Thank you, Alan, for that very kind introduction and especially for being here today,
along with your dad, to participate in this special ceremony.
Good morning! And welcome to this wonderful day in the life of Randolph-Macon College!
I have used the term “Campus Renaissance” several times in the last year to describe
the transformative changes occurring at our historic College: in new construction
in new academic and co-curricular programs, in new sports, and in the launch of
our most ambitious Capital Campaign ever – Building Extraordinary – one that is
well on its way to achieving its goal.
Just look around our beautiful grounds and compare what you see today with the view
just a year ago: a new tennis court complex, a new baseball stadium called Hugh
Stephens Field at Estes Park, renovated Fox and Haley Halls and, of course, and
most dramatically, the magnificent building in which we find ourselves on this special
This majestic structure, Andrews Hall, symbolizes many things:
It represents our commitment to growing the College while simultaneously maintaining
a residential college experience for more students;
It reflects our goal of enriching our students’ quality of life from the day they
move on campus to their graduation day 4 years later;
it is a tangible reflection of our financial stability and forward thinking;
and it is the expression of extraordinary loyalty and generosity on the part of
this College’s dedicated alumni and friends.
But, most important to me and I imagine to you, it is an abiding symbol of the love
and respect, not to mention gratitude, that we collectively share for this building’s
namesake, Ira Andrews.
As all of you well know, Ira’s life and work have centered on unselfish service
to others – especially students. No one who has interacted with Ira over the years
could have possibly come away untouched by the experience of his humanity.
Generations of R-MC graduates consider Ira Andrews their touchstone – the core of
their fondest memories and deepest appreciation of this place.
Moreover, no edifice bearing Ira’s name could be more fitting than that of a residence
hall – a place that directly serves the needs of our students, as Ira did so effectively
throughout his long and rich career.
This building forever links Ira with future generations of Yellow Jackets, and that
is as it should be, for Ira Andrews is larger than life, and he will continue to
loom large on our campus for generations to come.
Now, I am honored to participate in today’s dedication ceremony and to most gratefully
thank the individuals who made this dream a reality.
Inside the lobby, you will find a plaque listing the numerous individuals who made
a gift of $1,000 or more for the privilege of being listed as a “Friend of Ira.”
And indeed, what a great privilege it is to be such a friend.
So, on behalf of the Randolph-Macon community and especially the present and future
students who will benefit from this magnificent building, I thank those many generous
individuals -- those many, many “friends of Ira” -- for their outstanding support.
Finally, and this may well be the most controversial thing I say today… controversial,
not because of its abiding truth, but rather because of the selfless anonymity requested
on this particular day, at this particular ceremony, by the two people I am about
As many of you know, this project would simply, not have been possible without the
extraordinary generosity of two individuals. Two special people who sought first
to do something meaningful and tangible to improve the life of our students – these
two folks live for that in all of their amazing connections with this college –
and two individuals who, next, absolutely insisted as the primary condition of their
remarkable gift, that what they did – and the person whose name would be singularly
honored as a result – would be the man whom we all so love and recognize here today,
In one of the most noble, warm-hearted and extraordinarily gracious acts of generosity
I have ever witnessed, these two individuals have epitomized the spirit of Randolph-Macon
College, and indeed that same spirit of the man they have honored, and that is why
the history of this important ceremony must simply include – despite their protestations
– our heartfelt recognition of them for all they have done and continue to do for
their, and our, beloved R-MC, particularly here and now.
Their good hearts and abidingly generous spirits deserve our praise.
Stuart and Pepper Laughon, please stand and receive our thanks.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the building we dedicate today is one built with gallantry,
that is, the most noble-minded behavior.
It was built through the generosity of the Laughons and all of our other donors,
and by: the genius of the architects; the leadership of a splendid contractor; the
devotion of the talented craftsmen; and the forward vision of my colleagues here
at the College, who have long dreamed of—and planned for—just this building.
You all have created something special here: it is classy, modern, traditional,
comfortable and welcoming – the brightest star yet in our campus renaissance.
I am proud of what you have built, and you should be too.
New generations of talented students will be attracted to and engaged by this great
College starting with the quality of life inherent in this inviting building…and
by the example of the man whose name will be forever linked to it.
Congratulations and a heart-felt thank you to all of you who have this day possible!