“The spirit has stayed the same. The quality of the students, their minds, and their spirits—those are things that you can’t necessarily test or quantify, but you know it
when you meet them. That’s what never left. It’s what still attracts students to come today.”
– Adgie Lou Dirom Davidson ’82
During a recent visit to campus, Adgie Lou Dirom Davidson ’82 shared dinner and memories with a group of Randolph students from Texas, where she lives. They laughed and talked about their common love for the College.
“They seemed very happy,” Davidson said. “It’s fun to be around young people who are hopeful, loving, and interested in their future.”
It was an enjoyable evening that almost never happened. Several years ago, Davidson was one of many R-MWC alumnae who were angry about changes that were happening at the College.
Unlike some others, her unhappiness did not begin with the coed decision in 2006. It was the later decision to sell four paintings from the College’s art collection in order to increase the endowment that created the biggest issues for Davidson. “I very easily transferred over to the other side,” she recalled.
Randolph’s Board of Trustees knew both difficult decisions would harm relationships with some alumnae, but they also knew they were necessary components of the institution’s survival.
Rebuilding alumnae support was one challenge Randolph College President John E. Klein and his wife, Susan, undertook immediately. “John was very good at answering questions honestly,” said Heather Ayers Garnett ’86, director of alumnae and alumni. “He was very committed to helping alumnae understand and see the possibilities that could come.”
Answering questions from alumnae like Davidson became a priority for the College. “We did that with hundreds and hundreds of people, one by one,” Garnett said.
Davidson compiled the answers she received with information from her own research and began to more fully understand the reasoning behind the College’s decisions. Her change of heart was complete when she realized that opposing Randolph would harm the faculty and staff members who were trying to carry the College’s mission forward. “I was so moved to support these really good people,” she said.
Since those early years, Davidson has become a frequent visitor to campus. She is happy to see how the current students who are attending a school with a different name bring the same attributes that always defined the College when it was R-MWC.
“The spirit has stayed the same,” Davidson said. “The quality of the students, their minds, and their spirits— those are things that you can’t necessarily test or quantify, but you know it when you meet them. That’s what never left. It’s what still attracts students to come today.”