Spring 2019 Meredith College Magazine

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A Publication for Alumnae and Friends of Meredith College

Spring 2019, Volume 44 Number 1


Beyond Expectations Beyond Strong | The Campaign for Meredith soared past its goal, raising $90,466,720

CONTENTS Meredith Magazine Volume 44, Number 1 Spring 2019 Executive Editor Kristi Eaves-McLennan, ’14, MBA Managing Editors Melyssa Allen Karen T. Dunton Assistant Editor Gaye Hill Writers Reah Nicholson Moore Emily Parker Art Director Vanessa Harris Designer Margaret McIver, ’09 Roberta Rose Alumnae Connection Editor Hilary Allen, ’01 Contributing Writers Donna Bahena, ’18 Brianna Bean, ’19 Sydney Cooper, ’19 Sarah Lindenfeld Hall Wendy Jones Abby Ojeda, ’19 Kelly Morris Roberts, ’91 Alex Rouch, ’20 Suzanne Stanard Nikkia Wertz, ’19 Photographers Symoné Austin Christopher Ferrer Peter Finger Kaili Ingram Travis Jack Gary Knight Brian Lynn Charlotte Claypoole McKinney Susan Murray Kelsie Taylor, ’18 Caleigh Thomas, ’16 Michael Zirkle Meredith College Faculty & Staff

Meredith Magazine exists to serve the Meredith community by providing readers with insight and information about the news, activities, events, programs, plans, and people of the College. Meredith Magazine is published three times a year by the Meredith College Department of Marketing. Questions or comments may be submitted to marketing@meredith.edu. © 2019 Meredith College. The Meredith name and wordmark are registered trademarks of Meredith College and may not be used without permission. All rights reserved. 18-234


Meredith alumnae are breaking barriers in the technology industry


Beyond Strong | The Campaign for Meredith soared past its goal and has positioned the College for an even stronger future

29 MAKING ARISTOTLE ACCESSIBLE − WITH HELP FROM A HIT SITCOM Meredith College professor uses a popular TV show to teach ethics 32 AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT

How Meredith prepared an alumna to launch the Durham Food Hall


Meredith’s Fifth President Speaks at Veterans Day Event


Faculty Distinguished Lecture Explores the Use of Mathematical Modeling in Medicine Dosing

10 Students Lead Women’s Undergraduate Research Conference 15 First Class of Meredith Artists in Residence Exhibit Work


Meredith Campus News


Letter from the President


Meredith Experts in the News



11 Strong Stories 36 Beyond Strong | The Campaign for Meredith 40 Alumnae Connection On the Cover: Alumnae, faculty, staff, students, and supporters of Meredith College came together to support Beyond Strong | The Campaign for Meredith, making it the largest fundraising campaign in the history of the College.


NEWS Meredith’s annual Honoring Women Veterans service featured a keynote address by former president E. Bruce Heilman. The College’s fifth president, a Marine Corps veteran, spoke about his military experience. Read more about the Veterans Day service on page 4.



Students Welcomed to Thanksgiving at President’s Residence By Kristi Eaves-McLennan


ith a warm fire in the background, plates were piled high with turkey, gravy, dressing, and cranberry sauce. Stories of finishing a big project and landing a coveted internship were mixed in with singing, laughter, and recipe requests. A dog scurried – expectantly – from table to table, pausing for head rubs and “dropped” dinner rolls. This was the scene at Massey House, the president’s residence, on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 21, when President Jo Allen, ’80, and members of Meredith’s residence life and international programs staffs hosted a Thanksgiving feast for students staying on campus for the holiday break. “I’ve been proud to host the event for the past several years and “Today – the day before Thanksgiving – is always enjoy time with this special population of students whose my very favorite day of the year. I am grateful I love for Meredith lends a very different but altogether reaffirming get to spend this time with you,” Allen said, as sense of our strengths.” she and her dog, Bachelor, welcomed students — President Jo Allen, ’80 from China, Kenya, Afghanistan, and other far away places. their well-being throughout their time at Mer- that is much more than that – a meal that celAllen began celebrating Thanksgiving with edith,” said Jackson. ebrates the Meredith family, gives students an international and out-of-state students about Kezia Wafula, ’21, who came to Meredith opportunity to meet others who are staying on five years ago. She and Jean Jackson, ’75, vice from Kenya, looks forward to the event. campus, and to plan shared activities over the president for college programs, had the idea “I enjoy the food especially, the house is long Thanksgiving weekend,” said Jackson. to begin this new tradition after the departure beautiful, and I like interacting with the presiOne of Allen’s favorite parts of the event is of an enrollment employee who often hosted dent,” Wafula said. This year’s gathering also hearing students say what they are grateful for international students at his house during gave her the chance to finalize plans for a each year, and “reflect on the year away from Thanksgiving. family and sometimes countries where life is Friendsgiving over the weekend. “I’ve been proud to host the event for the Students meet on campus before the event very different for any number of reasons.” past several years and always enjoy time with to travel together through the Meredith for“The conversations remind me that while this special population of students whose love est to Massey House. Like most Thanksgiving we acknowledge the differences in our culfor Meredith lends a very different but alto- celebrations, the food is plentiful and plays a tures, we cannot assume that our lives, hopes, gether reaffirming sense of our strengths,” said big part in the memory making. The menu and dreams are equally disparate,” she said. Allen. features a dish Allen’s mother always serves “In fact, we readily recognize the very strong The students seemed equally excited to for the holidays. Takeout containers are pro- shared focus on family, friends, security, opspend the afternoon with the woman who vided so the students can experience another portunity, education, and the challenge to live heads their college, as they posed for selfies Thanksgiving tradition − enjoying leftovers for our best lives while working to make the lives with the president and shared stories of their days. of others better as well.” Meredith experiences. Most of all, Allen said, the event serves as And, while the feast plays a central role in “Students are grateful to have a president the event, Jackson says breaking bread together “a reminder of time spent with old and new in Dr. Jo Allen, who welcomes them into her serves a deeper purpose. friends, and that the season of gratitude is alive home and who takes a personal interest in “We come together for a meal but a meal and well at Meredith College.”


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Ring Week Every alumna knows how special the Onyx is and the pride Meredith juniors feel when they earn that ring. In recent years, the junior class has participated in Ring Week, during which members wear fun, symbolic rings in the run-up to Ring Dinner. These photos show one of the rings from Ring Week 2018 and students with their real class rings in front of Johnson Hall before the evening event.


Look for fun photos like these on Meredith’s social media. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @meredithcollege or at facebook.com/meredithcollege.

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Meredith’s Fifth President Speaks at Veterans Day Event By Melyssa Allen


eredith College held its annual Honoring Women Veterans event on November 7, 2018, in Jones Chapel. The keynote speaker was E. Bruce Heilman, a Marine Corps veteran and Meredith’s fifth president. In her welcome, President Jo Allen, ’80, noted that the College honors all veterans, but pays special attention to women veterans “whose service is often overlooked.” She also introduced Heilman as “Meredith’s first serious fundraiser and our first serious friend-raiser.” Heilman, who served in World War II, said women are the fastest growing segment of veterans in the United States. There are more than 86,000 women veterans in North Carolina. “There are additional challenges for women as society continues to assume all veterans are men,” Heilman said. In his speech, Heilman aimed to offer those gathered some sense of what war is like and why many veterans don’t discuss their service. “Too few citizens know why veterans of World War II never talked about their service,” Heilman said. “Everyone, especially young people, should understand what it is like to die for your country.” Heilman shared memories of a fellow veteran who assisted a chaplain at the Battle of Iwo Jima, saying the “reality of the battlefield is far beyond” what is depicted in film and literature ... “only our freedom is worth such a sacrifice.” Heilman’s long career in higher education included serving as Meredith president from 1966-71. From 1971-86, he served as president of the University of Richmond, where he holds the position of chancellor. Heilman is a founder of the Museum of the Marines and a 14-year member of the Board of Trustees for the Marine Corps University. He served on the Heritage Foundation Board while the museum was being built, served as a trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas, for 35


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Three Meredith College presidents were in attendance at Meredith’s Veterans Day event. Eighth President Jo Allen, ’80, and Maureen A. Hartford, seventh president, are shown with E. Bruce Heilman, fifth president.

Service Projects Honor Veterans Two service projects were also held this fall as part of the College’s Veterans Day commemoration. The Honoring Women Veterans Committee, with support from the Student Government Association (SGA) and Student Leadership and Service, provided much-needed supplies to the RDU Airport location of the USO. The supplies help military travelers transition to their next flight or to a local duty station by providing toiletries and snacks.

years, and continues to be a member of the Board of the Virginia War Memorial. Meredith’s Honoring Women Veterans service also included a performance by Encore! and a medley of service anthems. At the closing of the ceremony, the Enloe High School U.S. Army JROTC Drill/Exhibition Team performed in front of Johnson Hall.

The committee, with support from SGA and Student Leadership and Service, also delivered a box of cards to the American Red Cross, Triangle Chapter, for Holiday Cards for Heroes, providing cheer for military members in the hospital or deployed, who either have no family or would not be able to be with them over the holidays. The American Red Cross was especially glad to receive Meredith’s handwritten cards, as many that are donated are machine-written cards.



