The College’s annual presentation of The Pepper and Stuart Laughon Commitment to Community Award took place on Friday, April 29 in the Dalton Family Room. This year’s winner, Braeden Aycock ’22 (biology), was honored for his significant contributions to enriching community life at Randolph-Macon.
The award was established in 2004 by the late Frank E. “Pepper” Laughon, Jr. ’59 and his wife, Stuart Bost Laughon, and reflects its namesakes’ legacy of championing campus leadership and service. The Laughons were actively involved in and showed tireless support for the RMC community. Pepper served on the Board of Trustees, Student Affairs Committee, Athletic Committee, and Greek Alumni Advisory Board. Likewise, Stuart was committed to increasing opportunities for all Yellow Jackets.
“It is difficult for an individual to rise to the highest level according to this award’s criteria,” said Grant Adzell, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “But when it happens, it is because the individual is extraordinary.”
A student in the Department of Biology’s pre-med program, Aycock is a presidential scholar, a member of the fraternity Phi Kappa Sigma, and belongs to the honor societies Alpha Lambda Delta and Beta Beta Beta. Not only did he complete his emergency medical training certification through RMC, but he also helped teach the current course. He has already secured a summer position with Kings Dominion Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services in Doswell, Virginia. Looking forward, he plans to pursue training as a physician assistant.
Aycock’s extensive volunteer experience includes stints with the Virginia State Park Service, Barron Animal Surgery, CARITAS, St. James the Less Free Clinic, the Richmond Fire Department, and the Central Virginia Food Bank. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2016 and has served as an assistant scoutmaster since 2018.
Adzell praised Aycock’s’ “commitment to community” and quoted his nomiminator, who said that Aycock has made “many contributions to his home and college community” and is “constantly reaching out to provide help to others.” As a fellow student commented, “He has a servant’s heart. He never fails to help.”
“I really appreciate the RMC community for recognizing my commitment to community service. I hope this award stands as a reminder to us all to rededicate ourselves to community service now and in the future. Our communities would not be the warm and inviting places they are without the hard work of so many people,” Aycock said.
Faculty, staff, students, and Student Affairs Committee trustees may nominate a student or student group for the Pepper and Stuart Laughon Commitment to Community Award. The winning group or individual will receive a certificate and monetary prize. If the recipient is a group, the prize is awarded to the group itself. If an individual is the recipient, the prize is awarded to the winner’s selected on-campus student organization. Aycock has selected the RMC chapter of the Green Bandana Project, a student-led organization focused on raising mental health awareness and suicide prevention, to receive this year’s monetary prize.