There’s No Place Like Home

Genevieve Neale '93 returned to Lynchburg after graduate school to start Pawprints Mobile Medicine for Pets.

Genevieve Neale ’93 returned to Lynchburg after graduate school to start Pawprints Mobile Medicine for Pets.

When Genevieve Neale ’93 looked to start a veterinarian practice in Lynchburg—the home of her alma mater—she was drawn toward mobile medicine to avoid the costs of starting a stationary practice from scratch. What she didn’t realize was how transformative Pawprints Mobile Medicine for Pets would be for her personally and professionally.

Today, you can’t miss her as she travels throughout the area in her 28-foot-long animal hospital on wheels.

“I wanted to start a practice that would still provide high quality care and be able to offer the majority of the services that you got at a stationary building practice, but at your home,” Neale said, adding that business is booming. More importantly, “I love what I do.”

Julius Thomas '12 (center) works with local college students as part of his job with Campus Outreach.

Julius Thomas ’12 (center) works with local college students as part of his job with Campus Outreach.

Neale is one of nearly 800 alumnae and alumni of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and Randolph College now living in the Lynchburg region. Randolph’s graduates are part of a growing population of college students from the area who are choosing to establish roots in Lynchburg.

Many are pursuing graduate degrees, while others are beginning their careers in a familiar area, said Christine Kennedy, interim president at the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.

A combination of liberal arts education as well as specialized training makes these recent college graduates a boon to local employers.

“Those coming out of college are skilled and ready to work,” Kennedy said. “This to me demonstrates that students who make the choice to stay here are choosing to stay for opportunity and because they like the region.”

Lynchburg also has a lot to offer recent college graduates in recreational amenities, a thriving downtown, and opportunities for service. Those things meant a lot to Julius Thomas ’12, a program director for Campus Outreach, an international Christian ministry that works with students on college campuses.

Thomas worked in Lynchburg for the first year after his graduation from Randolph, only to be transferred to Radford for one year. He was glad when he was offered the opportunity to return to Lynchburg.

Stormy Cloudis at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Stormy Clowdis ’13 also remained in Lynchburg after graduation.

“Lynchburg has a lot more to offer someone just coming out of college,” Thomas said. “You have a lot more opportunities to enjoy people outside of the college campus.”

Some Randolph graduates have yet another reason for staying in Lynchburg: It’s home.

Stormy Clowdis ’13, originally from Concord, focused her job search in the Lynchburg region. Now she is a development coordinator at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, which has an official, educational partnership with Randolph. In addition to staying close to family, Clowdis is able to watch her hometown thrive.

“I’ve seen a lot of amazing changes to this area, and I look forward to it growing even more,” she said.