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Christman named 2016 Commencement speaker

Jolley Christman

Jolley Christman

Randolph College will welcome back an alumna and trustee emerita to serve as the 2016 Commencement speaker.

Jolley Bruce Christman ’69 served on the College’s Board of Trustees for 10 years, beginning in 1997, and was president of the board during the College’s decision to admit men in 2006.

Commencement will be held in the Mabel K. Whiteside Greek Theatre at 10 a.m. on May 15.

Christman, a Greenville native, is the founder and a retired principal of Research for Action, Inc., a Philadelphia-based, non-profit organization that seeks to improve the educational opportunities and outcomes of urban youth, strengthen public schools, and enrich the policy, civic, and community dialogue about public education. She has authored more than two dozen book chapters and journal articles and numerous reports on these topics.

“Jolley has been an active supporter of the College, and we are excited to have her as our Commencement speaker this year,” said Bradley W. Bateman, Randolph’s president. “As the president of the Board of Trustees in 2006, Jolley’s strong leadership skills and dedication to her alma mater helped the Board successfully navigate the difficult decision to admit men.

“This year, we will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the College’s founding,” he added. “I cannot think of a more fitting speaker to mark this occasion than Jolley Christman.”

Commencement is just one event in which Randolph will celebrate its 125-year history. The College will celebrate the actual founding anniversary on March 10 with an on-campus community commemoration and “Birthday Bashes” with alumnae and alumni chapters throughout the nation that evening. Numerous other events and celebrations will be held throughout 2016, including a special Convocation and party during Homecoming in October.

“To address the 2016 graduating class at its Commencement is a tremendous honor,” Christman said. “To do it during our 125th anniversary year is especially meaningful. I was a freshman when Randolph-Macon Woman’s College celebrated its 75th anniversary.

“Now, 50 years later, I will have the opportunity to add my voice as the Randolph College community marks the significance that our beloved College is still here, still vibrant, and still steadfast in its commitments to an excellent liberal arts education and a civil, caring residential experience,” she added.

She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also taught at the Graduate School of Education and was given its Helen C. Bailey Award which recognizes outstanding alumni.

Christman is an active volunteer, serving in leadership roles for numerous organizations. She received the Public Citizens for Youth and Children’s “True Friend of Children Award,” and in 2011 she joined the Board of Trustees at Furman University, which is located in her native Greenville, South Carolina. She is also the president of the board of the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, whose mission is to “make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience.” She also serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

Christman is also a trustee of the Jolley Foundation which was established as a conduit for the Jolley family’s philanthropy. The foundation has been a longtime supporter of the College, providing support for several endowed funds, internships, and more. The organization was inducted into the College’s Vita Abundantior Society in 2010.

The College awarded Christman its highest honor for alumnae in 2013 when she received the Alumnae Achievement Award.

For more information on the College’s 125th anniversary celebration, please see

For more information on Commencement, please see

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