Getting a Handle on the Randle

Charles Bell, Contributing Writer

A man with many hats here on Mississippi College’s campus, Jonathan Randle of the English department has strong ties to MC. Not only did his mother receive her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from this institution, but he also matriculated at M.C. from 1990-1994. While a student here, Randle was briefly a member of Civitan Men’s club, a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Mortar Board, and a Resident Assistant.

Although he began his academic career majoring in biology, Dr. Randle found that while he loved the lectures given by the faculty in Hederman, he “detested the labs.” Thus, to “avoid spending ten or twelve hours a day in a lab,” Dr. Randle switched his major to English Literature; a subject that he feels stimulates both sides of his brain. Literature allows him to be “ruthlessly analytical” and “effusively creative,” something that Dr. Randle felt he was missing in his science classwork.

During his sophomore year, Dr. Randle participated in the London Semester Program, which still attracts students today. While in London, Randle nourished the “Anglophilia” inside of him, which eventually led him to do his graduate work at Cambridge University. While there he studied in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic, taking classes in Anglo-Saxon history, Gaelic history, Medieval Irish, and Medieval Latin to name a few. However, he focused his doctoral studies on Old English Language and Literature.

After receiving his Ph.D. from one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, Dr. Randle ended up back at his alma mater. When asked about how that occurred, Randle said he had a fortuitous conversation with John Travers who had just stepped down from the position of Chairman of the English department. Travers encouraged Randle to apply, and the rest is history.

However, Randle did not intend to stay at MC for very long. He only planned to give MC back the four years that the institution had given him as an undergraduate. Fortunately, Randle’s plan did not come to fruition. He is now entering his fifteenth year as a member of faculty, and is currently the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Chairman of the English Department, and Acting Chairman of the Department of History.

Despite Randle’s rigorous administrative obligations, he still finds time for his favorite role as a Mississippi College employee—teacher. He stated: “The thing I enjoy most about what I do is teaching. I don’t get to do it as much as I once did, but that is the elixir to the burden of paperwork and administrative duties.” He loves teaching so much because he gets to “think tank with bright undergraduate minds” and “see students become things they weren’t when they started my class.”

He enjoys watching his students grow and “in some small part take part in that happening.” While Randle’s pursuit of academic excellence and prestigious degree speak well of him and make him a valuable asset the University, the aspect of Randle that is most impressive is his commitment to his students, and, this semester, the students of the Freshman Honor’s Block have the extreme privilege of studying under a man of character and vast intelligence- Jonathan Randle.


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