Professor Emerita B.J. Seymour, Ph.D.
Randolph-Macon College mourns the loss of beloved Professor Emerita Betty Jean “B.J.”
Seymour who passed away on June 6, 2010 after a lengthy illness.
“This is a sad day for the Randolph-Macon family,” said R-MC President Robert R.
Lindgren. “Professor Seymour was truly a trailblazer whose life and scholarly work
have inspired generations of students and enriched the lives of countless colleagues
and friends. It is obvious that she was loved and has left an indelible mark in
the hearts of all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”
In her 32 years with Randolph-Macon College, B.J. Seymour forged new ground. In
1971, the college officially became coeducational with the enrollment of 50 women.
Seymour, who taught religious studies, joined the faculty in 1971 as the first full-time
female faculty member. She was also the first woman to attain tenure, chair a department
and be granted the rank of full professor.
Seymour served as the assistant dean of students from 1971-73, working primarily
with the first female students admitted to the college. She also 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 Certificate of Appreciation from the Society of Alumni and
the Exemplary Teaching Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Campus
Ministry of the United Methodist Church.
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 played a vital role in the campus community. From 1975-77, she was the acting
chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and served as chair of that department
from 1977 until her retirement in 2003. 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 2009, Seymour was awarded
an honorary degree from Randolph-Macon.
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.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Randolph-Macon College
for the new Residence Hall, attention: Laura Doherty, Director of Development, Randolph-Macon
College, P.O. Box 5005, Ashland, VA 23005 or visit