Two permutations are conjugate if and only if they have the same cycle structure, and two complex unitary matrices are conjugate if and only if they have the same set of eigenvalues. Motivated by the large literature on cycles of random permutations and eigenvalues of random unitary matrices, we study conjugacy classes of random elements of finite classical groups. For the case of GL(n,q), this amounts to studying rational canonical forms. This leads naturally to a probability measure on the set of all partitions of all natural numbers. We connect this measure to symmetric function theory, and give algorithms for generating partitions distributed according to this measure. We describe analogous results for the other finite classical groups (unitary, symplectic, orthogonal). We were excited to learn that (at least for GL(n,q)), exactly the same random partitions arise in the “Cohen-Lenstra heuristics” of number theory.