On Thursday, April 7, Randolph-Macon Academy formalized its long-standing unofficial partnership with Shenandoah University—generating new and exciting opportunities for our students. SU President Tracy Fitzsimmons, PhD, and retired United States Air Force Brig. Gen. David Wesley, R-MA’s president, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that joins both schools in a year-long partnership that can be renewed for successive one-year terms.
“If I know anything about R-MA, I know that it is all about its students. And at Shenandoah, we are all about our students. Every one of us here will celebrate this signing and this partnership because of what it’s going to do for our students, and therefore, for our faculty and staff as well, because it inspires them to have new partnerships,” Fitzsimmons said to a crowd that included leadership, faculty and staff from both schools and students from R-MA.
“One of the things that I love about what we’re signing today is that it leaves room for possibility. It doesn’t hold us back, it doesn’t create walls around it so we can’t go any further. There are no parameters. We can dream together.”
Key Areas for Potential Mutual Advancement
The partnership paves the way for potential mutual growth in key areas, strengthening current dual enrollment opportunities at our college prep school while also creating a conversation around expedited admission and student life opportunities.
Shenandoah University has an interest in beginning an aviation program, and R-MA, which features an elite Air Force JROTC program built around an aerospace science curriculum, operates an in-house flight program that provides both flight and drone instruction and is the only one of its kind at the secondary school level in the country.
R-MA, which has a software and engineering curriculum that includes quantum computing, advanced cybersecurity, and robotics and remotely operated vehicles (ROV) engineering, has a deep interest in Shenandoah’s augmented reality/virtual reality, computer science and Esports programs. Our interests also extend toward developing more in-depth performing arts programs, an area in which SU excels through the Shenandoah Conservatory.
“It gives our students at Randolph-Macon more options, more ways to think of the future, more ways to prepare for that future,” Wesley said. “I hope that it will benefit Shenandoah University, just through the skills and the skill sets that we’re developing, particularly in aviation and computer science, but probably in other ways as well.”
Shenandoah University and R-MA are linked by their roots in the United Methodist Church, and by what Wesley called a commitment to making education accessible to students—not just regionally, but across the globe.
“There’s a new path forward, and we plan on doing our part,” Wesley stated to those in attendance. “We want to stand at your shoulder. We’re ready for the task.”
Interested in seeing how these opportunities take shape at our private school?
Contact Randolph-Macon Academy for more information.