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Commencement

Save the Date for 2018 Commencement - June 2

2017-Story-Image-1Randolph-Macon College celebrated Commencement on May 27, 2017.

This year, R-MC welcomed 300 graduates to the ranks of alumni. Following tradition, graduates marched across the "Red Brick Road," located on the college's historic campus along the Janet Harvey Trivette '78 Alumni Walkway. The name of each graduate will be imprinted on a brick and the walkway, which will eventually contain the names of every graduate dating back to the early 1900s.

Watch a video of the Commencement ceremony.

Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degrees 

R-MC graduates welcomed Daniel H. Weiss, who served as Commencement speaker. Weiss, the president and interim chief executive of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, previously served as president of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and president of Haverford College, in Haverford, Pennsylvania. A leading voice on liberal arts colleges in a changing higher education landscape, Dr. Weiss co-edited Remaking College: Innovation and the Liberal Arts in 2014.

Weiss encouraged graduates to reflect on their good luck, help those in need, and "develop habits that will nourish the human spirit." Weiss stressed that even small gestures can add up and lead to good habits.
"Listening is more important than talking," he said. "Kindness is a choice: Notice people around you, including the neglected." Weiss also encouraged graduates to find their passion.

"Along with love, this will feed your spirit," he said. "Passion is, above all, attitude. As you prepare for the next step of your lives, I encourage you to take what you have learned these past four years and go out in the world with energy and passion, and also with a persistent sense of your own good fortune."

Weiss was presented an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree during the ceremony.

Three additional honorary degrees were presented during the Commencement ceremony:

George Y. Birdsong received the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.
Birdsong, the CEO and General Counsel of Birdsong Corporation, earned his B.A. from Washington & Lee University and his law degree from the University of Virginia. Birdsong has been involved in U.S. peanut industry organizations throughout his career.

The Birdsong family's contributions to R-MC are numerous. Birdsong Hall is named for Thomas H. Birdsong III '49 and the Birdsong Corporation. The Birdsong family and Corporation have supported Birdsong Hall, the Birdsong Peaks of Excellence Center, the Birdsong Townhouses, the Birdsong Field House, Brock Commons, and the new science building, which is currently under construction. In 2015 Birdsong was inducted into the Peanut Hall of Fame.

John W. Kinney received the Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.
Kinney, Senior Vice President and Dean of the School of Theology at Virginia Union University, earned his B.A degree from Marshall University and his M.Div. degree from Virginia Union University. He was awarded an M.Phil. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in New York. Kinney has devoted himself to the pursuit of excellence in theological training and preparation in a career that spans 40 years.

As Dean of the School of Theology at Virginia Union University, Kinney's leadership helped create a Doctor of Ministry program and a Master of Arts in Christian Education program. The school has experienced unparalleled growth in the Master of Divinity program.

John A. Luke Jr. received the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.
Luke, who earned his B.A. from Lawrence University and his M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, began his career with the Procter & Gamble Company, following service as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He currently serves as non-executive chairman of WestRock Company, and formerly as chairman and chief executive officer of MeadWestvaco, a global packaging company.

Luke, the Rector of the Board of Trustees at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a member of the Board of Trustees on the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, is a significant philanthropist, supporting a number of organizations and higher education institutions, including Randolph-Macon College.

Senior Speaker
This year's Senior Speaker, Emily Durando '17, majored in drama and English and minored in art history.

The recipient of a Presidential Scholarship, Durando was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha Forensics Honorary Society. An active member of the R-MC Theatre Arts Department, she was involved in all 14 productions that took place on campus over the past four years. She also worked professionally in regional theatre and completed an internship at Colonial Williamsburg.

As president of the Franklin Debating Society, Durando helped recruit new members. Her oratory skills also contributed to the Society’s two first-place team awards.

Durando is the recipient of many awards, including the Janet Harvey Trivette & W. Proctor Harvey Jr. Endowed Student Award.

Durando told her fellow graduates, "The most amazing thing about Randolph-Macon is the level of dedication that all of the people who are a part of it exhibit. It is the professors, however, whose intense level of dedication to this school and to its students that never ceases to amaze me. Our professors have given their time freely, helped us to secure internships and potential jobs, lent their advice and words of wisdom, and, perhaps most importantly, have never stopped believing in our ability to succeed. Through their kindness and their patience, we are sitting where we are today."

Senior Class Gift
The Senior Class Gift Campaign educates Randolph-Macon College seniors on the importance of philanthropy. By working in tandem with the Randolph-Macon Office of Annual Giving to create a student-driven fundraising campaign, the Senior Class Gift Committee aims to make the seniors’ first giving experience enjoyable and meaningful. The hope is that as a result, the seniors will recognize the importance of their generosity and continue the tradition of giving as alumni.

Each senior was asked to make a donation to the college and the Class of 2017 Gift reflects the collective sum of all their contributions. The Class of 2017 raised a record-breaking total of more than $12,000 from 92 percent of their class.

Senior Success Stories
A Randolph-Macon education prepares graduates for success in their careers and lives. Here are just a few of the many students who are pursuing their dreams.

PJ Costello
David Gibson
Kelsie Grice
Matthew Houle
Katelyn McCay
Amanda Metell
Robert Redenz
Abbey Warren
Paige Weaver
Kristin Patrick