Ashland, VA — The largest graduating class in Randolph-Macon College’s history, with almost 280 seniors, will graduate Saturday, May 27 at 10 a.m. on the Jordan Wheat Lambert Historic Campus. In the event of rain, R-MC’s 2006 commencement ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. in the Brock Recreation Center, located at 400 North Center Street.
Human Genome Project Leader Will Deliver Commencement Address
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health and one of the most well-known medical scientists in America, will share his perspectives on setting priorities and realizing one’s full potential with this year’s graduates in his commencement address, “Four Choices for The Rest of Your Life.”
A physician-geneticist, Dr. Collins is nationally renowned for his landmark discoveries of disease genes, as well as his leadership of the Human Genome Project. Considered by many to be the most important scientific undertaking of our era, the Human Genome Project determined the order, or “sequence,” of all 3 billion DNA base pairs in the human genome. From its outset in 1990, the public sequencing effort swiftly deposited all of its data into free databases for use by scientists around the world. Building on the foundation laid by the Humane Genome Project, Dr. Collins now is leading NHGRI’s effort to ensure this new trove of sequence data is translated into powerful tools and thoughtful strategies to advance biological knowledge and improve human health.
Dr. Collins’ own research initiatives have included the development of “positional cloning,” a fundamental approach to identify disease genes in the absence of known functional abnormalities. His laboratory has discovered a number of important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease and most recently, the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a dramatic form of premature aging. In addition to his scientific achievements, Dr. Collins is known for his continuing emphasis on the importance of ethical and legal issues in genetics. He has been a strong advocate for protecting the privacy of genetic information and has served as a national leader in efforts to prohibit gene-based insurance and employment discrimination.
In addition to giving the commencement address, Dr. Collins also will receive an honorary degree.
Two Distinguished Professors and Associate Dean of Students Retiring
Commencement 2006 marks the retirement of Randolph-Macon’s associate dean of students and two longtime faculty members, including previous Dean of Students Ira Andrews. Together, the three have devoted 82 years of service to the college, impacting the lives of hundreds of students, faculty and staff. Those retiring include philosophy professor Joe Beatty , who joined the R-MC faculty in 1983; associate dean of students Mary Anne Pugh, who joined the R-MC staff in 1990; and religious studies professor Ira Andrews , who joined the R-MC faculty in 1963.
Former R-MC President Roger Martin Will be Awarded President Emeritus Status
The 14th president of Randolph-Macon College, Dr. Roger Martin, will be awarded President Emeritus status by the R-MC Board of Trustees during this year’s commencement ceremony. Dr. Martin, who retired from Randolph-Macon Jan. 1, 2006, began his tenure at the college in 1997. During his nine years of service, he helped the college rise in the rankings as one of the top 100 national liberal arts and sciences colleges by U.S. News and World Report. In addition, under Dr. Martin’s direction, the endowment almost doubled, student selectivity increased and freshman-to-sophomore retention grew through innovative strategies designed to enhance student engagement, to include the creation of the college’s unique First Year Experience program. Dr. Martin also toke an aggressive approach to construction on campus. He spearheaded significant renovations to the college’s Old Chapel and to both Blackwell Auditorium and the Cobb Theater, creating the college’s first Center for the Performing Arts, as well as renovations to Thomas Branch, the “Freshman Village” and Crenshaw Gymnasium.
Class of 2006 Supports Senior Gift Tradition
Along with this year’s senior class gift also comes the continuation of a Randolph-Macon College tradition. The Class of 2006 will donate money toward a scholarship that will be put into the Randolph-Macon Scholarship Endowment. This gift will assist R-MC in its ability to provide both merit-based and need-based scholarships to future students for many years to come. The tradition of having a Class Gift Scholarship was started last year by the Class of 2005 and it is the hope of many Randolph-Macon students, faculty and staff that this positive tradition will continue for years to come.
Media planning on covering R-MC Commencement 2006 should contact Anne Marie Lauranzon at 752-7317 or email@example.com.