After 255 Randolph-Macon graduates crossed the stage during commencement last June 1, the newly built Brock Commons Student Center opened its doors.
Oct. 5, four months after the grand opening of the new student facility, R-MC held a dedication ceremony to thank the people who made it all possible.
Those attending the dedication ceremony for Randolph-Macon’s new $8.7 million Brock Commons Student Center mingle in the courtyard outside the stately facility in Ashland.
“When I look at this magnificent building, I find myself in awe,” said Garrett White, student government association president.
The 27,000 square-foot building, designed by Marcellus Wright Cox Architects and built by English Construction, overlooks the Brown Fountain Plaza. The new facility acts as a gathering place for students to relax, study, and enjoy time with their fellow classmates.
“There’s always something to do here, like play poker or foosball,” said R-MC sophomore Brittaney Ritchie when commenting on her favorite things to do at the new student center.
The Brock Commons includes things such as a movie theater, café, game room, coffee bar, and the brand new bookstore.
Longtime R-MC campus store manager Barclay DuPriest gave a comedic and heartfelt speech about the new bookstore during the building’s dedication ceremony.
“I’m here to tell you that this old bookstore gal almost bawls with joy over our fabulous campus store that rivals the Taj Mahal,” said DuPriest.
The new building is one of many recent construction projects across the college, including the Birdsong Residence Hall for upperclassman and renovations to the Copley Science Center. The recent facelift came about as a way to enhance the quality of college life for Randolph-Macon students.
“This majestic Brock Commons, like our other new structures, is quite understandably a new source of pride to our students, staff, and alumni,” said Robert Lindgren, R-MC president. “Our facilities are nearing the equal of any college in Virginia.”
The building occupies the same space where the former Frank E. Brown Center sat since 1974. After being used by students for many years, it was essential that future generations of students have a place they can gather.
Husband and wife duo Joan and Macon Brock were integral to making the new student commons a reality.
“We are so fortunate to be able to do what we have done here at Randolph Macon,” said Macon Brock Jr., benefactor and trustee emeritus. “We wanted to make a difference where the need was.”
Since the Brocks first donated $5 to the college shortly after Macon graduated in 1964, they have continued dedicating their time and money to help R-MC grow. Their most recent contribution of $5 million paved the way for a simple idea to become what is now the center of student life at the small Ashland campus.
“This building means more to the students than we can ever express,” said White.