Why Your Gift Matters


ou no doubt know that our campaign has reached – and surpassed – its $75 million goal. Our donors’ generous gifts for scholarships, facilities, faculty and staff development, and more help ensure Meredith students, faculty, and staff have the resources they need to thrive here. What you may not know is the specific impact those gifts make – the ways they ensure the health of the College and our community. If you have given money for scholarships, you encourage the 95% of our students with academic merit and/or financial need to see Meredith as an option. For those students with academic talents, top institutions around the country are competing for their enrollment. Your scholarship gift raises the visibility of Meredith as a serious contender for their attention. For those students with financial need, most do not see college as even possible until they hear more about financial support that, through your generosity, we can provide. And if you designated your gift for special experiences – study abroad, undergraduate research, community-based learning, athletics, and more – your support infuses classes and friendships with opportunities to encourage

leadership, creativity, and wonder. If you have given money for facilities and infrastructure, your gift helps us create a safe, attractive environment where students connect with each other, with their faculty and staff mentors, and with their friends who visit. The renovation of Johnson Hall and the Elizabeth Triplett Beam Fountain Plaza provide a welcoming, fresh look for the campus, while the Jo Ellen Ammons Welcome Center serves our potential students and their families as a focal point for more information about Meredith. The Bobbitt Clay Williams Executive Suite allows our senior leaders access to one another for easier collaboration on top priorities for the College, while the Lowery Fitness Center provides a modern workout space for our entire community. Other renovations – elevators, air conditioning, boilers/chillers, roofs, sidewalks, and a new electrical grid – are often “invisible,” until they break. With facilities-designated gifts, we air conditioned the kitchen of Belk Dining Hall for the first time, ensured electricity and technology had redundant backup systems in case of outages, reinforced the provision of hot and cold water for showers,

cooking, laboratory experiments, and more. And if you have given to faculty and staff development, your investment ensures the constant updates and information exchanges at the core of a sound education. As a result, our students gain greater upto-date knowledge of their disciplines and greater confidence in their preparation for careers and lives beyond college. Finally, if you designated your gift “for the greatest needs of the college,” we thank you for understanding the kinds of challenges that arise in running this small city with its 24/7 reliance on residences, dining, healthcare, instruction, special events, security, utilities, and more. In total, you are fundamentally “mission critical” to the health and well-being of Meredith College. You and your gifts make a real difference every single day, and we could not be more grateful.

President Jo Allen, ’80

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Cammey Cole Manning is a professor of mathematics and head of Meredith’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. She has been actively involved in several professional organizations where she serves as a mentor and helps plan professional development programs and workshops. Manning earned her B.S. at Duke University and completed her Ph.D. at North Carolina State University.

Faculty Distinguished Lecture Explores the Use of Mathematical Modeling in Medicine Dosing By Reah Nicholson Moore


rofessor of Mathematics Cammey Cole Manning presented her research titled “Mathematical Modeling of Antibiotics: Should the Dose be the Same for Everyone?” at Meredith’s 2018 Faculty Distinguished Lecture, held on October 9 in Jones Auditorium. During the 57th installment of the lecture series, Manning explored how mathematical modeling could be used in determining the dosing of antibiotics. In particular, she looked at whether the same dose of the antibiotic ertapenem should be given to everyone. She opened her talk with a visual showing things might appear the same, but in reality, they differ in many ways, explaining the importance of truly defining a problem before developing the solution model. Manning had three students demonstrate filling jars of various sizes with the same number of M&M’s, showing that the M&M’s will fill each jar differently. “Defining the size of the jar is a really important part of the process. For problems such as this one, it is important to know the size of the jar we are talking about, what type of M&M’s we are using, and what is meant by


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filling the jar. This is all part of defining the problem and making assumptions.” A type of mathematical model, known as a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model, was used to answer the question of whether everyone should receive the same dose of antibiotics. Manning studied the distribution of the antibiotic, ertapenem, in men and women with varying body mass indexes (BMI), following a typical dose, which was based on a normal weight, normal height male. “Clearly, not all people are ‘normal weight, normal height males,’ just as not all jars are quart size and not all M&M’s are plain,” said Manning. Manning found that individuals with higher BMI have a lower free concentration of the drug in the blood. The free concentration is the portion of the drug that is available to fight the infection. She also found that all females, regardless of BMI, store larger amounts of the drug in fat than males. In addition, she found that given the normal dose of the antibiotic, males have a greater potential for the drug to be less effective because of lower levels of free concentration in

the blood, but they are less likely to develop resistant bacteria because of having higher minimum free concentrations in the blood. In comparison, females have a greater probability of undesired side effects because of substantially higher peak concentrations of ertapenem in the blood as well as higher amounts in the fat. “Individuals with higher BMI have a greater minimum free concentration of the drug in the blood and have less chance of developing resistant bacteria,” said Manning. “For individuals with a lower BMI, the drug has a shorter half-life and a lower minimum free concentration; thus, these individuals have a higher probability of undesired side effects and potential for development of resistant bacteria.” Using the results of the mathematical model, Manning’s goal is to develop different dosing regimens in terms of amounts and number of times per day for individuals of different sex, weight, and height. The Faculty Distinguished Lecture was designed to represent a significant achievement of research by a faculty member.

Meredith Going Strong in the Marketplace Meredith’s Going Strong brand can be seen in a variety of places throughout the state of North Carolina and beyond. The College makes strategic decisions to best match the campaign to places where our target audiences will see it. Some recent examples are a multimedia display advertisement in RDU International Airport and in the Broadway season playbills – including smash hit Hamilton! – at Durham Performing Arts Center.

Meredith Experts in the News Meredith College experts have been featured in media outlets including FoxNews.com, Inside Higher Ed, and The Charlotte Observer. “It is certainly worthwhile to continue holding – and trying to hold – individuals accountable and working to find better and more effective ways of doing it. We need better structural mechanisms in place to foster reporting, investigation, and adjudication that puts more power and control into the hands of victims and others who are traditionally marginalized, disempowered, and oppressed within academe. We must also guard against retaliation that targets victims, allies, and whistle-blowers.” — Assistant Professor of Sociology Kris Macomber, in an opinion piece about #MeToo accountability in sociology. The piece was co-written by Macomber’s colleague Matt Ezzell, associate professor of sociology at James Madison University, for Inside Higher Ed.

“With so much research and a wealth of resources available, schools have no excuses left. In this case, the innovation has already been done, studied, and improved. There’s no reason to return to the “classics” when paddling has proven to be an ineffective method of discipline.” — Professor of Psychology Cynthia Edwards and Associate Professor of Psychology Gwynn Morris in an opinion piece against corporal punishment that was published by FoxNews.com.

“For those of us who study gender and politics, the results are hardly surprising. The fundamentals of North Carolina politics for women have changed little in recent years. Campaigns for many offices — not just high profile offices like governor or Congress — have become more time consuming, expensive, and negative. Political scientists argue that women suffer more from “election aversion” than do men and thus never file for office.” — Professor of Political Science David McLennan in an op-ed written for The Charlotte Observer about the lack of women political candidates in North Carolina.

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Subscribe to Meredith’s YouTube channel to make sure you won’t miss any new episodes of The Meredith Minute video series.

The Female Warrior Grows Up: Unlikely Heroines in Today’s Young Adult Fiction By Kelly Morris Roberts, ’91


trong female protagonists in young adult fiction are nothing new. From Nancy Drew to Annemarie Johansen – Lois Lowry’s selfless heroine in Holocaust-era Number the Stars – to a plucky young Lucy Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia, Young Adult Literature (YAL) has always enjoyed a healthy share of women ready to figure it all out, enlighten those around them, and sometimes literally save the day. But the female protagonists who star in this decade’s crop of young adult fiction show some interesting shifts. One refreshing trend is unlikely heroines – young women who are not really looking for fame or grandiose accomplishments but are simply trying to survive. These protagonists are everyday whispering warriors. They show quiet strength at times but mostly just embody a confident if unassuming way of walking in a world where they definitely belong but feel no obligation to prove it. A stellar example lies in the character of Marin in Nina LaCour’s Printz-winning novel We Are Okay. While Marin masterfully shows common internal struggles, she also spends a lonely, snowy holiday fighting ennui and remembering the gentle, confusing lies her grandfather piled up before he died. In the end, she simply decides to “be” in the world; her resolution that “we are okay” indeed becomes as profound as any battle cry. Another trend is the proliferation of young women who embrace their imperfection in whatever big or small form it may come, much more willing to reveal their humanity. Perhaps with this trend, young


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adult fiction has grown up the most. These characters and their courageous authors feel no need for tidy endings or polished edges. The most recent standout in this trend is Starr Carter in Angie Thomas’ wildly successful The Hate U Give. Caught up in the senseless shooting of a neighborhood teen, Starr struggles to find her voice. This piece is powerful all the way until its resolution precisely because Starr is a conflicted and confused character redefining what it means to be “strong” as she traverses tragic and atypical situations. One final trend in today’s YAL heroine is that she is increasingly diverse and inclusive. Amazing books written by equally amazing women of color have been racking up awards: The Lions of Little Rock, by Kristin Levine, and Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn, both by Jacqueline Woodson, are notable examples. Perhaps this trend provides a challenge for the next stage of the genre: as diverse as YAL is becoming, it still lags behind the demographics of its audience. Tomorrow’s heroines, we hope, can be even more inclusive, representative, accessible, and inspiring.

Kelly Morris Roberts, ’91, Ph.D., is an associate professor of English and program coordinator for 6-9 and 9-12 English licensure at Meredith. Her research interests include autobiographical written reflections on lived experience, social justice initiatives in education, portfolio assessment, giftedness, service learning, teacher education, and young adult literature.



