Adam Kelchner (left) with his Bailey Scholars cohort at R-MC
As an R-MC student, Adam Kelchner '09 never slowed down. A Bailey Scholar and a religious studies major with minors in philosophy, musicology, and ethics, Adam completed the honors program and graduated magna cum laude while also keeping up an active life on campus with intramural sports, the campus choir, and three different honor societies.
Learning through serving
While at R-MC Adam also took part in volunteer and service-learning opportunities. He spent his freshman year J-term providing disaster relief in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
“We were gutting homes that had been flooded. It was an intense learning experience, but it was also a tremendous community-building effort, because I and 25 other students were working together, with our professors, in terrible conditions. at all hours of the day and night, for two weeks.”
During his junior year J-term, he completed mission work in Atlanta, followed by a two-week mission trip to Russia; both experiences were supported by the Bailey Program. And during his senior year, Adam interned with the Virginia Annual Conference offices of the United Methodist Church in Richmond.
A career and a calling
Following graduation from R-MC, Adam completed a master’s of divinity at Vanderbilt University Divinity School.
“This was something I knew since I was twelve, that I wanted to go into the ministry,” says Adam. “The reason I came to Randolph-Macon was specifically that I wanted to pursue ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church, and the Bailey Program provided tremendous support for that goal.”
From liberal arts to a life of service
Adam is now the pastor for mission and outreach at Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, where he serves not only his church community but also the students at Belmont University, where he started a campus ministry. And Adam’s R-MC experience continues to support him in his career.
“I work with a very diverse group of people, from college students to a large, intergenerational urban population,” says Adam. “In the ministry I do both at the church and with the students at Belmont University, I often rely on the interdisciplinary training in different fields of knowledge from my liberal arts education. The liberal arts gave me a foundation to draw upon so many areas of human knowledge and experience.”
To keep balance in his busy life, Adam pursues long-distance cycling. “I’ve completed multiple milestones, including 62-mile and 100-mile rides with local riders from Nashville,” he says.
His ministry, however, will take him even further. “In July of this coming year I will be heading to Malawi as part of a mission team,” he says. “Travel to rural communities in developing countries—it’s a significant highlight of my work.”Paving the Way for Success Rather than prepare students for one career, Randolph-Macon College prepares students for a lifetime of careers in an ever-changing world. Exceptional faculty work with students to cultivate their ability to think critically and analytically and to find creative solutions for solving problems. R-MC graduates are well-prepared for successful careers, often far outside of their areas of study. The Randolph-Macon EDGE, the cornerstone of the Center for Personal and Career Development, helps Randolph-Macon students lead the pack when competing for jobs and top graduate schools. Students have the support of faculty, career coaches, alumni and staff as they focus on their personal and academic ambitions. Students may choose to pursue paid or volunteer internships in a wide variety of settings. The Bassett Internship Program has been successfully placing students in academic internships both in the U.S. and around the globe for 30 years. Coordinated with the Center for Personal and Career Development, the program helps students identify their interests and matches them with an appropriate internship opportunity. Randolph-Macon’s alumni provide a strong network of support for students throughout their time at the college or in assisting them after graduation with career direction and opportunities. The college’s Four-Year Degree Guarantee guarantees in writing that freshmen who meet the Four-Year Degree Guarantee requirements will graduate within four calendar years. If not, Randolph-Macon will waive tuition costs for courses needed to complete the degree. Currently, 95 percent of R-MC graduates complete their degree in four years or less—an important value-added benefit for parents to consider when visiting colleges with their students. Study Abroad programs offer students a beyond-the-classroom global perspective and opportunities to immerse themselves in other cultures. Students can choose from a host of travel courses during January Term and semester-abroad programs. The Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program gives students the opportunity to conduct 10 weeks of original research under the guidance of faculty mentors. Many students present their findings at national and international conferences. Read more Alumni Success stories.