October 16, 2013
Faculty, staff, students and alumni gathered to welcome a new face to Albion College with the October 11 dedication ceremony for Chancellor Donna Randall's portrait, commissioned by the Board of Trustees to honor Randall's six-year tenure as president.
Just the day before, artist Leslie Adams had been at a portrait dedication for an Ohio Supreme Court Justice. Her work is included in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, and she received the 2013 William F. Draper Grand Prize from the Portrait Society of America, the highest award given in that competition.
Adams spoke briefly, explaining both her technique and what she strives to share through her art. "While it's important to capture a likeness, it's more important to show the essential character. A century from now, no one will know if Donna's eyes are painted the right shade of bluish-greenish hazel," Adams smiled. "It's my hope that people will see the warmth and sincerity in those eyes."
For her part, Randall explained the presence of some objects in the portrait. She is depicted holding a diploma to reflect that students “are at the center of everything we do.” She noted that she has always hand-signed each graduate’s diploma. The background shows a piece of stained glass art, a personal inauguration gift made by then first-year student Rhonda Vander Zwaag, '11, and her father. "It hung it in my office, and it's featured in the portrait because I wanted Rhonda and her father to know how much it meant to me," Randall said.
Randall concluded by noting that the portrait will be permanently hung in Stockwell Library later this semester. "I'm going to be there, and I'm going to be watching you," she told the audience. "Please take care of Albion College."
Donna Randall served as Albion College president from 2007-2013. She will serve as chancellor through the 2013-14 academic year.