William M. Randall (1899-1984)
In 1951, Dr. William M. Randall and his family were passing through Wilmington on their way to the University of Georgia where Dr. Randall was the director of libraries. They were hospitalized after an automobile accident during which time Dr. Randall was approached by H.M. Roland, superintendent of schools, and J.T. Hoggard, Wilmington College president, and offered the job of dean.
“A well known scholar in the field of library science, Randall, with his rich and varied experience in higher education, shaped the future of the college.…. His presence and influence changed the image and philosophy of the college from that of an extended high school to that of a full-fledged, first-rate college. One of his first moves to facilitate this was to being a drive for full-time college faculty, thereby reducing the college’s dependence upon high school teachers.” (From These Beginnings: Wilmington College 1946-69, p.19)
Under Dr. Randall’s leadership the college in 1952 received its first state aid, two $5,500 grants for the next two years. He instituted the scholarship program, recommending trustees budget three percent of tuition for scholarships.
Enrollment requirements were tightened in 1957. “Students who wanted to be admitted to the university parallel program needed to score a minimum of 300 on the verbal and 300 on the mathematics portions of the SAT.” (From These Beginnings: Wilmington College 1946-69, p.21)
Prior to leading Wilmington College, Dr. Randall was a professor of library science and assistant dean of students at the University of Chicago and an academic dean at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He also served as a traveling fellow for the General Education Board, managing editor of Library Quarterly, consultant for the Carnegie Corporation of New York, intelligence officer stationed in the Middle East during WWII, where he utilized his Arabic language skills, and was a member of the commission sent to reorganize the Vatican Library by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The library at UNCW was named in Dr. Randall’s honor in 1969.