As a member of the Randolph-Macon family, you become part of our two-century history of educating young people to successfully tackle the challenges of an ever-changing world.
RMC’s History of Success
Founded in 1830 by the Methodist Church, the College is the oldest college like it in continuous operation in the United States. It takes its name from politicians of the era, John Randolph of Virginia and Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina. Though neither man was a Methodist, their names were adopted to send a message that students of all denominations were welcome. This tradition of openness flourishes today in the religious and ethnic diversity of our student body.
Originally located in Boydton, Virginia, the college moved to Ashland in 1868 to escape the ravages of the Civil War. The move challenged the college’s spirit and stimulated new growth. A new era of vitality ensued with students raising most of the money for Washington and Franklin Hall, the first major building on the “new” campus. Referred to affectionately as “Wash-Frank,” the building is a national historic landmark and is still in use today.
Randolph-Macon became the founding institution of what became a Randolph-Macon “system,” including three preparatory schools and Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Women’s College). The two colleges and one remaining preparatory school are now separate, independent institutions.
A lot has changed since those early days. The handful of male students who once attended classes has now blossomed into a student body of nearly 1,500 men and women from all across the United States and all over the world. Our beautiful 125-acre campus has developed around Washington and Franklin Hall and now boasts 60+ major buildings. The Latin- and Greek-based curriculum offered in the 1830s that focused on English, history and geography has expanded to include more than 50 areas of study, including an array of pre-professional programs and, in 2022, a graduate program in Physician Assistant Studies.
Elements of our legacy that have endured include our commitment to preparing students for their own extraordinary futures through a rigorous academic program that exposes students to all areas of artistic and scientific inquiry as well as mentoring from caring professors. Like generations of previous RMC graduates, incoming students benefit from small classes taught by professors—never teaching assistants. Our student-faculty ratio is 10 to 1 and our average class size is 16, meaning students can count on being challenged to maximize their potential.
Randolph-Macon, which has had a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for more than 75 years, is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Baccalaureate I, national liberal arts college. The first college in the country to require laboratory work in connection with science courses, Randolph-Macon is the founding institution of Chi Beta Phi, the national science honorary.
Our reputation for extraordinary career preparation began gaining national attention in this century, with numerous top-20 rankings in Princeton Review. Faculty mentorship, paired with the Edge Career Center’s four-year career preparation program, ensures students graduate with both discipline-specific and professional skills. These are enhanced by internship opportunities and connections to a global alumni network. Taken together, they create a competitive advantage that propels Yellow Jackets success when applying for jobs or admission to top graduate schools.
Athletics and competition have always been an integral part of RMC life. In fact, the college still participates in the oldest football rivalry in the south. Every year “the Game” pitting Randolph-Macon against Hampden-Sydney draws hundreds of fans. This commitment to athletics continues with RMC as a proud member of the NCAA Division III and Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The college sponsors 18 NCAA intercollegiate sports, as well as collegiate Equestrian and ESports programs that compete in their respective conferences. Cheer and Dance, and Rugby and more are offered at the club level. Many of our teams are nationally ranked and regularly compete for their division championships. And in 2022, RMC won its first NCAA national championship in men’s basketball!
10 RMC Traditions to look forward to
Nearly 200 years of Yellow Jackets have made memories with some of these special traditions.
True to its traditions of sociability and public service, the College maintains a healthy Greek Life system and provides dozens of student organizations from which to choose. Most students are actively engaged in community service and outreach programs. Collectively, Yellow Jackets have raised thousands of dollars for local and national organizations.
Alumni have a proud history of giving back to RMC so that new students of all financial backgrounds can afford the Randolph-Macon experience. As a result, the college offers numerous financial aid options to students, including scholarships. Notable alumni went on to important careers as CEOs, congressman, professional athletes, musicians and doctors, crediting the broad education and the deep connections they made while at Randolph-Macon College.