Meredith Volleyball Wins USA South Championship, Earns Honors By Wendy Jones


eredith College Volleyball (MCVB) won its second USA South Conference title this fall and earned a spot in the NCAA tournament. The team also earned several honors during the season. Outside hitter Caroline Corey, ’20, earned her second individual award and MCVB’s first as the Player of the Year. Head Coach Fiona Barkley garnered Coach of the Year honors. Both awards marked a first for Meredith volleyball. Corey collected her second career individual honor, having earned Rookie of the Year in 2016. She earned First Team All-Conference and First Team East Division honors for the third consecutive season. She led the conference in points scored per set with 4.3 while also averaging 3.58 kills and 2.81 digs per set with a .225 hitting percentage. Additionally, Corey tallied 45 service aces, 23 blocks, and 16 assists this season. In matches versus USA South opposition, Corey averaged 3.75 kills, 2.86 digs, and 4.3 points per set with a .241 hitting percentage. She was named USA South Player of the Week twice during the season. In her 11th year leading Meredith and one year removed from taking a season away from the bench, Barkley earned her first USA South Volleyball Coach of the Year honor. With a current 21-4 overall record, Barkley has led Meredith to five 20-plus win seasons. Haley Reeg, ’19, collected her first volleyball season award as a member of the East Division First Team, also being named to the All-Sportsmanship Team. Reeg ranks in the top 20 among league players with 12 block solos, 46 total blocks, and 0.55 blocks per set. Cathy Delano, ’20, landed on the East Division Second Team as the Avenging Angels’ top blocker. She ranks in the USA South’s top-10 with 54 block assists, 63 total blocks, and 0.74 blocks per set this season and third in the league with 48 service aces. Delano also contributed 132 kills, 15 assists, and 59 digs.

Newsmakers Fifteen Meredith students competed at the Regent University School of Law Moot Court tournament on Friday, November 9. The students practiced their oral communication and critical thinking skills as they argued a fictional Supreme Court case in front of Regent law students and law professors. Meredith history faculty members participated in a N.C. Museum of History panel discussion on the impact of World War I. Assistant Professor of History Angela Robbins moderated the panel while Professor of History Gregory Vitarbo and Professor Emerita Carolyn Happer were among the panelists. The panel was a continuation of the department’s commemoration of the centennial of the Great War, which included last year's WWI Symposium. Head Lacrosse Coach Lauren Scott was selected to represent the Avenging Angels at the October 30 Carolina Hurricanes game. Scott sounded the pregame warning siren just prior to the opening faceoff. The tradition began in 2008-09, giving a selected community member an opportunity to sound the siren to bring the team on the ice. Scott joined the likes of Canes alumni, Super Bowl champions, golf champions, Olympic gold medalists, NFL and MLB players, ACC football and basketball greats, NASCAR drivers, and more. Meredith College received a $900 grant from Campus Compact to support voter engagement activities prior to the midterm election. The Campus Election Engagement Project grant was used for a variety of activities aimed at increasing voter turnout among students, including two “pledge” events in which students were asked to identify the reasons they are voting and to take a pledge to vote on or before Election Day.

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Students Lead Women’s Undergraduate Research Conference By Nikkia Wertz, ’19


eredith College held a weeklong celebration of undergraduate research October 7-13, which concluded with the Women’s Undergraduate Research Conference (WURC). The student-run event, which featured research from all disciplines, offered development focused sessions on such subjects as research involvement and LinkedIn. The conference allowed both Meredith students and visiting researchers from the Cooperating Raleigh Colleges (CRC), a nonprofit consortium that promotes collaboration among higher education institutions in Raleigh, to present their research. Student organizers of the event felt there was a need for the conference in regards to research on the Meredith campus. “When we reflected on our own experiences before getting involved in research and how overwhelmed we felt at the idea of research before knowing what it truly meant, we realized the need for an event that included people at all stages in the research process,” said Rachel Crawford, ’19. “Events like the ones we held during WURC Week would have made the idea of research feel more accessible to me,

so I wanted us to do something like that for freshmen and sophomores who felt similarly.” According to Paul Winterhoff, director of undergraduate research, there are benefits to presenting one’s research at the conference. “Research goes on students’ resumes. I’ve had so many graduates talk to me about how research was a major factor in getting their job,” said Winterhoff. “Research is practice in speaking and presentation.” During the conference, Walda Powell, professor of chemistry, physics, and geoscience at Meredith, and Andrea Marritt, then associate

professor of biological sciences, presented the keynote address. The faculty and students responsible for the research conference are eager to have people, particularly women, of all disciplines present their research at next year’s conference. Their goal is to change the perception of what research is and who can present research. “Part of the point of focusing on women’s undergraduate research is to emphasize the involvement of women, but to also emphasize the underrepresented communities in research,” said Winterhoff.

Meredith College Mourns Passing of Former Director of Alumnae Affairs


eredith College mourns the loss of Cleo Glover Perry, ’45, former director of alumnae affairs, who died on November 8, 2018, at the age of 94. Perry joined the alumnae affairs staff at Meredith after a 30-year career as a teacher in Wake County Public Schools. She served her alma mater for more than a decade, including as the College’s fourth director of alumnae affairs. Perry also served as Alumnae Association


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President from 1966-68. She was the recipient of Meredith’s 1987 Outstanding Alumna Award and the 2004 Philanthropy Award. She served on the Meredith Legacy Scholarship Steering Committee and was a lifetime member of the Friends of the Library. In 1989, the College beautified the entrance to the Frankie G. Weems Art Gallery, planting a garden there and dedicating it during commencement weekend to Perry. The Meredith

Magazine article about the dedication noted that as director of alumnae affairs, Perry “lifted the importance of alumnae giving to a new level.” Her own giving to Meredith included establishing the Elwood and Cleo Perry Endowment for the Meredith Legacy Scholarship. Memorial contributions may be made to the Elwood and Cleo Perry Honors Scholarship at Meredith College.


Fulfilling a Lifelong Dream By Donna Bahena, ’18


argaret Gaskin-Tuell, ’18, began her journey of becoming an artist as a young girl the day her father built her an easel. She went on to graduate from high school, enter the workforce, build a family with her husband, and travel the world. But throughout that time, she never stopped painting, and she never gave up on her dream of earning a degree in her craft – a dream that ultimately led her to Meredith College. Despite many attempts to continue her education, Gaskin-Tuell, who was always traveling, never stayed in one place long enough to complete her degree. She retired in 1997 and eventually moved to North Carolina. She enrolled in a graphic design program in Durham, but did not feel that graphic design challenged her in the way she needed. “I wanted to paint. My love was the art of painting,” said Gaskin-Tuell. “I can use more imagination on a canvas than on a computer. think and keeps me focused,” Gaskin-Tuell It’s all in my head. And once it’s there, it has to said. “On the whole [becoming involved] has come out on the canvas.” enriched my life and made me an all-around After being referred to Meredith by an better person.” alumna, Gaskin-Tuell met with Professor of Her participation in the Meredith commuArt Beth Mulvaney, who later became her nity inspired her to become involved in her adviser. She fell in local community. She visits relove with the cam- “Meredith as a whole has tirement homes with her therapy pus community and given me the strength to dog in an attempt to bring joy to transferred in 2015, go out and give back to the people who are not able to have 18 years after retire- community.” pets of their own. ment. Gaskin-Tuell — Margaret Gaskin-Tuell, ’18 “It is a rewarding feeling to see became involved the light come back into people’s on campus, serving in the WINGS Adult Stu- eyes,” she said. “Meredith as a whole has given dent Organization, Kappa Pi, and the Artists’ me the strength to go out and give back to the Alliance. She was also on the Dean’s List, and community.” was presented with the Wings Adult Student Returning to school posed a challenge, inOrganization Outstanding Member Award in cluding learning to sharpen her time manage2016 and 2017. ment skills in order to be successful in different Her close connections with students and courses and to paint as necessary. She credits faculty were sources of encouragement and the faculty at Meredith for much of her acasupport. Her involvement with different or- demic success. ganizations gave her the opportunity to tackle “If it hadn’t been for the faculty, I don’t challenges by working together with different think I would have made it,” said Gaskin-Tuell. generations. “Meredith has some of the best faculty I have “It is nice to see how younger people are ever seen. They always have time for you. They handling different problems. It makes me remember your name. It gives you that warm

Margaret Gaskin-Tuell, ’18

feeling that you are not alone.” Her memories, including those she made at Meredith, inspired the theme of her senior art exhibition, “African Celebration and Rituals.” The paintings featured were largely influenced by the stories she read in her African American Literature course and what she learned about fading African traditions and rituals. GaskinTuell’s exhibition also included art inspired by her family, including a tribute to her mother’s love for music. “It is awesome to be able to express how I feel through my paintings,” said Gaskin-Tuell. “I love to take a clean canvas and transform it into a beautiful painting. I feel blessed to have the talent.” As an alumna, the lifelong artist will continue to paint as she always has. But she has no intention of leaving the belonging she found at Meredith. Gaskin-Tuell plans to be a nondegree seeking student and audit courses while continuing to inspire Meredith Angels to follow through on their dreams – wherever those dreams may take them. Find more stories like this one at meredith.edu/ goingstrong. Learn more about Wings – Adult Education at Meredith at meredith.edu/wings. S p ring 2019 | M E R E D I T H M A G A Z I N E




