On Friday, October 12th, at the Alumni Celebration held at the Holiday Inn, Alumni Association Board of Directors President Robert “Bo” Snitcher ‘06 presented the Byron C. Gayle ’50 Dedicated Service Award to Mr. John Cornwell ‘55. The award was established in honor of one of the hardest-working directors of the Alumni Association and is given to an alumnus who has a history of being consistent, outstanding and dedicated in service to Randolph-Macon Academy and the community. Mr. Cornwell was described as a recipient who “fits that bill.” While a cadet at R-MA, he was captain of the Rifle Team and led the team to win the coveted Hearst Trophy. He attended Bucknell University and after a career in construction management, retirement brought him back to the area. As class ambassador for the Class of 1955, he rallied his class to raise the funds to start a scholarship endowment to help a deserving student attend R-MA . He also served 12 years on the Alumni Board.
The rest of the Alumni Awards were given out during the Alumni Luncheon on Saturday, October 13th. The Distinguished Alumnus Award, which is given to alumnus who has reached the pinnacle of their career and shown exemplary service to the Academy or community, was presented to Mr. Henry Light ’58. While a cadet at R-MA, Mr. Light was known for his prowess in the swimming pool, placing first in the state meet his senior year. Upon graduating from R-MA, he earned a Navy ROTC scholarship to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute majoring in Electrical Engineering. He served in the Navy for four years and then attended the University of Virginia Law School, graduating in 1969. He eventually became the Chief Counsel for Norfolk Southern Railway. Mr. Light has served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees at R-MA and he and his wife, Angelica, are members of the Society of 1892. He is the class ambassador for the class of 1958 and, in 2008, led his class to establish a scholarship for deserving students.
The Staff Recognition Award, given annually to recognize staff support of the Alumni Association and the Academy, goes to someone who is the very heart of the Academy. This year’s recipient was Mr. Bill Curl ’66. While a student at R-MA, Bill Curl, he was known as “Billy Halfback.” Described as a fantastic athlete, he was a member of the varsity football team, the varsity basketball team, the varsity track and field team and the varsity baseball team, which he captained for two years. After graduation from R-MA in 1966, Mr. Curl furthered his education at Wake Forest University, earning an English degree. He then returned to his alma mater as an English instructor and coached football, wrestling, basketball and track and field. Mr. Curl left R-MA to work in the private sector for 25 years, but “The Hill” called him back and in 1998 he returned to coach and teach. During this time at R-MA, he taught in the Middle School and coached football, golf, baseball and basketball. In 2015, Coach Curl reached the 200 win milestone as our Middle School Boys’ Basketball Coach. Although Coach Curl retired in June from teaching, we are honored to present him this Staff Recognition Award.
Our next award is the Young Alumni Award, which recognizes a recent graduate of R-MA who is outstanding in their field of expertise. This award was presented to Mr. Gabe Williams ‘16. There is a 60,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Front Royal, owned by long-time R-MA parents Angie and George Williams. The business is truly a family affair with daughter Carla ‘11 heading customer service and son Marcus ’13 as director of sales. Gabe is the cog that makes this full-service sheet metal fabricator company work. In 2017, Gabe saw the need in his parents’ company to leave college and take on the responsibility of managing the day-to-day operations of AG Laser Technology. Visiting the plant, they may be fabricating fire extinguisher cabinets for hotels in Bangladesh or steel storage boxes for US nuclear power plants. Gabe manages scores of local employees in this international business.
The final award, the Class Ambassador of the Year Award, is given in recognition of the important role class ambassadors serve. They are vital to the health of the Alumni Association and act as a communication pipeline between classmates and the Academy. They help organize reunions by encouraging classmates to be on campus and be involved. This year’s award was presented to Mr. John Simar, Class of 1968, for leading the effort to coordinate the 50th reunion and create a scholarship endowment so future students can receive financial assistance when they attend R-MA.
During the business portion of the meeting, Conroy Wilson ’68 was confirmed as a new member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and Phil Covell ‘59, Scarlett Kibler ‘89, Bryan Moore ‘84, and Andrew Pfister ’08 were re-elected.
The officers for 2018-19 were also confirmed as:
President: Robert “Bo” Snitchler ‘06
Vice President: Xandi Middleton ‘05
Combined Secretary/Treasurer position: Andrew Pfister ‘08
Sergeant-At-Arms: Jay Moore ‘74
Immediate Past President: H. Scarlett Kibler ‘89