Sunday, September 03, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust?

The Washington Post had a great article in today's "Close to Home" page of the Outlook section, addressing the possibility that Virginia's Randolph-Macon Women's College will go co-ed. Not to be confused with the experiment in co-education in Ashland, R-MWC is in Lynchburg. It is my sister's alma mater. It has quite a few more distinguished alumnae, including CNN's Candy Crowley ('70), Arkansas Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln ('84), and Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck. I attended and graduated from Hampden-Sydney College, an all-male college just an hour from R-MWC (or, as we affecionately referred to it, "Randie Mac"). Sadly, it appears to be a done deal.

Today's article is by Richard Kurin, father of a current R-MWC student, and notes the dismay among students, alumnae, and faculty students. They suggest that the new iteration of the College --- obviously, the name will have to be changed --- should be "Benedict Arnold College." He notes that "many alums say they will not financially support the college if it enrolls men," which rings true. I have it on good authority that, on that dark day in 1985 when Washington & Lee University (or, as we thereafter called it, "Washington & Leigh University"), three major donors to W & L called and switched their support to H-SC.

I sincerely hope that Randie Mac deviates from this ill-considered course. Single-sex education (both male and female) have an important place in the education firmament. That firmament will be diminished if R-MWC becomes just another small Liberal Arts college in Virginia.


Jon Henke said...

James, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Rock on, brother. Thanks for your support - we alums appreciate it more than you know. (Class of '95 here)

James Young said...

This great comment appeared in the little-utilized Haloscan function. I've moved it over so two or three more people will see it:

Thanks for the support James! Please encourage other H-SC alumni to be vocal about our situation, as well. As the wife of an H-SC alumnus, I would truly "go to bat" for H-SC, should the need arise. We all need to stick together to preserve the diversity that is so needed in the American education system. Every time a single-sex institution moves towards coeducation, a choice is removed. Our young people need a variety of choices today, and I truly believe (as do the majority of experts) that single-sex education is a VERY successful form. My husband and I both enjoyed and thrived in our college environments, and I have taken those lessons with me into my profession as an educator, today.

Once again, we appreciate your help, and hope that you will continue to speak out on this issue!

Michele Macon Ogburn R-MWC Cla | 09.06.06 - 9:39 am | #

James Young said...

My pleasure, Michele. Don't recognize the last name; I suppose your husband was after my time.