Event Empowers Girls to Pursue Tech Careers By Kristi Eaves-McLennan


inety-one high school girls from Wake, Durham, and Orange counties spent the first weekend of December on Meredith’s campus building and racing robots, creating Android apps, filming videos, tinkering with Raspberry Pi mini-computers, and learning about 3D printing. These young women were participants in ChickTech Raleigh-Durham’s two-day, hands-on workshop for high school girls. The annual event, in its second year, is held to encourage high school girls to enter computing and technical fields. Meredith College’s School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences was one of the sponsors of the event, along with corporate sponsors such as Red Hat, NetApp, Fidelity Investments, and ARA. Natural and Mathematical Sciences Dean Liz Wolfinger said the school sponsors the event because it “empowers girls with skills in all areas of through the nooks and “Dr. Allen truly sees STEM, and that’s where crannies of the problems and we want to focus our out- STEM as one of the potential solutions.” ways to empower reach.” In her introduction of Al“Having these young women to be leaders in len, Wolfinger noted how apwomen and their families the world.” propriate it was for Meredith’s on our campus, using our — Liz Wolfinger president to deliver a message facilities, and seeing how to ChickTech participants. committed we are to teaching STEM com“She is a strong woman with a deep communicates a message to the broader commu- mitment to the value of education,” Wolfinnity that Meredith is a force in STEM,” she ger said. “Dr. Allen truly sees STEM as one added. of the ways to empower women to be leaders Meredith President Jo Allen, ’80, served as a in the world.” keynote speaker for the workshop – a role she Allen’s message to ChickTech participants agreed to take on because she was inspired by was one of empowerment, encouraging the the girls who participated in ChickTech. young women to use their strengths, to work “Their intellect and their fascination with together, and to be resilient when faced with technology suggests a counter-argument challenges. defying stereotypes about what girls are “My first message to you is work from your interested in – and what they are good at strengths,” she said. “There’s a whole world Byyou Meaghan Bixby doing,” Allen said. “We know that girls are out there that might tell ‘you’re not good collaborative, communicative problem-solvers. enough’ — but you are good enough.” It’s exciting to see how they approach both She also emphasized the importance of new and lasting puzzles and how they think taking risks and failing.


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“We want you to work from a proactive, response, and resilience mode,” Allen said. “It’s okay to fail, because if you don’t fail, it means you are not doing enough.” Following Allen’s opening address on Sunday morning, participants finished projects started the day before and displayed them for their families and sponsors in a closing event. Founded in Portland in 2013, ChickTech is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging more women to enter high-tech fields. Chick Tech Raleigh-Durham was founded in 2016.

Student Voice: Why I Opted Against a Co-Ed College By Abby Ojeda, ’19


hile running on campus recently, I noticed that the sun was bursting through the leaves of ancient oak trees and onto bright fields of grass. I was suddenly amazed by the beauty of this quiet, natural respite in the middle of a growing city. In this moment, I realized a distinct contrast between my current inner confidence and the anxious uncertainty I felt as I arrived on campus. After graduating from high school, when I told people I was attending a women’s college, I could count on hearing a common refrain: “You won’t have to worry about boys.” This remark could not have terrified me more than if they had said, “Get thee to a nunnery!” After my first several days without seeing one male peer (even the former Girl Scout in me was overwhelmed), I became concerned that I would never have a male friend again, much less date one. However, after a few months involving frantic attempts to socialize with the male half of the species on other nearby college campuses, I stopped worrying about boys. I stopped worrying because I had found a place that welcomed my voice. In my co-ed

public high school, even though I consistently earned A grades, I rarely answered a question in class voluntarily. At Meredith College, women do not compete for the right to talk; room for our voices already exists, and all we must do is speak. It is time to consider how the rest of society can similarly elevate women’s voices, because the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have demonstrated that our society has refused for too long to listen to female voices. Women trying to speak out about devastating experiences of sexual harassment and assault have been routinely and systematically silenced. I say “routinely and systematically” because this silencing often begins in seemingly insignificant areas of society. I experienced this firsthand during a class I took at a nearby coed university through a program that allows local students to enroll in courses at other area schools. It was disconcerting that three men in a class of 20 were allowed to commandeer the discussion. But I strove to use my voice more frequently, and less fearfully, than I had in the past. Ultimately, I determined that not only inside but also outside of the all-women bubble with its empowering feminist atmosphere, my women’s college education worked: I could carry my strength with me. The forging of female strength at women’s colleges is often ignored. Instead, people get hung up on socializing – college girls must meet college boys, but how could this possibly happen for women cloistered within the walls of an all-women’s college? We’re not stranded

in a wasteland. We even have cellphones. But no one ever thinks that we can – and do – leave campus. We visit co-ed schools, local hangouts, and places of worship. Emphasizing the descriptor only women is problematic because of an undertone that implies an unfortunate lack of male presence, and concern over socializing trivializes our college experiences. In light of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, we should be asking why society disparages the value of female empowerment and spaces that foster it. New college graduates are entering careers blighted by previously unrecognized or unspoken sexism and patriarchal power trips. After four years of not worrying about boys, I know my education has equipped me with the strength to follow recent feminist pioneers, but we should not wait until women are beginning their careers to encourage and listen to their voices. The quiet and reserved voice I held freshman year would never have emerged without the countless small, meaningful lessons that engaged my voice at my all-women’s college. While men and women are equals and should be treated as such, women have a unique voice and presence in society that are specifically empowered on all-female campuses. That’s why there is hope. New voices of empowered women with the foundational experiences of women’s colleges are moving out into the world, where I know our voices will grow even stronger. This essay was originally published by The Hechinger Report.

First-Year Students Service Project The Class of 2022 collected canned food to support areas of the state that were affected by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael. More than 380 cans were donated through this service project, which also involved students sharing messages of gratitude that were used to create an art installation in Cate Student Center.

S ummer S p ring 2019 2017 | M E R E D I T H M A G A Z I N E




Board of Trustees Approve 2019-20 Faculty Sabbaticals The Meredith College Board of Trustees has approved sabbaticals for the following faculty members. Sabbaticals provide faculty with time to devote to professional development and scholarship. These opportunities strengthen faculty as teachers and directly impact the quality of a Meredith education. FALL 2019


• Associate Professor of Education Tisha Duncan will explore constructivism as well as many facets of today’s college students and how we acknowledge and address the characteristics and concerns of emerging adults in higher education. She will research areas related to learner centered instruction and emerging adulthood, examining how these impact students’ transition to college, including K-12 academic preparation (traditional, nontraditional, differently schooled), standardized assessments, social media and digital influences, social/emotional issues, brain development, and peer relationships. A long-term goal would be to publish a book to share the outcome of this project.

• Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures Astrid Billat plans to write a novel in Spanish during her sabbatical. The book, El Niño Que No Decia Mama (The Boy That Would Not Say Mama) will describe the struggles and joys of a mother and her son navigating the world of autism during a 10-year period. This project aims to educate others, specifically the local Latino and immigrant communities.

• Associate Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies Shannon Grimes’ sabbatical project is Medieval Arabian Alchemy. She will further research and write an article on the images, interpreting them and deciphering the allegory in light of the ancient Zosimean literature and its transmission in medieval Arab culture.

• Associate Professor of Communication Carla Ross will conduct research and publication on the REACH method of forgiveness with Everett Worthington. Her research will support understanding how individuals in relationships deal with the challenge of forgiveness and reconciliation even while being able to handle conflict in a healthy manner.

• Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures Brent Pitts will continue work started in the summer of 2017 on the Anglo-Norman Bible’s book of Joshua. This is a critical edition/essay for publication.

Professor Emerita Receives Raleigh Medal of Arts


rofessor Emerita Fran Page was one of the 2018 recipients of the Raleigh Medal of Arts, presented on November 13 at Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The Raleigh Medal of Arts is the City’s highest arts honor. Page was recognized for her 36 years of service to Meredith College’s music program and her work as founder and director of the Capital City Girls Choir, a choir for girls from age 9 to 18. For more than three decades, Page has shaped the lives of the youth in the greater Raleigh area as well as young women from around the United States. She is considered a pioneer in her field – balancing the demand of leading a college music program with creating one of the


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finest girls choir programs in the country. She oversaw a three-choir program with a busy performance schedule around the world. The Capital City Girls Choir has performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall, and venues across Europe. At Meredith, Page served in many capacities, including as chair of her department, coordinator of music education, and director of choral activities. She has also served as president of the North Carolina Music Educators Association and the National Association for Music Education’s southern division. In the program for the awards ceremony, Page said, “Music is such a gift. It feeds the soul and touches the heart the way nothing else can. I am so fortunate to have been able to share the gift of music with so many. I am immensely honored to have my work recognized by this award.”

