Randolph-Macon College honors the contributions of retiring faculty with more than 10 years of service to the College with the Bruce M. Unger Award at Commencement each spring.
Professor Bruce M. Unger was a political science professor at RMC for 40 years. Unger planned to retire in 2008, but lost his courageous fight against cancer before his retirement was official.
During Commencement for the Class of 2022, Randolph-Macon will honor two faculty members who are set to retire at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year.
Dr. Theodore F. Sheckels, Charles J. Potts Professor of Social Science and professor of English and communication studies, joined the Randolph-Macon faculty in 1980. Sheckels earned a B.S. from Duquesne University and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The Pennsylvania State University. Sheckels has authored, co-authored, or edited more than 15 books and dozens of journal articles across diverse fields such as literature, film, political communications, and rhetoric. Sheckels, the first chair of the communication studies department, also chaired the College’s Curriculum Committee and served on its Curriculum Review Committee. Sheckels directs RMC’s highly successful debate and forensics program, the Franklin Debating Society, and in 2019, he was awarded the Samuel Nelson Gray Distinguished Professor Award honoring his excellence in the classroom.
Dr. Alphine Jefferson, professor of history, joined Randolph-Macon’s faculty in 2005, having earned his A.B. from the University of Chicago and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. His dedicated leadership of RMC’s Black Studies program led to it becoming a full-fledged major in 2020, and he was particularly involved with helping the College offer meaningful Black History Month programming each February and organizing the area’s Juneteenth celebrations. Jefferson was instrumental in establishing and fostering ties between local historical organizations and the College, leading the Hanover County Black Heritage Society and serving on the boards of numerous historical associations. In 2021, he was awarded the Samuel Nelson Gray Distinguished Professor Award.