Randolph College changes its name and student body
One institution decided six years ago to drop out of the ranks of Virginia’s same-sex schools: Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.
On July 1, 2007, it was renamed Randolph College and became a coeducational institution. Lawsuits and angry protests followed from both alumnae and students who fought the change.
The college’s board of trustees, 70 percent of whom were alumnae, said the shift to coeducation was critical to increase enrollment and preserve the institution’s endowment.
When the board took the vote, the private school’s enrollment was 712, down from 900 in the 1960s.
In late August, the college welcomed its largest freshman class in 28 years, as 220 new students enrolled, a 22 percent increase over the previous year.
In his welcoming statement to freshmen, Randolph President Bradley W. Bateman said:
“Overall total enrollment for 2013-2014 is also expected to grow significantly. Randolph anticipates a total enrollment of 685, representing a 6 percent increase over last year and a 37 percent increase since 2009.”
In a later interview, Bateman said total enrollment has risen to 694. Approximately 13 percent of its student body is international.
“We’re going to shoot to raise enrollment to 800-850 and stabilize there over the next four years. That’s our optimal enrollment,” Bateman says.
Randolph lists its cost at $43,960, including tuition, room and board and fees, with 96 percent of students receiving financial aid. The endowment tops $130 million.
Bateman says he and others at the college have been building bridges to the alumnae of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.
“So far, the results have been wonderful,” he said. “Women who carried placards in protest six years ago hug me and say what can they do for me.”
Bateman emphasizes to alumnae that the fact that the college is now coed in no way diminishes the great education they received here.
“I had a 1992 graduate say, ‘Thank you for mending my broken heart.’ That means everything,” Bateman says.