Personality: Dr. David Randolph II

Spotlight on honorary chair of the 2019 Virginia Higher Education Fund ‘Jazz InsideOut’ annual benefit

5/18/2019, 6 a.m.
Dr. David Randolph II understands how having financial support can relieve a lot of the emotional stress students are under ...

Dr. David Randolph II understands how having financial support can relieve a lot of the emotional stress students are under as they try to get through college, graduate school and professional school.

As the 2019 honorary chair of the Virginia Higher Education Fund’s 8th Annual “Jazz InsideOut” fundraising benefit, he hopes people in the community will support the nonprofit’s efforts to help young people achieve their goal of higher education.

VHEF, which was established in 2010 by Hampton University alumna Rose Giles, provides scholarships, emergency aid, books and mentoring to Virginia high school and college students who have experienced challenging life conditions or who are considered “at risk.” This includes students who live in low-income housing or have been homeless; first-generation college students; those with medical challenges and disabilities; and students who have experienced parental imprisonment, financial challenges as well as other adverse situations.

“When I was in college — and part of the reason I am where I am — I was awarded an academic scholarship,” Dr. Randolph notes.

As an undergraduate at the University of Richmond and throughout his medical studies at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, he received scholarships and financial support from his parents, says Dr. Randolph, a radiation oncologist at Johnston-Willis Hospital’s Sarah Cannon Cancer Center.

That was a huge stress relief, he says. He didn’t have to graduate from college with a huge debt, especially as he faced a $200,000 price tag for continuing his education in medical school.

“That financial cushion helped me get to the next level in my education and pushed me toward my professional goal of becoming a doctor,” he says.

VHEF is that stress reliever in helping others.

Dr. Randolph learned about VHEF and Jazz InsideOut, the nonprofit’s annual fundraiser, from one of his patients. He says he volunteered in 2018 and also made a donation to the organization.

He was asked to be the honorary chair for this year’s Jazz InsideOut benefit, which will be held 7 p.m. Friday, June 14, at the Claude G. Perkins Living & Learning Center at Virginia Union University, 1500 Lombardy St. The event, which already is sold out, features food, music by Cloud 9 Band and The Prentiss Project, line dancing with Kemel Patton and a silent auction with such items as a trip to Las Vegas, golfing, handbags and jewelry.

“If I can help others not to have to worry with paying for their education and just be concerned with academics, it is the best way to give back,” Dr. Randolph says.

He wants volunteers and donors, especially corporate donors, to know that contributing to VHEF is an investment in students. It is a confidence boost to students as it helps them to reach their educational goals.

“It is like investing in a business,” he says. “You are not going to invest in a that business you think will not flourish.”

By providing scholarship opportunities to “at-risk” students, it shows them “we believe in them enough to financially support their dreams and pursuit of higher education,” he says.

“If students do well, they can bring their knowledge and skills back to help advance their community,” Dr. Randolph says. “That is the ultimate and best way to do it.”

Meet education advocate and this week’s Personality, Dr. David Randolph II:

Occupation: Radiation oncologist with the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center at Johnston-Willis Hospital.

No. 1 volunteer position: Honorary chair of the 2019 Virginia Higher Education Fund “Jazz InsideOut” annual benefit fundraiser.

Date and place of birth: Sept. 10 in Lynchburg.

Current residence: Richmond.

Alma maters: Bachelor’s degree, University of Richmond; M.D., Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine; and radiation oncology residency, Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Family: Wife, Dr. Morgan Randolph, pediatric oncology pharmacist at VCU Children’s Pavilion; parents, Dr. David Randolph, radiation oncologist, and Dr. Renita Walden Randolph, dentist; sister, Dr. Jessica Randolph, retina surgeon at VCU; and brother, Douglas Randolph, wealth manager at Baird in Lynchburg.

Virginia Higher Education Fund’s mission: To increase higher education for and provide financial support to students who are considered “at risk” or have experienced adverse conditions. VHEF provides scholarships, book awards, dorm supplies and mentoring activities for high-potential youths who are in low-opportunity settings.

Why I support VHEF: I find time to support causes I am passionate about and believe are making positive changes in the community. VHEF is an excellent example of this by making a real impact on youths at a vital time in their life. I benefited greatly by receiving an academic scholarship to college. I know how much of an impact this can make. I feel it’s my responsibility to help pay this forward.

Why VHEF is important: VHEF recognizes how economic disparity can limit the potential of excellent students who are at a disadvantage solely because of the economic situation they were born into. VHEF helps level the playing field and provide students a chance for academic success that they otherwise might not have.

Foremost objective of VHEF’s “Jazz InsideOut” benefit: To provide financial support for college-bound students who are in low-opportunity settings. We hope to raise $50,000 in 2019. We also partnered with JB Bryan Financial Group this year for our first College Prep Day, which was attended by more than 200 students and parents.

Biggest challenge: Often the biggest challenge for small charities like VHEF is a lack of access to corporate executives and their resources, as well as a lack of access to major philanthropic giving circles. Without access, it is difficult to raise large sums of money for the students who are most in need of financial aid. However, VHEF and Jazz InsideOut are fortunate to have strong corporate stewards, both local and national, that recognize the impact of small charities. That is clearly evident in the 25-plus sponsors for Jazz InsideOut who share our vision to educate our youths and help them achieve academic success.

Why I am a radiation oncologist: Radiation oncology gives me the opportunity to provide local therapies that can cure and restore health for people suffering with a diagnosis of cancer. It uses technology that sounds like it is out of a science-fiction novel, like “photon beams,” to treat cancers that otherwise would not be treated. It also allows me a chance to develop personal bonds with my patients, which I find very gratifying. Being given the opportunity to help restore people’s health is one of the most impactful things I think you can ever do to help someone, and I am so grateful for that chance.

Advice to someone aspiring to a career in the medical field: It is a long, challenging road but it is absolutely worth it in the end.

How I start the day: Every day is a blessing and you have to make the most of it.

A perfect day for me is: Spending time with my wife, my family and my dogs.

Something I love that most people would never imagine: I’m a huge comic book nerd.

A quote that I am inspired by: “You must never give into despair. Allow yourself to slip down that road and you surrender to your lowest instincts. In the darkest times, hope is something you give yourself. That is the meaning of inner strength.” — Uncle Iroh in “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

The three words that best describe me: Dedicated, passionate and happy.

If I had more time, I would: Volunteer even more with VHEF and Big Brothers Big Sisters, travel the world and adopt more dogs.

My hero or heroine: My parents are my OG heroes, but my brother, Doug, and my sister, Jessica, are phenomenal human beings. They are brilliant, funny, kind to everyone they meet and dedicated to helping others — everything I want to be.

Favorite jazz musician: Wynton Marsalis.

How I unwind: Lifting weights and playing basketball.

The best thing my parents ever taught me: With hard work and discipline, you can achieve anything.

Book that influenced me the most: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.

Book I’m presently reading: “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman.

Next goal: To be the best father I can be. My son, David Randolph III, is due May 31.