of our teams are nationally ranked and have won national championships. 

True to its traditions of sociability and public service, the college maintains a healthy Greek Life system and provides dozens of student organizations from which to choose.  Most students are actively engaged in community service and outreach programs. Collectively, Yellow Jackets have raised thousands of dollars for local and national organizations.