10/8/13The Randolph-Macon College community hosted a formal dedication of Brock Commons, a new student center, on October 5, 2013. The ribbon-cutting ceremony, held during Family Weekend, was an opportunity for gratitude and celebration.
Amid the backdrop of a brilliant blue sky, R-MC Chaplain Rev. Darrell L. Headrick gave the convocation, and Alan B. Rashkind ’69, chairman of the R-MC Board of Trustees, welcomed guests to the festivities.
“This great new building invites our students to a place of community,” said Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Grant Azdell to the enthusiastic crowd. “Student life is enriched by the opportunities that Brock Commons provides, and the building has also brought new life to the Brown Fountain Plaza.”
Garrett A. White ’14, president of the Student Government Association, shared his perspective on what Brock Commons means to students.
“Students are drawn to Brock Commons—they come here to grab a cup of coffee or a meal, to visit the Office of Student Life, to do their homework and just hang out,” said White. “This building means more to students than we could ever express. To the Brocks and all donors, we extend our deepest appreciation.”
R-MC President Robert R. Lindgren told guests, “Brock Commons reflects our goal of enriching our students’ quality of life from the day they arrive on campus. This magnificent building combines the beauty and amenities that students seek and even expect as they make their college choices and then live their daily lives as college students. From lounge areas to meeting rooms to theater, café, fire pit and the Campus Store, this extraordinary addition to the Fountain Plaza area is now the new focal point for student life.”
Generous DonorsThe dedication gave the R-MC community the opportunity to thank those who made Brock Commons possible. Construction of the 26,000-square-foot building was made possible through a $5 million gift from Joan and Macon F. Brock Jr. ’64 as well the generous support of the Birdsong family and numerous alumni and friends of the college. Lindgren thanked the Brocks and all those who helped make the building a reality.
“We do not take your generosity for granted, for we recognize that you sacrificed to enhance the educational experience of students, most of whom you will never know,” he said. “You demonstrate your belief in the mission of Randolph-Macon by your philanthropic spirit and this, in turn, raises our aspirations to new heights. We could not have accomplished this beautiful space without your support, and we thank each and every one of you.”
Throughout the years, the Brocks have supported R-MC in many ways. The Brock Sports and Recreation Center, the Brock Residence Hall in Thomas Branch, and renovations to Fox and Haley Halls were all made possible with the help of the Brocks.
“The Brocks have made Randolph-Macon their philanthropic touchstone, and no words can express what their generosity means to the stability and prosperity of this venerable institution,” said Lindgren, who then presented the Brocks with rocking chairs inscribed with their names. The chairs are similar to the rockers that grace the balcony and portico of Brock Commons. Those chairs are the result of the Brocks’ desire to make Brock Commons a place where Yellow Jackets can relax and view the picturesque campus.
Guests broke into applause as Lindgren unveiled a beautiful portrait of the Brocks. The piece was commissioned by Nelson Shanks, a painter, art historian, teacher and collector whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.
“To serve as a reminder that our students are standing on the shoulders of giants, this magnificent portrait of Joan and Macon Brock will adorn Brock Commons so that current and future generations will understand the importance and power that dedication, compassion and love from just a few extraordinary people can make in our lives,” said Lindgren.
Ribbon CuttingThe event was capped off with the ribbon cutting, as the Brocks, their children and grandchildren, plus Lindgren, Rashkind, Azdell and White joined in the ceremony. The dedication concluded with the alma mater, led by the R-MC Concert Choir, which is under the direction of Music Professor Chris Ryder.
About Brock CommonsBrock Commons is situated next to the Frank E. Brown Fountain Plaza, which was constructed in 1969 as a gift from Richmond businessman and philanthropist Frank E. Brown. In summer 2013, the Plaza was updated with beautiful new brickwork. Yellow and black Adirondack chairs are an inviting addition to the area.
The all-brick Brock Commons, designed by Marcellus Wright Cox Architects and built by English Construction, features arched windows, keystones, and stately columns. Designed to complement R-MC’s other buildings, the first floor includes a spacious, two-story atrium and a game room. The second floor serves as the hub for Student Life, providing office space, meeting rooms, a large conference room for the Student Government Association, and staff offices.
Campus StoreYellow Jacket pride is everywhere in the Campus Store, from the large assortment of lemon-and-black clothing and accessories to the artfully arranged textbooks on the second floor. Campus Store Manager Barclay DuPriest, who read a heartfelt poem at the dedication, says the new space is a “long-awaited dream come true.”
SunTrust TheaterThe theater’s comfortable seating and large screen make for an inviting movie-going experience, and the space also serves as a venue for other types of entertainment or lectures. The 100-seat theater is named in recognition of the generous financial support of SunTrust Bank.
Dollar Tree Community RoomLarge windows in The Dollar Tree Community Room offer guests a great view of the campus. The room can accommodate 100 guests and will be used for a variety of purposes. The room is named for Dollar Tree, Inc., which made a significant gift in honor of its founder and Board Chairman, Macon Brock Jr. ’64.
Birdsong CaféThe 93-seat Birdsong Café, already a big hit with students, offers burgers, snacks, sandwiches and other items. Construction of the Café was made possible through the generosity of Constance and Thomas Birdsong ’49 and The Birdsong Corporation.
The Thomas H. Maeder ’66 Fire PitThe Thomas H. Maeder ’66 Fire Pit, located just outside the Birdsong Café, was named in Maeder’s honor by his friends Ann and Buddy Allen ’62. The patio is paved with beautiful bluestone pavers, and the pit is veneered in brick. The natural-gas burners are surrounded by crushed, recycled glass. A dedication of the Fire Pit took place on July 24, 2013 and also served as a celebration of Maeder’s life; he passed away on July 2, 2013.
Greenberry’s CoffeeA favorite on campus and operated by Chartwells, Greenberry’s Coffee offers freshly-ground coffee, lattes, espresso, shakes, and all-natural fruit smoothies.
ArtworkOriginal artwork created by Mitchell Johnson ’86, Duane Keiser ’88, Stacey Redford Salazar ’89, Dr. W. Baxter Perkinson Jr. and Professor Raymond Berry adorns the walls the Brock Commons. Two of Johnson’s pieces were donated in honor of faculty members who greatly influenced him while he was a student at R-MC: Professors John Rabung (computer science) and Raymond Berry (studio art).
LEED CertificationBrock Commons will achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in fall 2013. The building was designed to use as much natural daylight as possible to reduce the need for artificial light during the day, and it includes the latest LED fixtures and efficient HVAC, plus recycled materials and regionally sourced materials.
Cupola and Weather VaneAdorning the top of the Brock Commons cupola is a Yellow-Jacket-inspired weather vane. Constructed of copper and embellished with gold and palladium leafing, it was made by West Coast Weather Vanes, a Santa Cruz, California company. Be sure to look skyward the next time the Yellow Jackets win a football game. The lights in the four-ton cupola change from white to gold when the Jackets score a victory.