Brock Hall

Cause for Celebration: R-MC Dedicates New Science Building

Dedication Randolph-Macon College held a dedication ceremony for its new, $17.5 million science building—named Macon F. Brock, Jr. Hall—on June 23, 2017. The dedication brought together donors, students, alumni, staff, faculty, and community members. Alan B. Rashkind '69, chairman of the R-MC Board of Trustees, welcomed guests.

President Robert R. Lindgren thanked all those who made the new building possible.

"We do not take your generosity for granted, for we recognize that you sacrificed to enhance the educational experience of students, most of whom you will never know," he said. "Future generations of R-MC students and faculty will be standing on your very shoulders. Brock Hall reflects the very best of the college. It exemplifies the intersection of personalized, educational excellence with the inspiring promise and limitless potential of educational exploration for decades to come."

An Amazing Accomplishment 
Lindgren reminded the crowd that six years have passed since R-MC kicked off its Building Extraordinary capital campaign.

"And our extraordinary campaign chair, Macon Brock, set the stage for what was to follow when he said, 'There is just so much at stake and so much to be done. This really is the time to step up and make a commitment,'" said Lindgren. "And with those words, Macon literally galvanized us. His leadership and example motivated us to meet our goal, not once, but twice, raising over $125 million in the process. So many of our campaign trailblazers are in our audience today, and they are joined by over 12,000 others who made almost 34,000 campaign gifts in the past six years. What this amazing accomplishment says about you, and about this college, is profound. And I thank you."

R-MC Provost William T. Franz told guests, "We stand before a beautiful structure that will inspire our faculty and students for decades to come." Franz, a professor of physics, continued, "The wonder of science, the elegance of science, the mystery of science. This is what we have to look forward to in our new Brock Hall. To every person who contributed financially, to everyone who dreamed big dreams, to everyone who drew plans, to everyone whose muscles and sweat built this structure, to everyone who contributed in any way, on behalf of a grateful faculty, I say, thank you, thank you, thank you.”

More Learning by Doing 
PJ Patel '19 represented the R-MC student body in his remarks.

Patel, a recipient of a summer stipend through the Jan M. Carter, MD '78 Medical Internship Program and a scholarship through the Dr. & Mrs. Marshall & Alice McCabe Pre-Med Endowed Scholarship, told the crowd that he chose R-MC with the purpose of studying science to one day become a doctor.

"For students like me, the addition of new teaching labs means more learning through doing," said Patel of the new building. "A science education is incomplete without lab involvement. Teaching labs are where knowledge is tested, understanding is enhanced, and curiosity aroused. For those of you who have demonstrated your bestowing nature upon us, the students of R-MC, I, on behalf of the entire student body, thank you. Your generosity is an inspiration for generations of students to come."

Blessed with Success 
Macon F. Brock, Jr. '64, the building's namesake, shared with guests his thoughts on the significance of the new building.

"We are so very pleased to see this new science building completed for the coming fall class," said Brock. "It will further advance the goal of the college to attract the best and most capable students to our campus. It will enhance the teaching environment for our terrific faculty and give our students even more career opportunities, along with a solid liberal arts experience." Brock continued, "I have been blessed with success that started here. Joan and I are happy to help this college continue to grow and mature. Hats off to all who made this science building a reality, and who want to make a difference. Thank you."

A ribbon cutting followed Brock's comments, and guests were invited to tour Macon F. Brock, Jr. Hall.

Strong Commitment to the Sciences 
The 30,000-square-foot building, which adjoins the northwest side of Copley Science Center and houses the Departments of BiologyEnvironmental Studies/Geology, and Chemistry, reflects R-MC's strong commitment to the sciences. The building includes state-of-the-art research laboratories; innovative teaching laboratories; faculty offices; and conference rooms for mentoring students.

Energy- and water-saving technologies were incorporated into the construction, along with recycled and renewable materials in anticipation that the building will achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Additionally, solar panels were added to the top of the building , which power 15 percent of the building's electricity needs. A cupola, one of R-MC's trademark architectural features, adorns the top of the new facility.

A new Keeble Observatory was completed as well and is connected by a walkway from the second floor of the northeast side of Copley Science Center. Included in the Observatory is a Ritchey-Chretien telescope, made by APM-Telescopes, a German company. The Observatory is handicap accessible.

Generous Donors 
Joan and Macon F. Brock, Jr. '64 generously made an extraordinary lead gift for the construction of the new science building. They are long-standing leaders in philanthropy at Randolph-Macon College. They have generously given their time, support and leadership to a number of other major projects including Brock Commons, the Brock Sports and Recreation Center, and renovations to Fox HallHaley Hall, and Brock Residence Hall in Thomas Branch.

In 2008, the Brocks endowed the Macon and Joan Brock Professorship of Psychology, which is currently held by Professor Alva Hughes '81.

Macon Brock graduated from Randolph-Macon College with a B.A. in Latin. He joined the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam before co-founding K and K Toys and later Dollar Tree Stores. He served as CEO of Dollar Tree until 2004 and remains chairman of their Board of Directors. Brock served on the R-MC Board of Trustees from 1992-2009 and as chairman from 1999-2009.

Joan Brock is a 1964 graduate of Longwood College (now Longwood University) where she earned a B.A. in secondary education with a minor in mathematics. She earned an M.A. in humanities from Old Dominion University. Also committed to the liberal arts education, she served on the Virginia Wesleyan College Board of Trustees from 1999-2006 and as its chairman from 2001-2004.

In 2009, the Brocks were awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Randolph-Macon. In 2014, the Brocks were awarded the Council of Independent Colleges Award for Philanthropy. In 2015, the CIVIC Leadership Institute presented the Brocks with the Darden Award for Individual Leadership. Also in 2015, they were recognized nationally as Outstanding Philanthropists by the National Association of Fundraising Professionals.

The fund-raising response for the project was remarkable, with the college receiving gifts from nearly 400 donors. In addition to the Brocks, other lead gifts of $500,000 or more were received from Thomas Birdsong '49 and his wife, Jane; George Birdsong H'17 and his wife, Sue; Birdsong Corporation; Chemistry Professor Serge Schreiner and his wife, Linda; J. Whiting Chisman, Jr. '63 and his wife, Donna; and the estates of Dorothy T. & Muscoe Garnett '30.