Randolph–Macon College

Coordinates: 37°45′47″N 77°28′37″W / 37.763°N 77.477°W / 37.763; -77.477
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Randolph–Macon College
MottoBuilding Extraordinary Futures
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1830; 194 years ago (1830)
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Academic affiliations
Endowment$168.3 million (2020)[2]
PresidentRobert Lindgren
Academic staff
112 (93 FT)[3]
Undergraduates1,543 (2020)[4]

37°45′47″N 77°28′37″W / 37.763°N 77.477°W / 37.763; -77.477
CampusSuburban, 116 acres (47 ha)[5]
Colors   Black and lemon
NicknameYellow Jackets
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III

Old Dominion Athletic Conference

Continental Volleyball Conference

Randolph–Macon College is a private liberal arts college in Ashland, Virginia. Founded in 1830, the college has an enrollment of more than 1,500 students. It is the second-oldest Methodist-run college in the country, and the oldest in continuous operation. The college primarily offers bachelor's degrees.


Randolph–Macon was founded in 1830 by Methodists Rev. Hekeziah G. Leigh, Rev. John Early[6] and Staten Islander Gabriel Poillon Disosway. It was originally located in Boydton, near the North Carolina border; but as the railroad link to Boydton was destroyed during the Civil War, the college's trustees decided to relocate the school to Ashland in 1868. The college takes its name from Virginia statesmen John Randolph of Roanoke and North Carolina statesman Nathaniel Macon. (The original site of Randolph–Macon features a historical marker and ruins of the classroom buildings). The original campus became the home of the Boydton Academic and Bible Institute, a Christian school for African Americans which operated from 1878 to 1935.

In 1847, Randolph–Macon College established a relationship with Hampden–Sydney College. The relationship led to the formation of the Randolph–Macon Medical School, which closed in 1851.[7] Its president William A. Smith delivered a set of lectures advocating slavery in 1856 and 1857.[8]

The college has a historical relationship with Randolph College (formerly known as Randolph–Macon Woman's College) in Lynchburg, Virginia. The former women's college was founded under Randolph–Macon's original charter in 1893 by the then-president William Waugh Smith; it was intended as a female counterpart to the then all-male Randolph–Macon. The two schools later separated to become distinct institutions governed by two separate boards. Randolph–Macon College became co-educational in 1971 with the enrollment of 50 women and the first full-time female faculty member. (Randolph College became co-educational in 2007.)

In 1892, two preparatory schools — both called Randolph–Macon Academy — were founded. The only one that remains today is Randolph–Macon Academy in Front Royal, Virginia. Randolph–Macon Academy is today the only co-educational military boarding school in the country affiliated with the United States Air Force Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC). Currently, there are no formal relationships or agreements between Randolph-Macon Academy and Randolph–Macon College aside from the shared names, mascots, and school colors.

Randolph–Macon College became the first college south of the Mason–Dixon line to require physical education coursework for graduation. The old gym, built in 1887, was the first structure in the South to be constructed solely for instruction in physical education.[9] Randolph–Macon is considered to be the first college in the South to offer English as a full discipline and to develop biology as a distinct study.[10] Its computer science department is one of the oldest in the country associated with a liberal arts school; in the 1960s, when the program was established, many academics believed computer science to be more appropriate for a commercial trade or secretarial school than a traditional four-year institution.

Since 1923, the college has been home to the Zeta of Virginia chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation's oldest academic honor society. Chi Beta Phi, the national science honorary society, was founded at Randolph–Macon in 1916.[11]


As of 2021, Randolph–Macon offers two undergraduate degrees: the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. All students must satisfy the general collegiate curriculum, which requires them to take courses in each of the college's "Areas of Knowledge:" civilizations, arts and literature, natural and social sciences, mathematics, foreign languages, and wellness. Its most majors, based on 2021 graduates, were:[12]

Governor Mark Warner speaks to students in a classroom at Randolph Macon
  • Business/Commerce (63)
  • Biology/Biological Sciences (49)
  • Communication (31)
  • Psychology (26)
  • Political Science and Government (18)

