Making A Difference

Class of 2017 in Michels Plaza

Class of 2017 in Michels Plaza

Many of the 216 members of the Class of 2017—the largest first-year class in 25 years—might not have enrolled at Randolph if it weren’t for Virginia “Ginger” Muller Shapard ’57.

A gift from Shapard allowed Randolph’s admissions office to enhance its web page with content tailored to the individual interests of prospective students.

“Ginger Shapard’s gift enabled our admitted students to form a closer bond with the College,” said Mike Quinn, vice president for enrollment management at Randolph. “By providing them with a personalized view of the College, it was easier for them to imagine themselves on our campus and in our classrooms.”

Shapard was thrilled to hear about the successful admissions program and happy to have a part in it.

“It’s an exciting time in the life of the College,” said Shapard, who has worked to promote education throughout her life. Whether extolling the value of college at the family dinner table, fighting to improve public school financing in Georgia, or supporting her alma mater, education has always been at the forefront.

Virginia "Ginger" Muller Shapard '57, her husband, Bobby, and their dog, Deja.

Virginia “Ginger” Muller Shapard ’57, her husband, Bobby, and their dog, Deja.

Shapard met her husband, Bobby, when she was a junior in college and he had just returned from service in the Air Force. While raising their four children, the Shapards spoke frequently of the value of a college education. “Along with their supper, we gave them a side dish of ‘the importance of education’ every night,” she said. “We told them that if you prepare yourself and you get a good education, then you get to pick what you want to do in life.” All of their children completed college. Two have advanced degrees, and one is finishing a Ph.D.

“It was something they knew was important,” Shapard said.

Not content to share education with her children alone, Shapard campaigned for better funding for public schools in their hometown in Georgia. In the late 1970s, she served two terms in Georgia’s Senate, where she helped to remedy statewide school funding problems.

Shapard’s strong commitment to her alma mater dates to her days as a biology student at the College. She heard a lecture in which the speaker emphasized how the students were benefiting from the gifts of alumnae. That inspired Shapard and other students. “We always had the feeling that we had a responsibility to pay it forward,” she said.

In addition to Shapard’s gift, an anonymous foundation provided funding that allowed Randolph to hire an additional admissions counselor to help increase enrollment.

Through their giving, Shapard and other alumnae are helping faculty and staff to educate more students and continue the legacy they benefited from as students. “I don’t see myself as a donor,” she said, “so much as a facilitator.”