A “champion” for women’s issues and the first woman elected as a trustee of Merced College recently passed away, family members confirmed.
Margaret M. Randolph, who helped found and expand Merced College, died at the age of 91 due to “old age and medical complications” on Feb. 28, said her eldest son, Bob Randolph.
She moved to Merced from the Bay Area in 1961 with her husband and three sons, and “vowed that if she had to move she would make things happen in what was then small-town Merced,” Randolph said.
“Her life was just a swirl of being busy every night and every weekend with what she was doing with community,” said her 67-year-old son.
Randolph joined the college’s Board of Trustees in 1975 and served for 21 years. During her tenure, she pushed for the establishment of the registered nursing program, child development center and the creation of the Women’s Re-entry Center and its support programs.
“(She was) very motivated in social programs to make college open to the full community and really help women have access to education,” Bob Randolph said.
Randolph was also known for the many programs that the community continues to benefit from.
She was founder and president of the Women’s Symphony League and director of the Merced Symphony Association. She was president and founding member of the Friends of the Library, and a member of the Merced Library Commission, the Regional Arts Council, the Merced Historical Society and the League of Women Voters.
In 1990, Randolph was honored with the Athena Award by the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, recognizing her as the Woman of the Year. She was also a longtime member of the Merced College Foundation Board of Directors, serving several terms as president.
Randolph was elected and served for 10 years on the state’s Community College Association. In 1980, Randolph was also elected to the National Association of Community Colleges and served six years. She also served on the California Commission on Athletics and encouraged the adoption of the policy requiring 12 units of credits to qualify for a second year of team play.
She was a “born entertainer,” Bob Randolph said, and a “colorful character for sure.” She was a natural on stage, he added, and would sing at benefits and charities. She also liked to fish, was a “great golfer” and tennis player.
There is also Margaret Randolph Scholarship Endowment that provides scholarship awards each year to students studying vocal music.
Her memorial service will be held at the Central Presbyterian Church on Canal Street in Merced at 2 p.m. March 24. Donations in her memory can be made to the Merced College Foundation in support of the Margaret M. Randolph Scholarship Fund, to the Friends of the Merced County Library or to the Merced County Historical Society.
Monica Velez: 209-385-2486, @monicavelez21