The college currently offers bachelor's degrees, though the institution has announced plans to provide a Master of Science in physician's assistant studies with the first cohort of students entering in 2021–2022.[13]

The student-faculty ratio is 12:1.[3]


Randolph–Macon operates on a 4-1-4 academic calendar. This allows for two four-month semesters (fall and spring) with a one-month term in January to split up the semesters. During the January Term (colloquially called "J-Term"), students are afforded the opportunity to take intensive study courses on the Randolph–Macon campus, travel the globe as part of a study-abroad course, or participate in professional internships in their field(s) of study and interest.

Four-year degree guarantee[edit]

In 2011, Randolph–Macon announced a four-year degree guarantee program. The college guarantees that entering freshmen will graduate in four calendar years and, if qualifying students are not able to meet that requirement, then Randolph–Macon College will waive tuition costs for the courses that the student needs to complete their degree.


Randolph–Macon College Buildings
Randolph–Macon College is located in Virginia
Randolph–Macon College
Randolph–Macon College is located in the United States
Randolph–Macon College
LocationRandolph–Macon College campus, Ashland, Virginia
Coordinates37°45′39″N 77°28′47″W / 37.7609°N 77.4797°W / 37.7609; -77.4797
Area4.5 acres (1.8 ha)
ArchitectB.F. Price; William West
Architectural styleGothic, Italianate
NRHP reference No.79003044[14]
VLR No.166-0002
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 19, 1979
Designated VLRApril 17, 1979[15]

Randolph–Macon College has over 60 academic, administrative, athletic, and residential buildings on its campus of 116 acres (0.47 km2) located in the heart of Ashland, Virginia. The oldest building is Washington-Franklin Hall, built in 1872, soon after the college moved to Ashland from Boydton. It was the first brick building in Ashland, and its construction was funded by the students. Renovated in 1987, Washington-Franklin Hall now houses the history department. Pace-Armistead Hall was built in 1876 (renovated 1997) and originally housed the chemistry department. Today, it is home to the studio art department, including the Flippo Art Gallery. The original Duncan Methodist Church was built in 1879 and was renovated to include classrooms and offices for the music and arts departments. All three buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and collectively they make up "Historic Campus."

Copley Science Center is the largest academic building on campus. The biology, chemistry, physics/astrophysics, environmental studies, computer science, and mathematics departments are all located in Copley. Copley Science Center was built as an extension of Smithey Hall, which today houses the psychology department. Just north of Copley is Keeble Observatory, which includes a 12" Cassegrain reflector optical telescope, and two radio telescopes.

Randolph–Macon has one main library: McGraw-Page Library. Formerly, the library was located in Peele Hall, which is now the main administrative building on-campus and includes the Copy Center, Registrar's Office, Human Resources, provost, dean of students, and the president.

There are 12 residence halls on campus. The seven halls on the north end of campus are collectively known as the Freshman Village. About 75% of the college's freshmen live in one of those halls. The four located near the center of campus house upperclassmen and the remaining freshmen. These include the two oldest residence halls – Thomas Branch Hall and Mary Branch Hall. The college also owns most of the fraternity and sorority houses, other houses devoted to special interest groups, and on-campus townhouses (usually reserved for seniors). Andrews Hall, named after former dean of students Rev. Ira Andrews, opened in fall 2011. The newest residence hall, Birdsong Hall, named for Constance and Thomas Birdsong '49, opened in fall 2014. Birdsong Hall provides housing for upperclassmen, including common areas, study rooms, and laundry facilities.

The college announced a $100 million capital campaign in 2011. A large portion of the funds will go toward enhancing facilities, including two new residence halls, new football and baseball fields and stadiums, additions and renovations to the McGraw-Page Library and Copley Science Center, along with the destruction of the Brown Campus Center that was rebuilt into the Brock Commons in 2013.

