The Randolph College Board of Trustees

Alison Keller Townsend ’75 extends passion for the environment into community life

It is not unusual to find Alison Keller Townsend ’75 on the side of the road picking up trash. In fact, she carries a trash bag with her almost everywhere.

“My kids think I’m nuts,” she said. “But I can’t help myself. I hate it when I see trash around, and if I see it, I will stop on the road and pick it up. I care about nature, trees, and beautiful surroundings, and I want to keep them that way.”

Townsend has incorporated that passion for the environment into her daily life. “It has to do with the beauty of nature and of this world we live in,” she said. “We’re always going to have plastic bottles and Styrofoam, but people need to properly dispose of them.”

A member of Randolph College’s Board of Trustees since 2009, Townsend credits the liberal arts education she received at R-MWC for preparing her for a variety of careers and life pursuits, which have ranged from finance to advertising to art.

As a high school student, Townsend met a R-MWC student while volunteering for a political campaign near her home in Tallahassee, Florida.

“Her father was running for Senate, and I liked her and thought she was interesting and smart,” she said. “So I applied thinking I might like it, too.”

Once she arrived, she knew it was the right choice. “I found my passion here,” said Townsend, who graduated cum laude. “I always felt like they took a chance on me, and I remember being exposed to so many interesting things that I had not even thought about before.”

After graduating with an art history major, she took a position in an advertising agency in New York. Soon after, she began working at a bank as a troubleshooter for major corporate accounts.

After meeting Charles, whom she would marry in 1981, Townsend moved to Denver where she had her first child. They later moved to Rhode Island and had two more children.

While her children were young, Townsend spent most of her time caring for her family and volunteering in her community. In addition to serving on the board of her daughter’s high school, School One, Townsend is involved in the Providence Art Club and Barrington Garden Club.

Even though she is an active volunteer in her community, Townsend was initially hesitant about joining Randolph’s Board of Trustees.

“I don’t really consider myself a ‘Board’ person,” she said. “But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be an interesting challenge for me personally, as well as a learning experience. I really care about this College. And this was a way I could help.”