During this year’s Homecoming celebration Saturday, Sept. 30, the newly-opened visitors center in the Paul R. Stewart Museum will feature its first art exhibit: “Do I Know What I’m Doing: The Multifaceted James D. “Fuzzy” Randolph.” The exhibit will feature a glimpse into the life, interests and talents of the late Fuzzy Randolph, a member of Waynesburg University who passed away last fall.
According to Courtney Dennis, associate director of the Paul R. Stewart Museum, the idea for this exhibit came when brainstorming draws for alumni to attend Homecoming.
“We’re always looking for new activities for Homecoming, and just trying to keep it fresh and have something to keep people coming back each year,” said Dennis. “We knew this space was going to be available, and so I had always intended to have part of it going towards being able to install exhibits.”
Between Dennis and University Planner Mary Fox, they knew an exhibit about Fuzzy would be perfect for two reasons:
“First, most people who came back to Homecoming knew and loved Fuzzy,” said Dennis. “That’s when we thought that this would be something that would really be enjoyed. We are also coming upon the one-year anniversary of his passing on Nov. 10, 2016.”
Because so many alumni could not attend the original memorial event held in Alumni Hall Nov. 29, 2016, Dennis also thought the exhibit could act as a way for people to pay their respects.
“We both thought it would be a fitting tribute to him, as well as something for people to come and enjoy,” she said.
When coming up with the title of the exhibit, Dennis reflected on Fuzzy’s daily routine.
“Part of Fuzzy’s morning ritual here when he was still coming into work was to make rounds through the entire building and stop at each department’s office and say hello,” she said. “As one of his signature catch phrases as he was leaving to go to his next stop, he would always put one hand in the air with his finger raised and basically just say, ‘Now, do I know what I’m doing?’”
At first glance, Dennis knows that those who didn’t know Fuzzy might think the title has an air of mystery to it, but to her and others who were close to him, it means much more.
“This phrase was really him trying to say that he had so many projects going on that day that he wasn’t sure which one he wanted to dive into first,” said Dennis. “Fuzzy was very charismatic and goofy, but one of the best things that brought Fuzzy joy was bringing other people joy, and these greetings and sayings were one way he did that.”
As someone who was especially close to Fuzzy, Dennis said she has struggled while pulling the exhibit together.
“It’s been very emotional,” Dennis said. “Sometimes I get busy in the planning and the details and I focus on checking off all the blocks, but every once in a while it sort of sneaks up on me a little bit, and I really start to miss him even more.”
Now that the exhibit is ready to be viewed, Dennis said she knows Fuzzy would be proud and has been looking over her through each step of the process.
“It’s happy and sad at the same time, but I am so grateful to be able to honor him in this way,” she said. “I know he’d be tickled to see the finished product.”