As introduced by Goode, the bill named the college Henry and Macon, but Nathaniel
Alexander changed it to Randolph Macon, and so styled, the bill ultimately passed
the Senate on February 3, 1830. (Whether a Henry-Macon College would have endured
the reputation of iconoclast Henry L. Mencken a century later lies beyond guessing.)
Patrick Henry was long dead and the name may no longer have carried the old magic.
Since neither Macon nor Randolph was a Methodist (in fact the latter once professed
Muhammadanism and later high-church Anglicanism), their association would help dispel
the notion that the school was to be only a sectarian one.
John Randolph still lived nearby in the area of Farmville and was the only national
figure in Southside Virginia. The other namesake, Nathaniel Macon, had presided
over the U.S. House of Representatives for years and hailed from North Carolina,
a large section of which still belonged to the Virginia Conference. If either man
gave anything to the school other than their names, no record remains.
Reprinted from Professor James Scanlon's Randolph-Macon College: A Southern History