by Christine Meyer, Director of Development and Alumni Programs
Close to 300 people returned “to the Hill” for Homecoming 2015, held on October 9 and 10.
A large crowd enjoyed Friday’s Welcome Back Dinner at the North Warren Fire Hall which was catered by Apple House Catering (run by R-MA alumni George McIntrye ’69, Katie (McIntrye) Tewell ’97 and Mac McIntyre ’07) and featured a performance by “The Stingers,” the Academy’s harmonizing quartet.
Saturday’s events started with the Class of 1965 gathering for a special 50th Reunion Class breakfast at the Holiday Inn sponsored by R-MA President, Brig. Gen Dave Wesley, USAF, Retired. The Class of 1965 raised more than $28,000 for a new endowed scholarship. Their successful efforts were announced at halftime of the football game.
Back on campus, the Memorial Service was held inside Melton Memorial Gymnasium, with the R-MA Alumni Association presenting its Memorial Flag to the family of the late Lt Col Jerry Driscoll, USAF, Retired, who passed away in August. In 1975, under the leadership of President Arvin Williams; Col Driscoll and Senior Master Sergeant Fogg brought the Air Force JR ROTC Program to Randolph-Macon Academy. Col Driscoll was the senior Aerospace Science Instructor from 1975-1982 and also served for several years as Commandant of Cadets.
At the Alumni Association luncheon and meeting, attendees were treated to a performance by the R-MA Chorus and a speech by cadet Corps Commander Emma Bunker ’16. “There have been many amazing people who have come before me and there will be many amazing people who come after me,” Emma noted. “I would not be here if it was not for all of you. Each and every one of you has helped this school grow and prosper into what it is today. You are the legacy and represent what people think about when someone says, ‘Yes, I go to Randolph- Macon Academy!’”
The Alumni Association voted to keep the current board in place. Officers for 2015-2016 will be Scarlett H. (Praml) Kibler ’89 as president, Kyle McDaniel ’07 as vice president, and Robert “Bo” Snitchler ’06 as secretary/treasurer. Re-elected to another three-year term was Scott Harwood ’87. Newly elected to the Board were Phil Covell ’59, Bryan Moore ’84 and Andrew Pfister ’08.
At the luncheon, the Association presented several awards:
The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to a graduate of the Class of 1997, J. Kent Werner, Jr., MD, PHD, and Lieutenant, US Navy. Kent was Corps Commander during his senior year at Randolph-Macon Academy. He went on to earn an appointment to the United States Naval Academy where he graduated in 2001 with degrees in Chemistry and Spanish. He then enrolled at Johns Hopkins University in a dual MD/PhD program in Neuroscience earning both degrees in 2012. Kent is currently Neurology Resident at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to his duties at Hopkins, Kent and some colleagues founded a bio-medical start-up company that has won several of the most prestigious competitions for grants in the United States. The awards will help them develop and market, break-through treatments for neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. They are preparing for clinical trials for these groundbreaking drugs.
The Byron C. Gayle ’50 Dedicated Service Award went to David W. Moore, Sr. ’53 for his unfailing love and dedication for R-MA since he came to campus as a young boy. Dave’s relationship with the school spans more than six decades. He has served on the Board of Trustees, as a Reunion Volunteer, Supreme Fundraiser and outstanding cheerleader for all things R-MA
The Young Alumni Award was presented to Robert “Bo” Snitchler ’06 for his dedication, hard-work and willingness to pitch in wherever needed. The Board took advantage of Bo missing a meeting in August to select him for this surprise award.
The Staff Recognition Award went to Academic Dean Jonathan Ezell who joined the faculty in 1986 and most recently served as interim president.
The Board selected two Class Agent of the Year awards for 2015. They were presented W. Rick Smith ’70 and to Ed Linsley ‘65.
After the luncheon, the R-MA community gathered at the top of the hill above Riddick Field for a Rededication Ceremony and the unveiling of a new Riddick Field sign on the Press Box.
A member of the Riddick Family was part of the Academy faculty or staff from the 1923 to 1975, more than 50 years. In 1965, the field was named in honor of Coach George Riddick who at the time of the dedication was the second longest serving faculty member in the history of the school. His son, Dr. George Riddick, Jr., Class of 1957, attended the ceremony, representing the Riddick family.
Although the football game against Southern Garrett High School ended in a loss, the beautiful fall day and camaraderie of friends made up for it. After the game, an enthusiastic group of alumni gathered at the Blue Ridge Shadows Resort for a final celebration of the successful weekend with plans to return next October.