Professor Hal Breitenberg, Ph.D.
Professor Joe Mattys, M.F.A.
Professor Thomas Porter, Ph.D.
Professor Anne Throckmorton
President Lindgren and Brent Hoard, Webmaster
(l. to r.) Professors Breitenberg and Mattys, President Lindgren, Professors Porter
Randolph-Macon College held its annual Honors Convocation Ceremony on Friday, May
15, 2009 in Blackwell Auditorium, Center for the Performing Arts. Dozens of students
were presented awards for their academic and co-curricular achievements and contributions
to the college. Additionally, several faculty and staff members were recognized
for their dedication to the college.
The Thomas Branch Award, presented by Provost William Johnston
Recipients: Dr. Thomas Porter Professor; Professor Anne Throckmorton
This award was established by the college in 1969 to recognize excellence in teaching.
The college received a grant of $25,000 from the Cabell Foundation as a memorial
to Thomas Branch, a member of the Board of the College in 1859. The income from
this gift is to be used for the purpose of supplementing the salary of a faculty
member in the hope of attracting and retaining faculty of distinguished ability
and integrity. The Committee on the Faculty recommended that annual awards be granted
by vote of a select panel of students; these are student members of Phi Beta Kappa,
Omicron Delta Kappa and the Honors Program.
Dr. Thomas Porter (professor of history) joined the faculty at
Randolph-Macon College in 1974. He earned a B.A. in European history from Northern
Illinois University, a M.A. in British history from Northern Illinois University
and a Ph.D. in history (Nineteenth Century Britain, Modern China, Modern Europe)
from Northern Illinois University.
Porter, the chair of the Department of History, has received numerous awards during
his tenure at R-MC, including three Walter W. Craigie Grants (1993, 1995 and 1999);
a Mednick Memorial Fellowship; a State Council on Higher Education in Virginia Funds
for Excellence Grant, a Rashkind Endowment Grant for sabbatical research; a Fulbright
Summer Seminar Abroad grant; the 1985 Samuel Nelson Gray Distinguished Professor
Award and the United Methodist Church Exemplary Teaching Award in 2000.
“Professor Porter is a leader—his service and dedication as history department chair
has long been recognized for the outstanding contributions he has made to the college—in
thinking about the curriculum, in developing and mentoring young faculty members
and in working in committee and administrative roles to benefit the faculty and
students at Randolph-Macon,” said Johnston.
Professor Anne Throckmorton (visiting instructor of history) joined
the faculty at Randolph-Macon College in 2008. Throckmorton earned a B.A. in communications
and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia, a M.A. in mass communication
from Emerson College and a M.A. in history from the University of Virginia. She
is currently a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Virginia.
“Professor Throckmorton is a great citizen who has quickly established a positive
rapport and reputation with our students,” said Johnston. “She is enthusiastic in
the classroom, interested in providing a supportive and engaging atmosphere and
producing positive engagement that is infectious to all of our students.”
The Samuel Nelson Gray Distinguished Professor Award, presented by President Robert
Recipient: Professor Joe Mattys
This award was established by Mrs. Virginia Clark Gray in memory of her husband,
an alumnus and former trustee of Randolph-Macon College. Although called the Distinguished
Professor Award, this prize was established to honor the faculty member or senior
administrator selected by the President as the person who has made a distinguished
contribution to the College.
Professor Joe Mattys, (professor of theatre) joined the faculty
at Randolph-Macon in 1990. He earned a B.A. from Colorado College, a M.A. from Illinois
State University and a M.F.A. from the University of Virginia. Mattys currently
serves as chair of the Department of Arts and has directed dozens of theatre productions
“During his impressive career at R-MC, Professor Mattys has created a drama major
where none existed before and been involved, in one capacity or another, in a multitude
of productions, helping the theater department flourish, generating a positive image
of the College and entertaining us in the process,” said Lindgren. “He has been
the inspiration and role model for both budding thespians and for students who simply
enjoy drama as a creative outlet or extra-curricular activity.”
The United Methodist Church Exemplary Teacher Award, presented by President Robert
Recipient: Dr. Hal Breitenberg Jr.
The Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church, jointly
with the College, recognizes the professor who exemplifies teaching excellence,
civility, concern for students and colleagues, commitment to value-centered education,
and service to students, the institution, the community or church.
Dr. Hal Breitenberg Jr. (assistant professor of religious studies)
joined the faculty at Randolph-Macon College in 2005. He earned his B.A. in religion
and music from the College of William and Mary, his M.M. in music composition from
the Catholic University of America, his M.Div. from the Union Theological Seminary
in Virginia and his Ph.D. from the Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian
School of Christian Education. In 2008, Breitenberg was awarded the Thomas Branch
Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as the Walter Williams Craigie Teaching
“Professor Breitenberg is a dedicated and effective teacher who, in his quiet way,
has helped to perpetuate the quality and value of the department that he chairs,”
said Lindgren. “He is a master teacher, scholar, mentor, valued colleague and quiet
leader of one of our most historic and valued departments.”
Marilyn J. Gibbs Dedicated Service Award, presented by John Conkright, executive
assistant to the president
Recipient: Brent Hoard, R-MC Webmaster
New this year, this award was created by a generous gift from former Dean of Admissions
and Financial Aid, Dr. Steven Nape and his wife Diane. This award will be given
annually to a member of the Randolph-Macon College staff for outstanding service
to and support of the mission of the college. The award is named in honor of Dr.
Marilyn J. Gibbs, whose 18 years of dedicated service to the college as assistant
professor of sociology and then registrar exemplified the highest ideals embodied
in the college’s mission.
Brent Hoard joined the staff at Randolph-Macon College in October
2004, after working for the college as a contractor. Hoard earned a B.S. degree
in technical communication from Mercer University’s School of Engineering in Macon,
As Webmaster at Randolph-Macon, Brent is responsible for the management and upkeep
of the R-MC Web site, which was completely restructured and redesigned in December
of 2007 and subsequently launched in a dynamic Web content management system. Hoard
says that he values the interaction with R-MC students, faculty and staff that his
job provides, and he enjoys assisting all organizations, offices and departments
with improving and expanding their Web sites and Web communication efforts. Additionally,
Hoard mentors a staff of knowledgeable student Web assistants—a function of his
job that he values greatly—assisting these students in the acquisition of practical
work experience and knowledge that often leads them into careers within the field
of Web development.
“Brent Hoard is held in high regard for possessing an outstanding set of skills,”
said Conkright. “The demand for his services and assistance is heavy, yet even in
the midst of the most intense and challenging times, one is always assured to be
treated fairly and with respect and kindness. Brent’s gentle and calm demeanor makes
him approachable and just as important, an excellent teacher and mentor to our students.”