The 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
“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
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 Bookstore,
this extraordinary addition to the Fountain Plaza area is now the new focal point
for student life.”
The 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
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,”
The 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 Commons
Brock 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.
Yellow 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.”
The 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 Room
Large 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.
The 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 Pit
The 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.
A favorite on campus and operated by Chartwells, Greenberry’s Coffee offers freshly-ground
coffee, lattes, espresso, shakes, and all-natural fruit smoothies.
Original 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).
Brock 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
Cupola and Weather Vane
Adorning 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