Engaging Leaders: Leadership council offers opportunities for alums to reconnect and recommit to the college

Alumnae and alumni gathered in Main Hall for the engagement celebration during Leadership Council in September.

Alumnae and alumni gathered in Main Hall for the engagement celebration during Leadership Council in September.

When Savannah Edwards ’15 began her college search, she would not even consider going to the alma mater of her mother, Lori Vaught ’81. One visit to Randolph College, however, caused Savannah to reconsider and eventually enroll, a move that simultaneously prompted her mother to once again become engaged with the College.

“It was through her relationship with the College that I realized how I had disregarded my relationship with my dear old friend Randolph,” Lori said during Alumnae Leadership Council in September. “I have sought to make amends for my neglect.”

This year’s Leadership Council centered on the group’s goal for the year: increasing engagement of alumnae and alumni. While there are several definitions of the word “engage,” Mary Martin Davis Bowen ’57 emphasized that they all apply to the relationship between alumnae and alumni and the College. “I’m asking you to participate, to be committed to, and to work together for this College that we all love so much,” she said.

During the busy weekend, attendees went to workshops, learned about the College, and explored ways they could help connect more alumnae and alumni with Randolph.

Sending a student, including a legacy student like Lori’s daughter, is just one way alumnae and alumni can become more engaged. Lori suggested that Savannah visit Randolph just to get practice with admissions interviews. But the visit opened the eyes of both mother and daughter.

“The energy on campus was high, the students were friendly, and the faculty was engaging,” Lori said. “She was smitten.”

Mary Martin pointed out that Randolph College has everything people look for in a college: academics, athletics, and social activities.

“This is the school where there’s piano music in Main Hall lobby, where there’s laughter in the halls on weekends, and where students can participate in a complete college life and be loved and accepted,” she said.

Mary Martin said another way alumnae can reach out to friends who are not currently connected to the College is to invite them to attend or host an alumnae event. Financial support is also important, Mary Martin said, adding that all contributions are significant and can bring about positive outcomes. She and many other Council leaders made donations during Leadership Council to show their support.

“It’s not a big check, but it’s a symbol of my commitment and my participation and my working together with the College,” Mary Martin said.

Lori encouraged other Leadership Council participants to strengthen their own commitment to the College and invite others to do the same. “I have renewed my vows to ensure that generations to come will have an opportunity to experience vita abundantior,” she said. “I hope you will join me in my nuptials by reaching out to your fellow classmates and renewing yours.”

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