Meet Our New President: Bradley W. Bateman

Bradley W. Bateman, president of Randolph College

“I see Randolph as a leader in the national debate about the importance of liberal education in the 21st century.”
– Brad Bateman, president

What about Randolph appealed to you and what attracted you to the College?

Randolph is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. I recognized that 10 years ago when I visited campus as an external reviewer for the economics department. The students at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College received a tremendous education, and that impressed me deeply. After learning of my nomination during the presidential search process, I was attracted to the chance to be involved in building on that legacy.

What are your priorities for the first year of your presidency?

I am looking forward to getting to know everyone who makes Randolph College the great place that it is: the faculty and staff, the students, and the alumnae and alumni. I especially want to work to continue to engage alumnae and alumni in the life of the College. We will be working very hard in my first year to improve enrollment and to build a strong base upon which we can increase total enrollment.

Brad Bateman talks with Ben Foster, assistant dean of students, during a summer staff and faculty social.

Brad Bateman talks with Ben Foster, assistant dean of students, during a summer staff and faculty social.

You are planning to visit many alumnae and alumni chapters over the next year. Why is this important and what do you hope to gain from these visits?

I want to hear stories from our alumnae and now alumni about their lives as students at this wonderful place. I want to know what made their time at the College important and special for them. I want to know how their lives were shaped by the College. We need and want the friendship and support of every alumna and alumnus of the College.

See chapter visit schedule below…

Is there still a need for a liberal arts education? How do you explain that value when talking to parents?

As I am sure our alumnae and alumni would agree, there is no better preparation for being in the world than a liberal education. When I was young, we were told that we would have seven careers in our lifetimes; now we are told that number may rise to as many as a dozen careers for someone graduating from high school today. But the really intriguing thing about this is not how many careers that people are likely to have, but the fact that most of them do not exist yet. In this rapidly changing world, there is no better preparation than learning to think critically, write clearly, and to work with other people to solve problems. It is also true that the world of work becomes more international and more complex every day. A liberal education prepares you very well to see the world from multiple perspectives. In this sense, liberal education is the ultimate “career preparation.”

Brad Bateman meets "Dusty," a recently donated horse, during a visit to the Randolph Riding Center.

Brad Bateman meets “Dusty,” a recently donated horse, during a visit to the Randolph Riding Center.

How do you see Randolph in the future?

I see it as a leader in the national debate about the importance of liberal education in the 21st century. We will increasingly be working to help students discover how a liberal education can help them pursue their passions and interests in the world.

What has been your proudest moment?

My mother played a huge role in helping me to obtain a good education and to shape a meaningful life. She was a brilliant young woman who graduated first in her high school class at age 15 and then went to work as a waitress rather than getting a college education. Thus, it was a special moment in my life when I was able to tell her that I had been selected to be the 10th president of the College. She died 10 days later.

What are your favorite hobbies?

I swim regularly and also practice yoga. I try to do one or the other five or six days a week. I love to read poetry.

Tell us about Leroy Brown.

Leroy Brown is a nine-year-old chocolate poodle who came into my life when Cyndi Lee and I became a couple. He is super friendly, loves all people, and enjoys socializing with other dogs. Cyndi did a great job of raising him! Whenever I get on my yoga mat to practice, he comes and sits on the mat. It’s impossible not to love him.

Favorite TV show

I have never owned a television in my adult life. So I do not see many television shows. If I have a little time, I would always prefer to read some poetry or catch up on my other reading. But I did love cartoons when I was a child, especially the Roadrunner and Tom & Jerry.

Favorite Author

There are so many! Among my favorite poets are Czeslaw Milosz, Wisława Szymborska, Seamus Heaney, and Phillip Levine. Among my favorite novelists are Saul Bellow, Richard Ford, and Jim Harrison.

Do you have a song picked out for Pumpkin Parade?

The Board didn’t mention Pumpkin Parade to me until after I had accepted the job! So far, it is the only thing that really scares me about this new position! Well, the parade doesn’t scare me, but having to sing publicly does!

Which tradition is most appealing and why?

So far, all the traditions are intriguing to me. All of them are important because they help make Randolph a special place, and they connect our College to its past as R-MWC. I am also very interested to find out more about the secret societies.

Presidential Tour

Throughout his first year, Dr. Bateman will travel the country to meet with alumnae and alumni at special chapter events. The schedule below is tentative. For more information, visit www.randolphcollege.edu/alum_events

FALL 2013Lynchburg
Roanoke
Richmond
Atlanta
Chattanooga
Greenville
Columbia
Austin
Dallas
Houston
SPRING 2014Birmingham
Nashville
California
Portland
Seattle
Washington, D.C.
Baltimore
Chicago
New York
Connecticut
Boston
Charlotte
Raleigh
Durham
Chapel Hill
Annapolis
Norfolk
Virginia Beach
SUMMER 2014Highlands, NC
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