Rachael Trexler Ellis '44 was an avid painter who cherished R-MWC and remained a loyal supporter during her life. After majoring in studio art, she achieved commercial success in portrait painting. In addition, she was a devoted wife to her husband, Admiral George Ellis, and a wonderful mother to their children. "A Navy wife is one of the most difficult jobs there is because I was gone so often," her husband said. "And indeed I was away on a ship when both of my children were born. So she held the family together as all Navy wives do."
After the death of his wife in 1995, Ellis established the Rachael Trexler Ellis '44 Prize for Excellence in Art in her honor. This award is given yearly to a graduating or rising senior studio art major who exhibits potential and diligence.
Being able to honor two of Rachael's passions-painting and the College-was important to George. He felt Rachael would appreciate giving other studio art majors the opportunity to follow their dreams. "I spent 32 years on active duty in the Navy, and when I was away at sea, her painting was a great benefit to her. It gave her something to focus on, and something intellectually challenging, so it was a wonderful thing for her," he said.
Throughout their 50-year marriage, the couple moved about 20 times for George's career with the Navy, living in places like Japan, Europe, and Hawaii. George said the excitement of living around the world helped Rachael find inspiration for her own work. She used the opportunity to study new techniques and to share her love of art with others.
George and his wife, Carol, attended Randolph's 2012 Stewardship Luncheon during the spring. At the event, they had the opportunity to speak to a few professors and Randolph's president and toured the campus and Randolph's Maier Museum of Art. George said they were impressed by Randolph College today and are excited for its future.
Meeting current students and touring the school reminded George of the time Rachael was chosen as May Queen at R-MWC. "She was one beautiful person, I tell you," he said. He appreciates being able to honor her memory by helping to inspire other students to follow their dreams.