Every student can remember taking hours to get their hair just right, charge their phone for pictures, and put on shoes that were a little too uncomfortable to wear for any other occasion. Unfortunately, this year students could not even begin to plug in the hair dryer to start their beauty process until a week later.
Since 1837, Randolph-Macon students have signed their names in a matriculation book signifying their positions as students at the college, but this year the matriculation ceremony was pushed back due to a power outage that did not allow for air conditioning to be restored in time for the event.
“A tree branch fell across high voltage lines on College Avenue near the Honors House. The lines short circuited causing loss of power to the majority of the campus and several adjacent neighborhoods,” Thomas Dwyer, Director of Physical Plant and Operations, said.
The outage that lasted from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. caused the matriculation ceremony originally scheduled for Sunday, August 30, to be pushed back until September 6.
“It was strange to already have gone through a week of classes, but it was nice knowing what we were getting into. It was unique,” freshman Hayden Johnson said. During matriculation, the class of 2019, along with the new transfer students, filed into Blackwell Auditorium where President Lindgren, Provost Franz, and many other faculty members were waiting to formally welcome them to Randolph-Macon.
Present in the official Randolph-Macon matriculation oath, stating, “After having carefully read the laws of Randolph-Macon College, I subscribe myself a student thereof. I enter this college with a sincere desire to reap the benefits of its instruction and with a determined resolve to conform to its laws. In testimony thereof, I hereunto subscribe my name.”
Even though the matriculation ceremony is a recent tradition, the signing of the matriculation book has been going on for many years. The matriculation books are kept in archives and pages are added each year to keep the tradition going. The tradition is an important milestone for all freshmen and transfer students.
“As a society, we recognize formally the transition points in people’s lives. Families and friends come together for funerals or memorial services at a time of death. On the more pleasant side, we also formally celebrate weddings, births, and graduations. Religious traditions such as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah or a Confirmation mark important transitions. I think the importance of our matriculation ceremony is commemorating formally the transition to being a member of the Randolph-Macon community in the lives of our entering students,” Provost William Franz said.
As the entering class transitioned into their role as students, they also transitioned the college into a new position. A short term goal within the long term goal of making Randolph-Macon even bigger, was the goal to enroll 1,400 students. As a result of the incoming class of 2019, as well as the new transfer students, the college has finally reached its mark of 1,400 students.
Among the 413 new and transfer students that joined the swarm this year, there were two foreign countries represented along with twenty different states and the District of Columbia.
Another unique characteristic of the incoming class was the amount of Sweet Briar students Randolph-Macon received. After the announcing of the possible closing of Sweet Briar College, Randolph-Macon opened their arms to students looking to transfer. The college has adapted many policies to accommodate these women like waiving the course hour graduation requirement. President Lindgren pledged the cooperation of the college last spring.
“From the moment I decided to transfer into Randolph-Macon, this community has welcomed me with open arms. However difficult this decision may have been, it was definitely the right one for me,” transfer student Erin Whitlock said.
Along with all of their unique features, the class of 2019 is the most academically qualified class based on GPAs, test scores, and class rankings that the college has ever had.
In four years the class of 2019 will end their journey where they began it. It is a long standing Randolph-Macon tradition to begin matriculation by taking photos at the fountain and to end one’s career here by graduating on the steps of Mary Branch. The fountain serves as a symbol of the beginning and end of the student’s journey at Randolph-Macon.
-Madison Guidry ’16, Editor-in-Chief