James Robinson '11: "Small class sizes and the opportunity for personal interaction
with professors are what drew me to Randolph-Macon."
In April 2009, Robinson had the opportunity to meet with Julian Bond during a Q
& A session for students.
“I owe a lot of my success to the R-MC professors who helped me through the first
few weeks of college,” says James Robinson ’11. That’s when I really
fell in love with R-MC.”
A Close Look at R-MC
Robinson, a native of Scaggsville, Maryland, is an international studies major who
enrolled at R-MC with college credit earned through the U.S. Marine Corps. His return
to academics was a bit angst-producing. “After four years of being out of the classroom
I wasn’t sure how well I would adjust to college life and I wanted to be at a school
where I knew I could get help if I needed it,” he says. “Two of my very good friends
from home, Paul Johnsen ’08 and Tyler Watkins ’08, graduated from R-MC the year
that I left the Marine Corps. The passion they expressed about their time at R-MC
compelled me to take a close look at Randolph-Macon. Also, my father is a graduate
of Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Virginia.”
For most young people, writing a college admissions essay can be a bit daunting.
Robinson wrote his essay while he was serving in the Marines. “I was on active duty
for four years, during which time I lived in San Diego,” he explains. “I deployed
twice to Fallujah, Iraq and ended my service at the rank of Sergeant. I actually
wrote my admissions essay for R-MC while I was still in Fallujah. I wasn’t scheduled
to be discharged from the Marines until September 18th, 2008—three weeks into R-MC’s
fall semester—so I saved up my leave days in order to begin classes on time.”
College Life 101
Those first few weeks were challenging for Robinson, who wasn’t sure if he was up
to the task of college life. “Even though I had been through quite a few difficult
situations, I was still somewhat intimidated at the thought of being a freshman
in college,” he says. “My biggest fear was that I was going to fall behind the rest
of the class academically since I had been out of school for so long. Those fears
subsided after a few weeks, when I discovered I had not become ‘stupid’ while in
Robinson credits the conscientiousness of R-MC’s faculty for helping him settle
into college life. “I don’t think there are many other schools where professors
will go out of their way to help you through the hazards of your freshman year.
It was such a relief knowing that I could get in touch with Dr. Huff or Dr. Giemza
when I had a question about an assignment or needed advice. In fact, it was so easy
to develop relationships with professors that in the second month of school, when
I needed letters of recommendation for a scholarship, it was not a problem for me
to ask Drs. Huff and Giemza for their help.”
At Home at R-MC
These days, Robinson feels right at home at R-MC. He is a brother and officer of
the Kappa Alpha Order, where he serves as the head of recruitment and public relations.
This semester he began working at the Higgins Academic Center as a peer mentor,
and he is also a member of the Washington Literary Society. Robinson is the recipient
of the Ira M. Lechner Public Service Scholarship, which was established in 1988
by Ira M. Lechner ’55 to provide a full-tuition scholarship for students interested
in pursuing careers in public service following graduation.
Robinson won 2nd place in the social sciences category of the 2009 Randolph-Macon
College writing contest for his paper, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and
Domestic Violence Among Veterans. He was also received the New Greek Member
of the Year Award, and he has been named to the dean’s list for all semesters. As
for his post-R-MC plans, Robinson is considering a few options. “Although I still
have some time to decide, I am starting to think seriously about moving on to law
school after graduation,” he says.
Thinking Outside of the Classroom
In January 2010, Robinson traveled to Europe in conjunction with Professor Tom Badey’s
Major Governments of Western Europe class. “Small class sizes and the opportunity
for personal interaction with professors are what drew me to Randolph-Macon," says
Robinson, "and being able to travel and learn at the same time was incredibly exciting
To read more Student Experience stories, click here.
For information on R-MC’s international studies program, visit
For information on R-MC’s Higgins Academic Center, visit
For information on R-MC’s January Term travel program, visit http://www.rmc.edu/Academics/study-abroad/jterm/J-term%202010.aspx
For information on R-MC’s Washington Literary Society, visit
For more information about the breadth of programs and opportunities available at
Randolph-Macon or to schedule a campus visit, contact our Admissions Office at (800)
888-1762 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.