Jolley Bruce Christman ’69, left, was excited to learn that Minor Mickel Shaw ’69, a life-long friend, would receive an Alumnae Achievement Award along with her.
Life-long friends Minor Mickel Shaw ’69 and Jolley Bruce Christman ’69 receive College’s highest alumnae honor, the Alumnae Achievement Award
When Minor Mickel Shaw ’69 stopped dating her high school sweetheart, her best friend Jolley Bruce Christman ’69 was sure the breakup would not last. She wagered they would eventually wed.
“They were so right for each other,” Jolley said recently. “It was a little bit of wishful thinking because I wanted to be friends with both of them my whole life, and it would be easier if they were married.”
A few years later she collected on her bet and gave the money to Minor and Hal as a wedding gift. Today, the marriage and friendship are as strong as ever, and the two women have shared many of life’s important moments together.
One of those times came in September when Randolph College honored Minor and Jolley with Alumnae Achievement Awards for their years of service to their communities.
Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman presented the award. “Minor and Jolley are a real-life example of how the experiences gained at the College strengthen and impact the friendships and bonds formed by our students,” he said.
The friends grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, where they knew many alumnae of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, including Jolley’s mother, Mamie Jolley Bruce ’44. These associations prompted them to choose R-MWC themselves.
Although Minor transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after two years, attending R-MWC had a profound influence on her life. “It was the best of both worlds to have those two years as my foundation in a small liberal arts environment,” she said.
She particularly remembers classes by Philip Thayer, a renowned former history professor.
“Dr. Thayer encouraged you to look at the big picture and then draw your conclusions,” Minor said. “That really continues to influence the way I think today.”
Just after college, Minor began working in the banking industry, which eventually led to many opportunities to volunteer at United Way organizations. Meanwhile, Jolley studied urban education in graduate school. After earning her doctorate, she co-founded Research For Action, a nonprofit that aims to help policy makers educate disadvantaged students.
Jolley served as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees for 10 years, including four years as chair of the Board. She considered her service a tribute to her mother.
“What made me decide to become a trustee was the experience that my mom had at the College,” Jolley said. “I wanted to honor her because the College shaped my mother in a way that made her a really good mother.”
When Jolley first learned she would receive an Alumnae Achievement Award, she was honored to be included among the long list of other incredible women who have received the award. It was not until the next day that she learned that Minor would be recognized as well.
“That,” she said, “just made it that much more special.”