First Class of Meredith Artists in Residence Exhibit Work By Melyssa Allen


uring the fall 2018 semester, the Meredith Department of Art hosted its first Artists in Residence (AIR) class, a program aimed at supporting new artists. Janie Kimmel, ’13, Jessie Taylor, ’16, and Meaghan Evans, ’18, make up this first AIR group. All three majored in studio art at Meredith. Their work was on display in an exhibition titled Resist, Cut, Reveal, in the Weems Gallery from December 17, 2018, through January 11, 2019. An exhibition of their work is one of the benefits of the AIR program. Among the other benefits are a stipend, access to Meredith art facilities, a dedicated workspace, faculty mentorship, and monthly group critiques. The artists also complete 10 hours a week of experiential learning, in topics such as teaching methodology, gallery management, and more. Janie Kimmel is a fiber artist who worked with faculty mentor Assistant Professor of Art Emily Howard. “I saw [this program] as a perfect opportunity to carve out time to devote to my practice as a maker, with my personal essentials present: equipment and a supportive creative community,” Kimmel said of her AIR objectives. “When I arrived back at Meredith, my goals with my work were more

centered on developing well-crafted pieces people could buy and use in their homes. Now, a more conceptual nature of making has reentered my work, which I see as a direct result of my time here.” Jessie Taylor also worked as a fiber artist with Emily Howard. She was drawn to the AIR program for the opportunity to return to Meredith’s studios. “As soon as I graduated, I was ready to go back to school and keep creating. I immediately missed the environment in Gaddy-Hamrick. Since graduating it has been tremendously hard to balance a full-time job and a fulfilling art career. I also chose a process, ikat weaving, that I do not have the tools to do at my house. Having full access to the studios on campus was too much of a treat to pass up,” Taylor said. Meaghan Evans is a ceramics artist who worked with Assistant Professor of Art Holly Fischer. Evans says the most rewarding part of the AIR program is being in an environment of artists. “I am grateful for the opportunity to learn the proper skills and techniques required to create a beautiful and personal body of work,” Evans said. “For the first time, I feel like I am making work that I am unashamedly proud of. It’s an exciting development for me as a person and as an artist.”

Faculty mentor Holly Fischer has been pleased with how the AIR program is supporting Meredith artists and their growth. “My role as a faculty mentor involved regularly meeting with my AIR to discuss her progress, direction, and goals,” Fischer said. “We problem solved together and explored experimental techniques. We discussed how concepts can be pushed further and what message the visual representations are conveying to viewers.” In addition to allowing AIRs to work on their own art in a supportive environment, current students benefit from AIRs who provided feedback and assistance. “The AIRs assisted students both during class and through open-lab-hours outside of class, they have participated in Junior Review and Senior Exhibition critiques, they participated in the Annual Holiday Art Sale, and they modeled the process of creating a self-determined, mature body-of-work and working toward specific career goals within their chosen medium,” Fischer said. “Having recently been students, they were able to offer invaluable insights on the struggles and breakthroughs experienced by current students.”

S ummer S p ring 2019 2018 | M E R E D I T H M A G A Z I N E



According to a new study released by CompTIA, a leading

that is geared towards success

IT association, Raleigh is ranked

in any field, Meredith has a solid

as the number two Tech Town in

reputation among employers.

the nation, offering IT workers an

Graduates have found success in

abundance of job opportunities

the technology industry and are

and a desirable quality of life.

excelling as tech professionals.

Meredith College is located just

following pages are thriving in the

a perfect location for women

tech world. They’ve overcome

interested in a career in the

the obstacles of being in a male-

technology field.

dominated industry, and they aren’t

successful careers in STEM fields.

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The graduates featured on the

minutes from downtown Raleigh,

Meredith prepares women for


With a liberal arts foundation

afraid to take on a challenge.


Women make up less than 20% of U.S. tech jobs. − Small Business Trends

No. 2

Raleigh ranks as the No. 2 Tech Town in the nation. − CompTIA

S p ring F all 2018 2019 | M E R E D I T H M A G A Z I N E


SARAH WILLIAMS MILLER, ’91 Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Neiman Marcus Group B.S. Mathematics Computer Science Concentration

With the fashion company, From early on in her education, Sarah Miller knew she wanted to work in the Miller started out as vice presitechnical field. It wasn’t until she was 12 dent over enterprise applicayears old that she had her first exposure to tions in 2013 before being protechnology and computer programming moted to senior vice president while attending a computer camp. With and chief information officer that experience, she fell in love with coding. (CIO) in 2016. As CIO, Miller is a member Going into college, Miller wanted to pursue a computer science or computer engineering of the executive leadership team type field, but she didn’t know how she was and helps with formulating going to get there. An all women’s college in- the company’s strategy. She is trigued her because of the personal, individual- responsible for developing all the technology strategies and ized attention and the academic focus. “In a technical field like this, it is important road maps to support that stratto have that mentorship and that individual- egy, while overseeing about 230 ized attention from your professors. That is associates and working with Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus. more than 700 partners. why I chose Meredith,” said Miller. technology, Meredith gave me the confidence “My interactions from a day-to-day perMeredith’s location near Research Triangle needed to enter the technology field,” said Park was perfect for Miller, who had her eyes spective are a lot of engagement with our busiMiller. “Meredith helped me have a voice, set on IBM from a very young age. When ness partners, our customers, and our brand helped me understand how to sell myself, looking for a co-op opportunity, Miller target- partners to understand business problems that and taught me how to express my opinions they are trying to solve, or solued IBM. With the aseffectively.” tions that we are trying to get sistance of the Office “Meredith helped me Miller has made a point of bringing to our customers, to translating of Career Planning, have a voice, helped women into technology. At Neiman Marcus, that back to how we develop the she landed a co-op me understand how to she is part of a Women in Technology group, technologies to enable that.” position there. sell myself, and taught where she mentors other women, advocates In the beginning of her 28 “The co-op with me how to express my years in the tech industry, Miller for women in tech at local schools, and IBM really solidified opinions effectively.” had to overcome the challenges helps young women better understand the my decision to work — Sarah Williams Miller, ’91 of being in a male-dominated opportunities available in technology and the in the tech field,” industry. She found that she was education needed to move into those roles. said Miller. “I was “There are lots of opportunities available for very lucky to get the co-op that I did at IBM. often underestimated as one of the youngest women in technology,” said Miller. “I think I knew that was where I wanted to work, and in her peer group and as a woman. Miller had to prove her leadership and other skill sets and younger women and girls get intimidated by that position got my foot in the door.” From a co-op to a full-time position as a how she could be effective in her role. And she technology because of the lack of women in computer programmer, Miller started her credits her mentors, male and female, for help- the field and the lack of having role models. career in the place where she had always ing her along the way and for taking a special There are a lot of resources for women and dreamed. She spent nine years with IBM, be- interest in her, whether it was understanding girls out now to teach coding and the basics fore taking on roles at Nash Finch Co, Lowe’s a career option or how she could improve her of technology. Having that foundation and education early on will help women be less Home Improvement, and now with Neiman leadership skills to move to the next level. “As a woman with an interest in learning intimidated.” Marcus Group in Dallas, Texas.


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MERCY RIALEM, ’17 Software Developer, Credit Suisse B.S. Computer Science B.S. Business Administration

Mercy Rialem was always good at math and science, and she thoroughly enjoyed the subjects. So, it seemed fitting that she would take a STEM-related path in college. Not sure which direction to take, Rialem took her first computer science course during her first semester at Meredith. That was when she knew that computer science was the field she wanted to pursue. Because she was also fascinated by the world of business, she added a business administration major. “Meredith’s small class sizes and personalized attention from professors and faculty allowed me to thrive academically and build long-lasting relationships,” said Rialem. As a woman pursuing a career in the technology field, Rialem knew she needed to be prepared for the industry. And Meredith provided a plethora of opportunities. She served as a student assistant in the technology services

department, interned as a technology assistant that she wouldn’t match up to her male counfor Raleigh Mortgage Group, and landed an terparts. At some point, she had to shake that internship with Credit Suisse – leading to a intimidation off. She worked hard to learn the ropes, and she has found success. full-time position after graduation. “The classes I took at Meredith gave me In her role as a software developer for Credit Suisse, Rialem’s main responsibility is a good foundation and sharpened my critical to develop and maintain IT solutions that ful- and analytical skills that are essential in this fill business needs and aid in the smooth run- field. All of my experiences played a critical ning of the business. She spends much of her role in shaping me into a well-rounded day collaborating with colleagues, thinking individual.” As a woman in tech, Rialem is actively enthrough problems that need to be solved, and gaged in volunteer activities coding the solutions. that help develop a talent And she is constantly “The classes I took at Meredith gave me a good pipeline of young women learning and growing. “As much as coding foundation and sharpened and narrow the gender gap in the field. She has served is the order of the day my critical and analytical as a Girls Who Code Club for me, I really enjoy skills that are essential in facilitator at Research Trianthe fact that I work this field.” gle High School in an effort with very smart indi- — Mercy Rialem, ’17 to expose young women to viduals whom I learn a technology and generate an lot from,” said Rialem. “It is very satisfying because every problem interest and enthusiasm for tech before colgives you a different challenge and perspec- lege. And she has worked and interacted with other women in the field who serve as mentive. There is always something new to learn.” Being in the tech industry has presented a tors and provide support. “Meredith taught me to go strong wherever few challenges for Rialem. As a beginner, Rialem was a little intimidated starting out in I go,” Rialem said. a male-dominated field. She was afraid she didn’t know enough to do the job well, and S p ring 2019 | M E R E D I T H M A G A Z I N E


