Professor Emerita B.J. Seymour, Ph.D.
Randolph-Macon College President Robert R. Lindgren is pleased to announce that
Professor Emerita B.J. Seymour, Ph.D., has received a Doctor of Humanities Degree.
Lindgren and former dean of students and religious study professor, Dr. Ira Andrews
conferred the degree at a private ceremony on Wednesday, May 13, 2009.
“Professor Seymour is a gifted scholar whose legacy at Randolph-Macon College is
unparalleled,” said Lindgren. “She is truly a trailblazer whose life and scholarly
work have inspired generations of students and enriched the lives of countless colleagues
and friends. Professor Seymour’s appointment as the college’s first full-time female
faculty member is a distinction we are proud to celebrate, and her dedication to
Randolph-Macon is beyond compare.”
In 1971, R-MC officially became coeducational and Seymour, who taught religious
studies, became the first full-time female faculty member of the college. She was
also the first woman at R-MC to attain tenure, chair a department and be granted
the rank of full professor.
Seymour played a vital role in the campus community. From 1971-73 she served as
assistant dean of students. From 1975-77 she was the acting chair of the Department
of Religious Studies, and in 1977 she became chair of the department. She was a
member of numerous search committees; a member of the Committee on the Faculty;
a member of the Athletic Council; an academic advisor and a member of the Women’s
Studies Council. In addition, Seymour was very involved with the River Road Baptist
Church in Richmond, Virginia, where she served on the Board of Christian Education
and the Board of Administration.
During her tenure at Randolph-Macon College, Seymour received numerous awards. In
1975, 1984 and 1993 she received the Thomas Branch Award for Excellence in Teaching
from Randolph-Macon College. In 1993 she received the Samuel Nelson Gray Distinguished
Professor Award, given annually to an outstanding member of the R-MC faculty or
administration. In 2003, Seymour received the prestigious Randolph-Macon College
Faculty Service of Appreciation Award and the Exemplary Teaching Award from the
General Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry of the United Methodist Church.
Seymour’s professional association memberships included the American Academy of
Religion, the American Association of University Women, the Virginia Women’s Studies
Association and the Virginia Association of Teachers of Religion, where she served
as vice-president from 1978-79 and president from 1979-81. In addition, Seymour
is the author of many publications, including Feminism Revisited: A Brief Overview
and The Shaping Power of Language: Images of God and Person.
In 2004, R-MC established the annual B.J. Seymour Alumna Award, which honors alumnae
of the college who have consistently worked on behalf of issues important to women
and/or girls, and who demonstrate vitality, integrity and leadership. The award
carries an honorarium.
Seymour earned her bachelor’s degree at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina,
her M.R.E. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, her master’s degree from the
University of Richmond and her Ph.D. at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
She retired in 2003 after 32 years of service to Randolph-Macon College.
Randolph-Macon College’s Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 30,
2009 at 10:00 a.m. at the Frank E. Brown Fountain Plaza.