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Strong Women, Strong Future

Dr. Hoye Duckworth '73 photoWhen Dr. Hoye Duckworth ’73 is asked to recall her fondest memories from her time at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, she doesn’t hesitate a second. “Very strong friendships with strong women,” says Duckworth. “It was the value of a women’s college.”

With an answer like that, you might expect Dr. Duckworth to be against the college’s decision to go coed starting with the class of 2011. But Dr. Duckworth has seen first hand the societal transformation that’s occurred in the 30 years since she graduated from R-MWC.

“My daughter would not apply [to Randolph-Macon Woman’s College],” she says. “She had no interest in going to a women’s college.”

Dr. Duckworth explains that the mission of a women’s college has changed. It used to be a necessary educational option for a system that was greatly skewed in favor of men. “Not anymore,” says Dr. Duckworth.

After graduating from R-MWC with a degree in chemistry, Dr. Duckworth went straight to medical school at the University of Virginia. She remembers being part of one of the first big medical school classes to include women.

Dr. Duckworth says R-MWC’s caring, dedicated professors gave her “excellent” preparation for the rigors of medical school. In fact, she still keeps in touch with her organic chemistry professor.

Dr. Duckworth lives in Roanoke, Virginia (where she was born and raised), where she’s an anesthesiologist at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

As for the future of a coed Randolph College? Dr. Duckworth is optimistic.

“It’s a great school. It’s a beautiful facility. It’s got a terrific faculty,” she says. “My children both went to Washington & Lee. That was an all-male college when my husband was there and it’s done nothing but improve with women.”