JESSI AGEE, ’10 Software Engineer, Imangi Studios B.S. Political Science

When Jessi Agee started her college search, women’s colleges were at the top of the list. Coming from a small math and science high school, Agee wanted a similar environment. Because Meredith offered an attractive location and a better financial aid package than other schools, the Alabama native enrolled. With a number of interests ranging from building computers to robotics, to public interest and public policy, Agee chose to major in political science. Meredith’s liberal arts foundation allowed her to still take the tech classes that she enjoyed, while completing her cate, Agee began working as a software engimajor and three minors. “I took a lot of advanced math classes. I neer for Imangi Studios, the makers of Temple took Java and advanced statistics classes,” said Run and Temple Run II. “My current role is to do more of the experiAgee. “I also took several biology courses and Women in Science. I invested in as much mental and architectural programming,” said Agee. “For the next three years, we are going technical stuff as I could.” to be working on three Then, a casual com“I gained a lot of confidence new games. I am helping ment changed her life to lay the foundation for – and her career path – from Meredith. If I hadn't had the personality that I our future products. My forever. While at Meredith, have and if I hadn't had the passion right now is on the native side, like plugAgee worked several jobs backing of having gone to ins, getting our games to including a 30-hour per such a strong school then I week job at PetSmart. probably would have failed.” work with the iOS and Android platforms, as During one of her shifts, — Jessi Agee, ’10 well as making sure it can she ran into the engineerrun on different devices.” ing quality assurance Being at Imangi Studios, Agee has had the (QA) lead of Epic Games. A mutual bond over video games, which started with a simple "Hel- opportunity to take on various tasks involved lo! Those are cool shoes,” turned into a direct in game creation from coding the buttons and menus to programming the game play eleconnection to the gaming industry. After learning that there were entry level ments. “The biggest things I got from Meredith positions at Epic that didn’t require a technical degree, Agee applied, interviewed, and were the soft skills and learning how to deal was hired, starting her career in QA for Epic in a day-to-day world, especially going into a Games. Two and a half years later, she moved male-dominated industry,” said Agee. From being ignored and talked over to havto Oracle as a result of another connection – ing ideas and suggestions stolen and presented this time with a Meredith alumna. After receiving her computer science certifi- by co-workers, Agee has experienced signifi-


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cant challenges and obstacles. “The biggest obstacle is getting into the field,” said Agee. “I gained a lot of confidence from Meredith. If I hadn’t had the personality that I have and if I hadn’t had the backing of having gone to such a strong school then I probably would have failed. I feel personally responsible for other people who may not be as willing or able to speak up.” Meredith gave Agee the confidence and strength to stand up for herself and to be a voice for others. She uses those strengths to encourage other women who are interested in STEM, including Meredith students. Agee returns to Meredith on a regular basis to speak in science courses and on career panels. “I do a lot of work with getting young girls and women involved in STEM,” said Agee. “I work with Black Girls Code and Girl Scouts of America, and try to put on group talks and workshops. Part of my political science program was investing in underrepresented populations and women, specifically.” In the gaming industry, your biggest accomplishment is having your name listed in the credits. Agee is listed in the credits for Gears of War, Bulletstorm, Infinity Blade, Temple Run, and Temple Run II. That is success for this gamer.

JENNIFER BURKE-HARRIS DURBIN, ’00 Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sales have been held in all 50 states. Senior Director, IT Service Excellence, Cree, Inc. B.A. Political Studies

When Jennifer Burke-Harris Durbin Cree’s global IT employees. “Two aspects of my job graduated from Meredith, her goal was not to enter into the technology field. that I love are raising awareWith a bachelor’s degree in political stud- ness and understanding of key technical and compliance ies, Durbin started her career in finance. “Meredith College was the perfect fit for challenges across the organime as a small liberal arts school, which gave zation, and impacting change me the ability to explore a wide variety of dis- and organizational maturity,” said Durbin. “Having the opciplines,” said Durbin. Durbin started her career managing the portunity to see programs we corporate financial planning and analysis initiated a year ago blossom team at RTI International when she enrolled into transformation initiain business school. After earning her MBA, tives that reach across the she was offered an opportunity to transition globe and throughout all areas of our business is truly an into the IT field. “My experience in finance and my diverse honor.” One of the most imporeducational background have positioned me to bridge the classic communication gap be- tant skills she gained from tween technologists and the business,” said Meredith that she leverages Durbin. “Effectively translating technology daily is thinking outside the box and looking at each challenge, into ‘plain English’ that whether it be technicustomers and non- “Meredith College was the cal, managerial, or technologists can un- perfect fit for me as a small financial, from every derstand is an art form liberal arts school, which gave and one of my favorite me the ability to explore a wide angle. Durbin has been parts of my job.” variety of disciplines.” recognized for her acIn her 11 years in the — Jennifer Burke-Harris Durbin, ’00 complishments. She field, Durbin has led was named one of production support, quality assurance, security and compliance, the Triangle Business Journal’s Top 40 Under IT audit, service desk, desktop engineering, 40 Leaders and was a 2015 Greater Raleigh risk and governance, and IT service manage- Chamber of Commerce Emerging Leader. Even with the success, Durbin is not imment. In her current role, Durbin’s core respon- mune to the challenges of working in an sibilities are leading IT governance, risk and industry that is dominated by men. She has compliance, IT service management, running encountered obstacles at professional conferIT as a business, and developing IT’s transfor- ences and with vendors. “While I cannot change the behaviors and mational framework. Her job entails everything from establishing data protection poli- opinions of others, I do have the ability to imcies, reviewing IT security requirements in a pact change with my own actions and whom client contract to assessing the impact a new I choose to do business with,” said Durbin. She has overcome these challenges by fodata privacy law will have on Cree’s IT operations, and planning IT process training for cusing her attention and spending on compa-

nies that support diversity and inclusion. For most of her career, she has been very fortunate to work at companies that value and promote diversity. “My Meredith experience instilled in me the importance of helping others and promoting organizations and activities focused on positive improvements, which I believe is ultimately the best way to overcome obstacles,” said Durbin. Durbin feels giving back and helping remove obstacles for others is a privilege. She has supported many local organizations that promote women in technology such as the Association for Information Technology Professionals (AITP), Youth Leadership of Wake Forest, and TEKsystems Women in IT. “Above all, have faith in yourself and remember that you do not have to map out your entire career before graduation,” said Durbin. “It may take some time and a false start or two to settle into the right career, and that is perfectly fine. Celebrate your wins, learn from your losses, and understand that success looks different for each of us.” S p ring 2019 | M E R E D I T H M A G A Z I N E


Beyond Expectations Beyond Strong | The Campaign for Meredith soared past its goal, creating extraordinary opportunities for current students and positioning the College for an even stronger future.

Photography by Charlotte Claypoole McKinney.


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$90,466,720 Surpassing the $75 million goal by $15,466,720

By Suzanne Stanard


ierra Moorefield, ’18, still remembers possible by the generosity of the College’s the look on her mother’s face when alumnae, faculty, staff, and supporters. And now, thanks to Beyond Strong | The she had to tell her daughter that she Campaign for Meredith, even more students could not afford to send her to college. Opportunities were slim for Moorefield, a will have the chance to follow in the footsteps high-achieving student who grew up in the of those before them. Eastern North Carolina town of Newport, population 4,617. But she never stopped work- More Than a Number The enormously successful Campaign ing hard and dreaming big. kicked off its silent phase in 2012, then went Then one day, an unforgettable phone call public in grand style with the announcement came. Moorefield had earned the prestigious of a $75 million goal during the 2016 FoundMeredith Legacy Scholarship – which is en- ers’ Day celebration. At that point, the Camtirely merit-based – to attend Meredith Col- paign had already raised $52 million, exceedlege, turning her dreams into reality and pro- ing the College’s previous campaign total by $11 million. pelling her toward a career in science. In June 2018, the Campaign With the guidance of “Without the support of passed the $75 million mark, a her professors and advismilestone that Meredith Presiers, Moorefield partici- the Meredith Legacy dent Jo Allen, ’80, won’t soon pated in undergraduate Scholarship, I could not have attended this forget. research and internships “There are always some unthat solidified her inter- wonderful institution.” knowns going into a campaign,” est in toxicology and — Sierra Moorefield, ’18 she said. “It may take you 30 prepared her for graduyears to reach your goal, but you will evenate school. She also enjoyed international tually make it. The pace of this Campaign, experiences, including studying abroad in the enthusiasm for Meredith, the readiness, Scotland. “Without the support of the Meredith the passion people have for this College, it Legacy Scholarship, I could not have at- all came together very nicely. I’m thrilled that tended this wonderful institution,” she said. we exceeded our goal.” Lennie Barton, vice president for institu“I would not have had the chance to chase down all of these amazing opportunities. tional advancement, agrees. “I have to admit I thought $75 million was This scholarship changed my life.” a stretch,” Barton said. “Keep in mind that Today, Moorefield is a doctoral student in toxicology at North Carolina State University. Meredith raised $41 million in the previous Moorefield’s story is one of many. Count- campaign, just five years before we started this less Meredith students have benefited from one. And we were coming out of the recession. scholarships and other opportunities made I have been through four major campaigns in

IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE THE CAMPAIGN IN ONE WORD, WHAT WOULD IT BE? EXHILARATING “I think giving is one of the things that defines Meredith. You can see from our history, from our alumnae, from our current students that when you invest in them, you get an enormous return on that investment.” — Meredith College President

Jo Allen, ’80, donor

STRONG “It is more necessary than ever that women have the opportunity to study at a single-sex college. This Campaign is an investment, not only in our campus, but in assuring our students that this college believes in them, and that Meredith will still be around for the next generation of leaders.” — Ella Frantz, ’80, Board of Trustees

member, donor

TRANSFORMATIVE “This Campaign is important to Meredith as it has raised the giving expectations within the Meredith community. Thirty-two individuals have contributed $1 million or more. Our Annual Fund has surpassed all previous giving totals. I believe this is because of the confidence our alumnae, faculty, staff, and all contributors have in the direction of the College. Meredith is going strong into the future.” — Ann Lowery, ’74, Campaign

co-chair, former Board of Trustees

member, donor

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On Founders’ Day 2016, President Jo Allen announced the $75 million goal and invited alumnae to join her on stage to celebrate.

