Peter G. Randall '69

The 2021 Francis P. Steel Jr. Award, is awarded to Peter G. Randall, Class of 1969 in recognition of his unique contributions and extraordinary devotion to the school throughout the years.

Mr. Randall has worked at CHA and SCH since 2001. An engineering graduate from Princeton University with an MBA from Wharton, Mr. Randall spent many years working in high-tech companies and served on the CHA Board of Trustees prior to joining the faculty. When he joined, he was the Director of Technology and was responsible for “all things geek.” It was while serving in this role that he started the Robotics Team- an extracurricular competitive robotics activity that quickly evolved into a course, and later the Department of Engineering and Robotics. As a 9th grade student in 2003, I was a student on the first, FIRST Robotics team at SCH. Peter led a small group of students that worked on the robot in the hallway after school. The robot, and equipment was then stored in the second floor server closet at night. Under his guidance and leadership, Robotics and Engineering at SCH has evolved to realize Peter’s vision-- an entire department that offers inquiry and project based experiences to challenge students not just academically, but through the development of noncognitive skills such teamwork, communication, resourcefulness, and persistence. The Department now serves students across the entire Upper School as well as through exploratory and elective classes to all divisions through the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Over the last 20 years, Mr. Randall has dedicated countless hours to the success of his students-- working summers, weekends, and late into the night, often past midnight during Robotics build season. Peter’s unique contributions in creating what has now become part of the core identity of SCH is the perfect representation of this award, through his outstanding and extraordinary devotion to the SCH community.

In 2020, he was honored with a car parade, recognized as a 2020 Phillies All-Star Teacher. In 2019, the 1218 Vulcan Robotics team finished first at the World Championship. However, perhaps the greatest representation of Peter’s impact is the recognition of the influence that he has had on the lives of each of his students. Earlier today I had a conversation with an alum who talked glowingly about how the influence from Peter and the Robotics program allowed his relative to, for the first time, have positive academic experiences and success at CHA and eventually graduate. Personally, I still remember the fear and anxiety that I felt as a Senior at Columbia engineering 11 years ago. My robot was accidentally destroyed overnight just hours before my Senior Design Expo. I stayed up through the night, waiting until 6:30 AM to call Mr. Randall to ask for help. One hour later, my mother was on I-95 on her way to NY with the spare Robot controller that Mr. Randall had loaned me to complete my project. Professionally, my work is inspired by Peter’s legacy, and following his model, I work tirelessly to create the same type of impactful engineering experiences for students around the world. Patrick Awuah once said, "the ability to create is the most empowering thing that can happen to an individual." From hovercrafts and underwater robots, to airplanes and electric vehicles, Peter’s willingness and commitment to invest in and empower every student to realize their vision has created an immeasurable impact that is core to the unique identity of SCH. \

From all of us, THANK YOU and a huge congratulations to Mr. Randall!

 ~ Presented by Chelsey Roebuck’ 06, Distinguished Young Alumnus

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