Tomi-Lauren McGinnis ’23

Tourism sales coordinator, Danville’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism

The love Tomi-Lauren McGinnis ’23 has for her hometown is front and center in her job as tourism sales coordinator for Danville’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism.

McGinnis, a history major and one of two recipients of the 2023 Maude Huff Fife Award for highest GPA in her class, interned with the office during the spring of 2023. Her duties included helping launch a new regional tourism brand for Pittsylvania County and Danville.

“I started calling the office in late November and didn’t stop through January, until I had finally bugged them enough to give me a chance,” she said. “On paper, a history major is not the typical person to be interested in this line of work. I explained that, at Randolph, I was able to explore interests that prepared me for more than just my major. I’ve learned more skills than I would’ve imagined—writing, analyzing difficult texts, having difficult conversations about the past and present.

“Randolph is a place where you can do it all,” she added, “and become a jack of all trades.”

During her time on campus, McGinnis played volleyball, served on the Student Philanthropy Council and the Randolph Programming Board, and was managing editor of The Sundial. She did summer research on Virginia’s Confederate monuments and worked on the College’s Monacan Indian Nation land acknowledgment.

Her interest has always been in public history, which she says is a tourism driver.

“Our city has deep connections to tobacco and the textile industry,” she said. “We are rebuilding the exact areas that once held both of those booming industries in the city and county, and I think it shows our resilience and respect for our ancestors who established the community. Without understanding and reconnecting with our past, there will be no future. Our community gets that, and it’s been a beautiful transformation to witness.”