Our continued work for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

The Racial Equity and Opportunity Commission was created by President Lindgren, and charged with the important work of examining Randolph-Macon’s structures, processes, practices, procedures, and cultures and exploring the College’s history, all with respect to diversity and inclusion.

In fall 2021, the Commission shared its final report with 31 strategic recommendations for the future. 

Members of the Randolph-Macon College Commission for Racial Equity and Opportunity

  • Dr. Yvonne Brandon ’76, Co-Chair
    Retired Superintendent, Educational Consultant; Member, Board of Trustees
  • Dontrese Brown, Co-Chair
    Executive Director, EDGE Career Center
  • Dr. La Toria Tookes, Co-Chair
    Visiting Professor, Computer Science
  • Lionel B. Abrams Sr.
    Housekeeping Manager
  • Dr. Grant Azdell
    Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
  • Preston Bryant
    Senior Vice President McGuire Woods Consulting, LLC; Board of Trustees
  • Dr. Sarah Cribbs
    Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director Honors Program
  • Chiquita DeJesus ’18
    English Teacher, Colonial Beach High School
  • Dr. Larry Enis
    Adjunct Professor, Religious Studies; Community member
  • Dr. Alva Hughes ’81
    Macon and Joan Brock Professor of Psychology
  • Dr. Alphine Jefferson
    Professor of History and Chair, Black Studies Program
  • LaChelle Lewis ’12
    R-MC Alumna and Annual Giving & Donor Relation Manager, Valentine Museum
  • Josh Merkel
    Head Coach, Men’s Basketball
  • Dr. Donald Polaski
    Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
  • Joseph Pullen ’22
    Current student
  • Charleita Richardson ’00
    Executive Director, Florida College Access Network
  • Bella Samper ’21
  • Elizabeth Simmons ’21
    Alumna and Former President, Student Government Association
  • Erin Slater
    Director of Admissions
  • Dr. Evie Terrono
    Professor, Art History
  • Dr. Kathy Walker
    Director of Institutional Research
  • Carter Walton
    Associate Director of Events Management
  • Dr. Kenneth White ’12
    Principal, Highland Springs High School
  • R. Douglas White ’80
    Owner, Gather, Partner Whitestone Partners, Inc.; Board of Trustees
  • Quinn Wilson ’22
    Current student
  • LaNea Winston
    Director of Advising Resource

Commission Charge

In October 2020, President Lindgren announced the formation of the Racial Equity and Opportunity Commision. The following is the announcement, and the charge that was issued to the 26-member group.

Members of the Randolph-Macon Community,

Stunning events reaching back to May and the national anguish and soul-searching that followed, have galvanized Americans everywhere to focus on what we can do to make our country, our cities and states, our neighborhoods, and, importantly, institutions like Randolph-Macon College, more equitable and inclusive. 

Indeed, an important element in the response reminded us that our College is not immune from racial injustice nor from the need to undertake the difficult work to address it.  Testimonials from R-MC alumni have reinforced our need to address this critical issue. 

Therefore, we have committed ourselves to listening, learning, and making necessary changes.  This summer I announced that I would form a Racial Equity and Opportunity Commission and that the College had engaged the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC) for work on a climate survey, focus groups and action recommendations. It is my sincere hope and expectation that we as a College will conduct these discussions with honesty, authenticity and a profound sense of purpose, always with a focus on what we can do – what we can enhance and what barriers we can eradicate – to make Randolph-Macon better.

The overarching goal of the Commission is to identify and help implement improvements to the College to create a more equitable, inclusive, and welcoming environment where all faculty, staff, and student members of the R-MC Community, and specifically those historically underrepresented here, can thrive and fulfill their full potential.  We must commit to this work, not only for our current students, faculty, and staff, but for future generations here as well. 

The 26-member Commission is comprised of a diverse and committed group of students, staff, faculty, alumni and Board of Trustee members, all committed to the betterment of Randolph-Macon. I thank them for their willingness to serve. The Commission’s leadership will consist of three distinguished co-chairs:  Executive Director of our EDGE Career Center, Dontrese Brown; Visiting Professor of Computer Science, Dr. La Toria Tookes; and R-MC Trustee and member of the Board’s Executive Committee, Dr. Yvonne Brandon ’76.

VCIC will very shortly send our instructions regarding a survey to all current R-MC students, faculty and staff, and shortly thereafter, a similar survey to young R-MC alumni, to gather data on the current climate for racial equity and opportunity on our campus.  These surveys will be followed in November by focus groups made up of members of our R-MC Community.  VCIC will then provide summaries from both the survey results and the focused conversations as well as their recommendations derived from them, to the Commission. 

In proceeding, I have asked the Co-Chairs leading the Commission to consider the following actions:

  1. Listen carefully to a broad representation of the RMC Community.
  2. Review and assess the data collected by VCIC through surveys and focus groups involving current students, faculty, staff and recent alumni to be conducted in October and November 2020
  3. Determine which additional information and data sets would better inform the Commission’s deliberations and seek out such information;
  4. Focus on specific College structures, processes, practices, procedures, and cultures which inhibit the full participation and fulfillment of community members, particularly those who are historically underrepresented on our campus; and to, where necessary, identify means of improving:
    Student recruiting and orientation processes; Student retention practices; Student outcomes;The opportunity for all students, and particularly historically underrepresented students, to access the College’s programs of distinction; The diversity of programs and speakers brought to campus; The efficacy of solutions we have in place for students, faculty and staff subject to discriminatory practices or incidents of bias; Faculty and staff hiring and retention practices; Faculty and staff orientation and professional development; The evidence of commitment of Randolph-Macon’s leadership, staff and faculty to making Racial Equity and Opportunity a focused priority on campus;
  5. Examining, through the work of a subcommittee of the Commission, co-chaired by Professor Alphine Jefferson and Board of Trustees member, Preston Bryant ’86, the College’s history, particularly in our Boydton era, as to the manner by which we have recorded, preserved and communicated our past and assess its impact on our current campus climate.

The Commission is also encouraged to review and assess the success of comparable institutions and identify and consider initiatives and practices clearly demonstrated as effective elsewhere.

The Commission is charged to make specific recommendations to me, based on its findings, for sustainable initiatives to improve Randolph-Macon’s campus climate, inclusiveness, equity and student access and opportunity, with measurable methods, outcomes, and timelines, and to identify the resources needed to fulfill the Commission’s recommendations and ambitions. Our collective goal is for Randolph-Macon to thrive long into the future, and our success with this significant and ongoing work will be an important ingredient in that journey.


Robert R. Lindgren

Robert R. Lindgren
Randolph-Macon College
Ashland, Virginia

Ongoing Communications

November 17, 2022

Implementation update

A letter from President Lindgren with an update on the implementation of commission recommendations

November 16, 2021

from the Executive Council

A letter from the Racial Equity and Opportunity Commission Executive Council to the College community

november 16, 2021

recommendations announcement

President’s Lindgren’s memo, announcing the final recommendations of the Racial Equity and Opportunity Commission