Virginia (Randel) Burroughs

Servant Leader, BA 1950

Virginia Burroughs has been a servant leader in her community for more than 60 years. As her husband’s career moved the family across Texas and Oklahoma, Virginia was faithful to seek out opportunities to mentor, to teach in her church, and to lead in Bible study.

Virginia Ethel (Randel) Burroughs was born August 19, 1929, in Wichita Falls, Texas. The eldest daughter of James and Karin Randel, Virginia graduated from Wichita Falls High School in 1946. She then enrolled at Hardin-Simmons University, where she was a speech-drama major, minoring in English. While attending Hardin-Simmons, Virginia was a member of the Players Club, Alpha Psi Omega, and Student Council.

She met her husband, Glen, at Hardin-Simmons, and the couple married in the summer of 1950 after both had graduated from HSU. They lived in Abilene until 1955 when Glen’s career in the oil exploration industry began to move the young family from Texas to Oklahoma and back to Texas again.

It is said that behind every great man stands a great woman. Virginia is decidedly that woman. As Glen rose in the ranks of the oil industry, Virginia was busy not only in the day-to-day tasks of being a mother to their three children, Kay, Mark, and John, she was also serving in the Lord’s work.

In 1974 Virginia became involved as a leader in Bible Study Fellowship, an international non-denominational Bible study ministry. Within Bible Study Fellowship, she served as a class administrator in 1974 in Conroe, Texas, as a discussion leader in the Dallas class from 1975 to 1980, and as a teaching leader in the Garland, Texas, class from 1980 to 1990.

Finally settling in Dallas in 1975, Virginia began teaching in the college department, and then in the young adult division at First Baptist Church, Dallas. During her Bible Study Fellowship teaching years, she took a sabbatical from teaching at the church until 1990 when she began teaching a weekday ladies Bible study there. She taught that class until 2005.

Since 1995, she also has taught an English Bible class in the Chinese Fellowship at her church. Virginia continues to teach English as a Second Language on a weekly basis at her church from September through May, where she becomes more than just teacher. She develops lasting relationships with her students and their families.

She served as a member of the Pastor’s Search Committee for First Baptist Church of Dallas in 1992-93. She has been a volunteer reader for North Texas Taping and Radio for the Blind and a guest speaker for several women’s church retreats.

Over the years, Virginia and Glen enjoyed travel, spending time in Red River, New Mexico, and Hawaii, and helicopter hiking in Canada. They participated in two mission-building trips to Angel Fire, New Mexico, helping to build Angel Fire Baptist Church. They were also involved in mission-building trips to Vancouver, Canada; Wasilla, Alaska; and Maui, Hawaii. Virginia continues to travel, having visited Israel in 2010 with former missionaries from her church, and vacationing in Hawaii.

Virginia has given back to her alma mater with her time and talent, having served on the HSU Board of Trustees from 1986 to 1995. She also served as chair of the Advancement Committee while a member of the board. Virginia was a member of the 1990-91 Presidential Search Committee for Hardin-Simmons that selected Dr. Lanny Hall to succeed Dr. Jesse C. Fletcher as president.

Throughout their marriage of almost 60 years, she and Glen have not only given their time to HSU, but have also been strong financial supporters of the university. After Glen’s death in 2009, Virginia established the Glen Burroughs Endowed Memorial Business Scholarship to benefit students who are business majors.

Together, she and Glen established the James Randel Athletic Endowment in memory of her father, James. L. Randel, a 1921 graduate of HSU who lettered in baseball as a student. The couple also established the Glen and Virginia Burroughs Endowed Scholarship in 1986.

Virginia is a lifetime member of the HSU Presidents Club, and in 1996, Hardin-Simmons University bestowed upon her the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.

We at Hardin-Simmons University join with her children and grandchildren as we “rise up and call her blessed.”

It is the high honor of Hardin-Simmons University to recognize one of her own and to formally induct Virginia (Randel) Burroughs into the HSU Hall of Leaders.