Installation Ceremony Celebrates Two Professorships

May 08, 2018


president, professors, trusteeThe Randolph-Macon College community gathered on May 4, 2018 in the McGraw-Page Library for a formal installation ceremony honoring two professorships.

Elizabeth Fisher, Professor of Classics, was named the Shelton H. Short III Professor in the Liberal Arts, and Theodore F. Sheckels Jr., Professor of English and Communication Studies, was named the Charles J. Potts Professor in Social Science.

In attendance were faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees, students, alumni, and friends and family members of Fisher and Sheckels. Alan B. Rashkind, Esq. '69, chair of the R-MC Board of Trustees, welcomed guests.

A Profound Impact
President Robert R. Lindgren said that recognizing distinguished faculty members with endowed professorships is a special occasion in the life of Randolph-Macon College.

"Of all the gifts a college receives, none makes a more profound or more permanent impact than the gift of an endowed professorship," said Lindgren. "It enables us to perpetuate our tradition of excellence for future generations, and it allows us to attract and retain the very best faculty working in higher education today. Our two honorees today certainly exemplify that last characteristic."

Scholarship and Dedication
Provost William T. Franz lauded Fisher before conferring her professorship.

"Professor Fisher has been the field supervisor at the excavations at Iklaina, Greece and Ismenion Hill in Thebes, Greece," said Franz. "She has also been a part of work in Corinth, Crete, Ethiopia, and Hanover County, and she was named a U.S. Fulbright scholar to Aksum University in Ethiopia for the 2015-2016 academic year. It is my pleasure to invest Dr. Elizabeth Fisher as the Shelton H. Short III Professor of Liberal Arts."

Elizabeth Fisher
Fisher, who earned her B.A. from the College of William & Mary, her M.A. from Florida State University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, joined the Randolph-Macon faculty in 1987. She serves as chair of the Department of Classics and oversees the Archaeology program.

In recognition of her achievements as an art historian, she was appointed twice to the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. In 2013 she was the recipient of the Samuel Nelson Gray Distinguished Professor Award at R-MC.

The Shelton H. Short III Professorship in the Liberal Arts
The Shelton H. Short III Professorship in the Liberal Arts was made possible by gifts from the Short Trust. Short was a friend of the college and the son of Shelton H. Short Jr. (Class of 1918).

He earned his bachelor's degree from Hampden-Sydney College and master's degrees from the International People's College in Elsinore, Denmark and the University of Nevada, Reno. Short earned his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Short and his wife, Jean Renner Short, created two scholarships at the college to assist students from Southside Virginia. The Shorts were each honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during R-MC's Commencement in 2000.

The Shelton H. Short III Professorship in the Liberal Arts was previously held by Classics Professor Gregory Daugherty.

An Accomplished Scholar
Franz said, "An accomplished scholar across many fields of study, Professor Sheckels has authored books on political communication, Margaret Atwood, Australian film, South African literature and the art of debating. Ted, your interests are broad, and your pedestal continues to grow, just as you do. It is my pleasure to invest as the fourth Charles J. Potts Professor of Social Science, Dr. Theodore F. Sheckels Jr."

Theodore F. Sheckels Jr.
Sheckels, who earned his B.S. from Duquesne University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University, joined the Randolph-Macon faculty in 1980. He serves as the chair of the Department of Communication Studies. Sheckels held the A.G. Ingram Professorship in English from 2008 to 2011. He was both vice president and president of the Collegiate Forensics Association and the Margaret Atwood Society and has chaired numerous committees for the Eastern Communication Association and the National Communication Association.

Sheckels led R-MC's summer school program for many years, chaired the Committee on the Curriculum and the Film Studies program, and was a director for the Higgins Academic Center. He has for many years directed the college's Franklin Debating Society.

The Charles J. Potts Professorship in Social Science
The Charles J. Potts Professorship in Social Science was established in 1995 by the Board of Trustees to recognize Potts' bequest to R-MC.

Potts attended R-MC for one year before leaving to attend The Pennsylvania State University for his undergraduate degree and the University of Maryland School of Law for his Juris Doctor. At R-MC, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and the Franklin Literary Society. After attending his 50th reunion, he realized how much the year in Ashland had meant to him and he bequeathed half his estate to the college.

The Charles J. Potts Professorship in Social Science was previously held by Professors Howard Davis, Bruce Unger and Elizabeth Gill.