my career, and this is by far the most successful one I’ve ever been associated with.” The Campaign closed in December, raising a grand total of $90,466,720. Barton said success is defined by far more than a number, though. “It’s about the enthusiasm and the involvement of volunteers and our administration, our Board of Trustees, key friends, faculty, and staff,” he said. Jo Cooper, ’67, described the Campaign as a team effort. As Campaign co-chair, Board of Trustees

32 Gifts

at the million-dollar level or greater


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member, and donor, Cooper saw firsthand how the Campaign energized the Meredith community. “The entire community came together, which I think speaks volumes about the College and the quality of the education that students receive at Meredith,” she said. The Campaign also made a statement, Allen said, about the value of Meredith in the current challenging climate of higher education. “There is a rather pervasive message out there that women’s colleges can’t make it, that they’re closing,” she said. “And it’s just not true. There are fewer, of course, and some have changed. But that’s a story in higher education altogether, and it’s really not only about women’s colleges.” Allen thinks Meredith has been able to turn that message around and show that we

$116 Million college endowment grew $49 million

“Scholarships for Meredith matter because we want to bring in a well-rounded class of great academic talent, but also the students who’ve never really had a chance to shine. And those who have great need or have overcome great difficulties in their lives. These women come in and do phenomenal things.” — President Jo Allen, ’80


number of major gifts $25,000 or more

are going strong through the outcome of this Campaign. “We certainly celebrate the money raised, but it’s also important that there are people out there who see Meredith as being worthy of million-dollar gifts,” Allen said. “It’s been really exciting to know that people are looking at Meredith in a new way.” In fact, during the Campaign, the College received 32 gifts at the million-dollar level or greater, a significant spike from the three such gifts raised during the previous campaign. The College’s endowment also grew from $67 million to $116 million. “I am particularly proud of the growth of Meredith’s endowment,” said donor and Campaign Co-chair Ann Lowery, ’74, whose generosity enabled the creation of the Lowery Fitness Center. “This is an endowment noteworthy for a small college. Endowments are a symbol of trust – trusting that Meredith College will continue to invest wisely in educating strong women.”

$39,773,277 $13,746,329 in planned gifts

gifts to The Meredith Fund

Every Gift Matters Built around the six pillars of the College’s strategic plan, the Campaign focused on growing support for these priority areas: academic excellence, enrollment, financial strength, facilities and technology, marketing and visibility, and quality of life. And, as diverse as they are, each one experienced tremendous success. The Campaign paved the way for new academic programs ranging from public health to hospitality management. It enabled the creation of the StrongPoints® signature program, enhanced study abroad, and expanded the Wings program. On the enrollment front, the Campaign raised more than $35 million in scholarship funding, including more than 92 new scholarship endowments and funds. “Scholarships for Meredith matter because we want to bring in a well-rounded class of great academic talent, but also the students who’ve never really had a chance to shine.


faculty and staff giving during the Campaign

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And those who have great need or have overcome great difficulties in their lives,” Allen said. “These women come in and do phenomenal things.” Perhaps the most visible outcome of the Campaign are the new and enhanced facilities on campus, such as the newly-renovated Johnson Hall, Jo Ellen Ammons Welcome Center, Lowery Fitness Center, and Elizabeth Triplett Beam Fountain Plaza. They’ve made the campus even more inviting, functional, and beautiful, Allen said. But the facilities gifts you can’t necessarily see are also important to the College’s success, she said. “We received an anonymous gift that was totally unrestricted, and it’s been wonderful


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A Culture of Philanthropy

“One of the most exciting things for me was learning how much our faculty and staff were giving back. Seventy-three percent is just mind-boggling.” — President Jo Allen, ’80

reporting back to the donor how we’ve used it because I think we’ve spent it on things they might never have thought to single out,” she said. “For instance, we had three elevators in poor condition, including one in the building where we house disability services. Repairing those was critical.” Another anonymous gift allowed Meredith to build a new electrical grid, replacing a badly outdated system, much of which was original to the College’s construction. “The money that’s come in for the College’s

$35,940,269 raised for scholarships

greatest needs is incredibly valuable,” Allen said. “That’s the money that pays the utility bills or repairs a sidewalk. Nobody gets excited about giving $650,000 for a new boiler. But a whole campus full of cold showers on winter mornings isn’t going to help us very much. Gifts like these make a big difference.” Other Campaign highlights include new and enhanced faculty and staff development support, a new wellness program for faculty and staff, and new student clubs and organizations. And in support of the marketing and visibility pillar, the Campaign fueled the development of the widely acclaimed Going Strong brand campaign.


new scholarship endowments and funds

Perhaps more than anything, the Campaign elicited support from the entire Meredith community in an unprecedented way. According to both Allen and Barton, the outpouring of support from the College’s faculty and staff was phenomenal. A whopping 73.2 percent made gifts during the Campaign (compared to the national average of 26 percent). “One of the most exciting things for me was learning how much our faculty and staff were giving back,” Allen said. “Seventy-three percent is just mind-boggling. I’m grateful for the gifts, absolutely. But, to recognize what it really symbolizes, is that people are working at a place they believe in. And, I don’t know that 73 percent of the American or the world population believes in the place where they work.” The annual giving total raised in the Meredith Fund climbed from nearly $700,000 a year before the Campaign to $2.3 million last year. Thirty-eight percent of alumnae gave during the Campaign (compared to 18 percent nationally). And Meredith parents also got in on the action, contributing over $3 million. “I think we have changed the culture of philanthropy at Meredith College,” Barton said. “The understanding that you need to continue to support your alma mater and love it like you always have might be an intangible accomplishment of this Campaign.” Whether you’re a member of the faculty or staff, an alumna, or a friend of the College, giving back is key, said Leslie Hayes, ’80, Board of Trustees chair, donor, and member of the Campaign steering committee. “Meredith provides students with an exceptional education, the opportunity to learn and grow, and build skills,” she said. “Supporting Meredith ensures that we have the best faculty, a great campus, and buildings with the latest equipment. We have to grow and change to stay relevant, and supporting Meredith is a great investment.”

$3,000,000 from Meredith parents

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“I think we have changed the culture of philanthropy at Meredith College. The understanding that you need to continue to support your alma mater and love it like you always have might be an intangible accomplishment of this Campaign.” — Lennie Barton

Fortifying the Future The Campaign raised more than $39 million in planned gifts, which means individuals designated gifts in their wills to benefit Meredith in the future. The growth of this pipeline signifies investment in the College in more ways than one, Allen said. “Everybody wants to believe in the longevity of things that they love,” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a place, or person, or institution. The number of people who have given estate gifts is tremendous. It is really important because it shows that they trust us. They believe that Meredith College will consistently be doing the right things for our students.” Providing for students is at the heart of the Campaign giving them unique opportunities, supporting their academic and personal growth, and sending them out into the world prepared to be leaders. “I believe everything I’ve done in my career revolved around having gone to Meredith,” Cooper said. “I had pride and I had confidence when I left Meredith. I believed I could set out to do a lot of different things,


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and I think it’s really important for women to have that sort of undaunted spirit.” Women like Sierra Moorefield. “The Meredith Legacy Scholarship was a pathway to my future,” she said. “Many of these career opportunities would not have been available to me if I had not attended Meredith.” Moorefield is living proof that giving matters. Because fundraising is about far more than just numbers. This Campaign ignited a community and sparked momentum that will fuel the College’s growth and enable the creation of even more opportunities for even more students. “This is just the beginning,” Allen said. “Thank you for believing that Meredith and its community are worth investing in,” she said. “Thank you for believing that we are capable and innovative. “Keep watching us. We’re going to do even more.” Watch a video of President Allen, ’80 announcing the campaign total on youtube.com/meredithcollege.

“I think Meredith had always been a little shy about going after big donations, and I think it took courage for the College to step out and do it. When we set the original goal there were a lot of people who doubted whether we could achieve it. Well, not only did we do it, but we exceeded many people’s expectations.” — Jo Cooper, ’67, Campaign co- chair, Board of Trustees member, donor

SUCCESSFUL “Fabulously successful. Tremendously successful. What this Campaign has done is help ensure Meredith’s financial future in a lot of ways. We will continue to benefit from it for years to come.” — Lennie Barton, vice president for

institutional advancement, donor

EXTRAORDINARY “This Campaign not only supports current needs and opportunities for Meredith to continue growing today, but positions the College for the future. Meredith is thriving, and this Campaign ensures that the College will continue to be relevant for many years ahead.” — Leslie Hayes, ’80, Board of Trustee chair, Campaign steering committee member, donor

Photography by Charlotte Claypoole McKinney and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Making Aristotle Accessible − With Help From A Hit Sitcom Using The Good Place to teach students about ethical theories is unorthodox, but highly effective. By Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

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“One of my strengths as a teacher is the ability to find the reference that makes the theory accessible to students.” − Steven A. Benko

Associate Professor Steven A. Benko has designed a religious ethics course around the NBC sitcom The Good Place.


n RES 104, Meredith’s course on religious ethics and social issues, students wade into the obvious topics – utilitarianism, existentialism, and influential texts by philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Aristotle. But then the syllabus for Associate Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies Steven A. Benko’s class takes an unexpected turn. Benko’s homework assignments also require students to watch The Good Place, NBC’s hit comedy starring Kristen Bell, the voice of Anna from Disney’s Frozen, and Ted Danson, who rose to fame playing Sam Malone on Cheers. Using a TV sitcom to teach students about ethical theories and moral values might seem like an unorthodox approach, but Benko’s course featuring The Good Place is now a sought-after class at Meredith. In fact, both students and faculty members say his innova-


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tive teaching method is an especially effective way to make complex ethical theories easier to understand. “If you just start reading Kant and all about utilitarianism and ethical egoism, it’s really hard to grasp those ideas,” said Laken Eby, a December 2018 graduate with an exercise and sports science major and minor in religion. “In The Good Place, we were able to see those ideas in play.”

