Finding Value

Carl Girelli, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, talks with a student in the Skeller dining area of the Student Center.

Carl Girelli, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, talks with a student in the Skeller dining area of the Student Center.

Shortly after his son, Anthony, graduated from college, Carl Girelli found himself having a heart-to-heart about the options available to the psychology major.

It was the night before an interview for a job in information technology, and Anthony doubted his chances against candidates with technical degrees. Girelli, Randolph’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, was no stranger to explaining the value of the liberal arts.

“Everyone has a learning curve when they start a new job,” Girelli said. “But my counterargument to him was that he was far better positioned to attack that learning curve because he was liberally educated. What most employers say is lacking in their hires are the ability to solve problems, work in groups, or take initiative. These employers are aware that if they can get someone who can learn, they can teach them anything.”

Anthony got the job and gained new appreciation for his educational foundation.

A Portuguese major who speaks several languages, Carl Girelli is the perfect example of the liberal arts at work. All of his degrees, including a master’s and Ph.D. in linguistics, were earned from the University of Connecticut. After graduation, Girelli accepted a position at Catawba College in North Carolina, where he served as a faculty member and administrator for 24 years before coming to Randolph in 2012. Even his hobbies reflect his love for learning and trying new things. The father of two makes wine, creates stained glass and pottery, is a wood turner, and practices Judo.

During his time at Randolph, Girelli has worked hard with faculty and staff to bring some exciting new curricular changes, such as the equine studies minor.

“Carl is thoughtful about making decisions even as he makes them efficiently,” said Amy R. Cohen, a classics professor. “He strikes me as humane: he knows that his actions not only affect the College in an abstract way, but that they also affect individual faculty and students in real and practical ways, and he’s always mindful of that reality.”

Randolph, Girelli said, has given him the opportunity to be a part of an institution with an unapologetic dedication to the liberal arts—and to the students who study here. “This College is on a really strong trajectory, the faculty are brilliant, and there is a shared sense of community,” he said.