Ashland, VA - Close to 200 seniors crossed the commencement threshold and began
their journeys into adulthood May 28. Cheering them on were hundreds of proud parents,
brothers, sisters and friends – all gathered on the green lawn of Randolph-Macon’s
historic campus to watch the members of the Class of 2005 collect their hard-earned
Frank E. “Pepper” Laughon Jr., a 1959 graduate of R-MC and current
member of the college’s Board of Trustees, gave the ceremony a memorable touch with
his commencement address.
“Now the learning really begins,” he said, noting that the Class of 2005 should
be prepared to accept change in a fast-moving world and to always see through the
darkness to make the right decisions. “The smile on your face is what tells people
you have love in your heart. Life is a precious gift from God and what you do with
it is a gift to God.”
Laughon, also chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Richmond Cold
Storage Inc., has been a member of Randolph-Macon’s Board of Trustees since 1993.
He works closely with the students on campus and has served on the Student Affairs
Committee in multiple capacities, including stints as vice chair and chair. Laughon
also established and is president of Flare Corporation, an international consulting
firm for refrigerated warehousing and distribution. Throughout his career, he has
been a member the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW), where
he served as both a board member and chair. Laughon also is an associate of the
Food Executive International Congress, the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, the
National Frozen Food Association, the Meat Import Council of America, the Virginia
Manufacturers Association and the Richmond and Virginia Chambers of Commerce.
In addition to the Commencement celebrations, three graduates captured the hearts
and attention of the media and local community:
R-MC graduate Michael Makris was featured in the May 29, 2005 issue
Richmond Times-Dispatch. Makris, who graduated with a degree in economics,
is a living testament to the power of perseverance and family ties.
R-MC graduate Eddie Granell was profiled in the May 28, 2005 issue
of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Eddie, who graduated with a degree in English,
is the first in his immediate and extended family to graduate from college, an amazing
opportunity he said he owes to his stepfather, Roy Rivera.
Eddie’s story also was covered by the Herald-Progress.
R-MC graduate Sushma Shrestha’s reunion with her mother and sister,
who secretly flew in from Nepal to see her graduate, was featured in the May 25,
2005 issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. As you’ll read, this homecoming
was made possible through the leadership and compassion of graduating senior Lauren
Phlegar, the Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship and through the generous contributions
of time and funds from many R-MC students, faculty, staff and the greater community.