LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — After serving as the 10th president of Randolph College for almost 10 years, President Bradley W. Bateman is set to retire in June of 2022.
“Even during my interviews for the presidential position, I could sense the strong sense of community and the dedication to the liberal arts that exist here behind the Red Brick Wall,” Bateman said. “This is a special place that is built upon trust and a shared commitment to teaching. It didn’t take long for me to understand and share the deep affection so many feel for the College.”
“During my time here,” he added, “I have made connections and relationships with so many wonderful people. These individuals—whether they be faculty, staff, students, alumnae, or alumni—are what make Randolph special. And they are what I will miss the most. But I will turn 65 this year, and I am ready to enjoy the next chapter in my story. Randolph is positioned in a good place for the future, and after many years of hard, but incredibly rewarding work, I look forward to returning to my scholarship and writing.”
Ever since his tenure began on July 1, 2013, the college Bateman has pushed for the liberal arts, writing multiple articles and editorials in national publications like The New York Times and The Atlantic.
In addition, Randolph’s campus has reportedly transformed over the past eight years, including numerous campus renovations, increased giving, new programs, and infrastructure improvement.
“By any measure, Brad has been an outstanding president,” said Karen Patterson ’73, vice chair of the Board of Trustees. “ I hope he has enjoyed working with the trustees as much as we have enjoyed working with him. He coaxed, coached, and cajoled us into becoming a truly strategic board. He motivated the trustees, the faculty, the staff, and the students to improve all aspects of the College, even as Americans questioned the value of college, and the world endured a year-long pandemic that upended everything about education.”
Bateman’s accomplishments during his Randolph College career include large-scale infrastructure improvements and renovations to Wright Hall, the newly expanded Michels Athletic Center, Cheatham Dining Hall, Bell Hall, the new admissions Welcome Center, as well as the decommissioning of the old Boiler Plant and the implementation of the college’s unique partnership with the National Gallery, London.
In addition, the college created two new master’s programs; a variety of majors and minors; and many other new initiatives, including a dual enrollment program with Central Virginia Community College and a partnership with Endstation Theatre, under Bateman’s leadership.
He also hired the college’s first chief diversity officer and successfully led the college through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most recently, school officials say Randolph College has launched TAKE2, its new curriculum model; instituted a price reset; and begun a capital campaign for a major renovation to its Martin Science Building.
“It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve with President Bradley Bateman since 2014, first as a Board trustee and currently as Board chair,” said Hylan ‘Hank’ Hubbard. “My background is corporate. While there are similarities to corporate management, I soon realized that there are certain nuances that are peculiar to small private liberal arts colleges. Brad fully understands those nuances and has been a perfect match for Randolph College’s needs as it continued its transition into a coed school. He has met Randolph’s challenges and opportunities with grace, a keen intellect, humility, integrity, a deep understanding of liberal arts education, and an unswerving commitment to helping students prepare for an abundant life.”
Karen Campbell ’77, vice chair-elect for the Board of Trustees, says Bateman’s leadership skills and commitment to diversity have helped move the college forward.
“I have often said to and about Brad that he is an economist with the heart of a sociologist,” she said. “Both his acumen in economics (particularly finance) and his progressive inclinations (more common in sociology than in economics) have served Randolph College exceptionally well. As an example of the former, Brad began in 2018, a series of presentations on ‘Running Randolph’ meant to help members of the College community (staff and faculty) understand the finances of running a college, and, more specifically, the financial standing of Randolph College. This is also an illustration of Brad’s commitment to transparency in leading Randolph.”
“As an example of his sociological acumen and his steadfast commitment to equity and inclusion, Brad questioned the presence of the statue of ‘General Jones’ on front campus,” she added. “Although George Morgan Jones was indeed a benefactor of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, he was not a general. Moreover, a statue of a Confederate soldier was distressing to some members of the College community. I’m embarrassed never to have thought about it myself and deeply admire Brad for having the discernment and courage to have the statue removed from its position of prominence.
Bateman says he was proud to serve Randolph during a period when higher education — as well as the rest of the world — is changing rapidly.
“At Randolph, we talk a lot about the life more abundant,” Bateman said. “I am grateful for the years I have been able to spend walking these halls and for the incredible people I have met. Our students have given me energy, our faculty members have inspired me, our staff have shown me what true dedication looks like, and our alumnae and alumni have amazed me with all they are doing in the world. Leading a small liberal arts school has been challenging, but I am proud to be part of the history of Randolph College.
“As I close my career in education, I do so confident in the future of this wonderful place and appreciative that my experiences here have added to my own abundant life,” he added. “I will treasure the memories I have made and look forward to watching the College grow and thrive in the future.”
A presidential search committee — led by Board members Campbell and Elizabeth Crighton ’67 — will begin a national search for the college’s 11th president in the coming weeks.