In 2021, ground was broken on Duke Hall, a new 45,000-square-foot facility which will house team locker rooms, coaches offices, a new press box, and a floor fully dedicated to the Physician Assistant graduate program, scheduled to begin accepting application in the spring of 2022. Projected opening of Duke Hall, located adjacent to the home side of Day Field, is in the autumn of 2022.[16]

The main north–south railroad line for the east coast runs through the campus. Most of the campus is located to the east of the railroad, but a handful of college offices, special interest houses, and athletic fields are located to the west of the tracks. The Ashland train station (not part of the R-MC campus) is directly across from the southern entrance to the campus.


Henry Clay Inn

Randolph–Macon athletic teams are the Yellow Jackets (or more simply, as "The Jackets"). The college is a member of the Division III level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), primarily competing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) since the 1976–77 academic year.

Randolph–Macon competes in 20 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis and volleyball (which was added in 2019); while women's sports include basketball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball; and co-ed sports include dance/cheer and equestrian.

Ashland Station, across from the College

The Hampden–Sydney vs. Randolph–Macon rivalry is a sports rivalry between the Hampden–Sydney College Tigers and the Randolph–Macon College Yellow Jackets. The college football rivalry between the NCAA Division III schools, often known simply as "The Game", dates to 1893 and has been called the oldest small-school rivalry in the Southern United States. The rivalry now crosses all sports, with the men's basketball series in particular gaining national attention.[17][circular reference]

On November 24, 2020, the 1984 football victory over Hampden–Sydney was voted the greatest football game in the history of Randolph–Macon dating back to 1891. In this game, Randolph–Macon's defense forced five turnovers which allowed the explosive and record breaking offense to score 31 points in a 31–10 victory. This allowed Randolph–Macon to advance to the NCAA playoffs for the first time in the school's history finishing the regular season ranked #5 in the NCAA and #1 in the NCAA South Region.[18] During this historic season, Randolph Macon wide receiver Keith Gilliam had an NCAA record of nine consecutive receptions for touchdowns.[19]

On March 19, 2022, Randolph–Macon won its first national title in the school's history as the men's basketball team soundly defeated Elmhurst College, 75–45. The Yellow Jackets set a school record for wins and finished with a 33–1 record, including a 19–0 finish in ODAC conference play.

The college maintains a Hall of Fame of former especially accomplished athletes based upon their past athletic records.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ "NAICU - Membership". Archived from the original on November 9, 2015.
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Randolph-Macon College". Petersons.com. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  4. ^ "Quick Facts about R-MC".
  5. ^ "Randolph-Macon College". U.S. News. 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  6. ^ Hardesty, Roger David (2021). "To Discover a Kinsman in You". Hard Honesty. Retrieved September 19, 2021.
  7. ^ Landmarks Visited Catalog: Randolph-Macon Medical School Archived 2016-03-08 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "William A. Smith (William Andrew), 1802-1870". docsouth.unc.edu.
  9. ^ Young, Virginia E. (2011). Randolf-Macon College (Campus History). Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing. p. 32. ISBN 978-0738587141.
  10. ^ Scanlon, James. Randolph-Macon College: A Southern History, 1825-1967. University Press of Virginia, 1983.
  11. ^ "History of Randolph-Macon College". Archived from the original on August 5, 2012.
  12. ^ "Randolph-Macon College". nces.ed.gov. U.S. Dept of Education. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  13. ^ "Physician Assistant Studies". www.rmc.edu. Retrieved 2021-07-16.
  14. ^ "National Register Information System – (#79003044)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  15. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  16. ^ "R-MC to Break Ground on Duke Hall".
  17. ^ "Hampden–Sydney vs. Randolph–Macon rivalry - Wikipedia". en.m.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2021-04-21.
  18. ^ Shaw, Tom (2020-11-24). "Fans Vote 1984 H-SC Win as Top Game". Randolph-Macon. Retrieved 2021-04-21.
  19. ^ Tom, Shaw. "Keith Gilliam '87". Randolph-Macon. Retrieved 2021-04-21.
  20. ^ "In The Garden of The Beasts" by Erik Larson

External links[edit]