Taking philosophy seriously The Good Place, now in its third season, is a hit with academics like Benko, who spend their professional lives sorting out the issues that the show addresses. The show’s creator and writers regularly cover thorny philosophical conundrums and consult with academics as they build their storylines. In the first season, the main character, Elea-

Kristen Bell as Eleanor and William Jackson Harper as Chidi. Benko says Chidi, an ethics professor, is a favorite of academics. Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC

nor, played by Bell, finds herself in The Good Place in the afterlife, but realizes she is there by mistake. So, she makes efforts to improve herself, in part with the help of Chidi, a uni-

“It made me re-evaluate a lot of my actions and inactions that I will take in the future, based on these ideas that I've learned and these moral philosophies.” − Bailey Birtchet, ’21 Ted Danson, best known as Sam Malone on Cheers, plays Michael Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC

Eleanor and Tahani, played by Jameela Jamil, are two of the strong women characters in The Good Place Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC

versity ethics professor, who also has landed in The Good Place. “I don’t know very many academics who don’t watch the show and focus on Chidi and obsess over every little thing that he does and whether they have gotten it right,” Benko said. Soon after it launched, Benko was hooked. “I saw how seriously they were taking philosophy,” he said. Benko talked about the show as he taught RES 104 in fall 2017, but officially included it in the syllabus for the spring 2018 class. He took a break from teaching it in fall 2018 to co-edit a book of essays on The Good Place for Open Court Publishing Company. Sarah Roth, dean of Meredith’s School of Arts & Humanities, said anything faculty can do to help students make connections between the classroom and real life, especially in a class on ethics, is critical. “It’s so important for students, for citizens, for professionals to bring a sense of ethics into what they do,” Roth said. “It’s a different technique, but I think it might be a more effective technique than talking strictly theoretically.”

Making philosophy accessible Benko has pulled pop culture into his class before. “One of my strengths as a teacher,” said Benko, “is the ability to find the reference that makes the theory accessible to students.” But RES 104 is the first time he’s based an entire class on a television show. To create the course, he’s watched each episode in the first two seasons five to seven times - and 8:30 p.m., Thursdays, are sacred when the show is on.

Benko said The Good Place works so well as a show – and as a text for his class – for three primary reasons. It makes philosophy accessible to the average person, who isn’t steeped in the musings of Plato or Hume, by applying their teachings to relatable 21st century dilemmas. The show features women as philosophers, which is particularly important for Benko as he teaches a class entirely made up of women. Another character, Tahani, follows a similar journey with Eleanor. “Both women are shown engaging with philosophy, learning it, and understanding themselves better than they would have otherwise,” said Benko. “That’s really important for the students to see: women being active agents in their own creation and self-understanding.” Finally, The Good Place takes knowledge seriously, portraying characters who seek to better themselves through study and selfreflection. “There is moral growth on this show, and it’s not easy and it’s not obvious,” said Andrew Pavelich, an associate professor of philosophy at University of Houston – Downtown and co-editor of the book on The Good Place with Benko. “... They have to learn what the right thing is.”

Launching lively discussions In the classroom, The Good Place has provided fodder for lively discussions that considered everything from ethical theories to how women are portrayed in media and how the

show tackles the afterlife but remains secular. Students read texts by historical and contemporary philosophers that are related to the episode they are assigned to watch. They also turn in a writing assignment about whether the featured ethical theory would get someone to The Good Place. “Even without the TV show, it would have been one of my favorite classes, if not my favorite,” said Madison Gladwell, a junior double majoring in psychology and political science and minoring in criminology. “I thrive off of debate, and Dr. Benko has this amazing way of questioning literally everything.” Bailey Birtchet, a sophomore graphic design major who is minoring in marketing, said the class reinforced her own beliefs, but made her think more deeply about them. “It made me re-evaluate a lot of my actions and inactions that I will take in the future, based on these ideas that I’ve learned and these moral philosophies,” she said.

It’s ‘all Meredith’ Benko’s book with Pavelich, The Good Place and Philosophy, will feature a collection of essays by academics on topics related to the show. Slated to come out in spring or summer 2019, it is intended for a general audience and will be widely available. Both Benko and Pavelich also will have essays in it. And Benko’s RES 104, featuring The Good Place, is back on the schedule in spring 2019. “I don’t know if this would be possible at a lot of other colleges,” Benko said. “I think we care a lot that our students learn. We care a lot that our teachers are innovative. That I had energy and enthusiasm for the project and that I can be innovative in the classroom … that’s all Meredith.” S p ring 2019 | M E R E D I T H M A G A Z I N E


An Entrepreneurial Spirit How Meredith prepared an alumna to launch the Durham Food Hall By Gaye Hill


rowing up, Adair Mueller, ’11, had a strong identity. She would frequently find herself at the front of the line without trying – she just seemed to have a natural instinct for leadership. That changed in middle and high school. The influence of social media was growing – she felt challenged socially and somehow lost that strong sense of self. But at Meredith, she found herself remembering her earlier identity. “When I walked on Meredith’s campus, I remembered ‘this is who I am and these are all the incredible things I can do and be.’” Mueller thrived in the intimate classroom atmosphere and loved the individual attention from professors. She found the high expectations for learning among her faculty and classmates exciting and productive. “At Meredith, I felt people respected the sanctity of the classroom. That’s how I was brought up, and the students at Meredith were on board with those values.” Mueller also appreciated learning in a women’s college setting, located in a thriving capital city. And she loved participating in traditions like crook hunt; she remembers thinking that women had done them for years and years before her, and felt a sense of connection


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to her predecessors. For Mueller, that women’s college experience has paid off. “As a woman in the business world, I have experienced a lot of sexism,” said Mueller. “Meredith gave me the voice of empowerment and the foundational sense that women can do anything.” Her newest and most formidable project to date, launching Durham Food Hall, is putting all of that experience and chutzpah to good use.

Building an entrepreneurial foundation It is not surprising that Mueller’s career path has taken an entrepreneurial turn. Her parents and grandfather were entrepreneurs, and while at Meredith she researched the topic, exploring whether big businesses or entrepreneurs fare better in times of recession. She found that small businesses do better because they are more nimble. “It was a great learning experience. I interviewed a range of entrepreneurs, from a woman who sold scented oils at a kiosk in the mall to a woman who sold gourmet teas that she shipped out of her home,” said Mueller. “It was so valuable to see different revenue models and how people make their businesses work.”

While still at Meredith, Mueller was also invited to help launch a product after it won a national new product idea competition. She conducted research and development to assess viability and market entry, investigated sales and marketing channels, and led creation of the name, brand strategy, and logo. Mueller said her degree in business administration developed important skills she uses daily, from business accounting classes where she learned to develop Excel sheets she uses when approaching investors for funding, to understanding how to negotiate contracts. Her ceramics professor pushed her creative boundaries, and introduced her to another set of entrepreneurs. “He took us to Seagrove, where we learned about and met artists whose families had been running their businesses for generations.” Finally, Mueller’s passion for sustainability was nurtured at Meredith, where she served as president of Angels for the Environment and lobbied on Capitol Hill while attending a national summit on climate change. Those experiences have guided the development of Durham Food Hall, where vendors will be composting on site and local designers and builders are using reclaimed materials in building the space.

“As a woman in the business world, I have experienced a lot of sexism. Meredith gave me the voice of empowerment and the foundational sense that women can do anything.” – Adair Mueller, ’11

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Developing a vision After graduating from Meredith, Mueller spent a number of years climbing the corporate ladder, working for a startup that was purchased by Citrix, and then moving to Manhattan where she worked for LinkedIn. Those were heady years for Mueller, who was interacting with C-level executives at highly successful companies. She found the energy of the city inspiring. “Everyone is hustling, from the hot dog guy on the street to executives. You start to push yourself,” said Mueller. “I am so thankful that I was in New York when I was early in my career and could take advantage of all those opportunities.”


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While working for LinkedIn, she met Vember Conner, a colleague, and now close friend. They were part of a group who met monthly to discuss the challenges and benefits of being women in business who were focused on creating dynamic career paths. “Adair was a top performer at LinkedIn in her sales role, and was a powerful addition to the LinkedIn for Good team,” said Conner. “She is never one to stop at what is expected of her and always goes the distance to create positive impact in any community she is a part of.” Conner, who now works for Pendo.io, is a fellow entrepreneur. Conner is not surprised by Mueller’s success. “Adair is one of those people; she can do

anything she puts her mind to. She has such a pleasant demeanor, but don’t be fooled; she is a seasoned and determined business professional who has always gotten it done,” said Conner. It was in New York that the seed for the Durham Food Hall was planted. Mueller noticed that she and her friends would travel 40 blocks to get to a food hall. She was drawn to their chef-driven meals at an affordable price and the unique atmosphere that provided a natural gathering place. As much as she was thriving, she knew she didn’t want to be in New York City forever. She missed the natural beauty where she had grown up and at times found it difficult to be surrounded by so many people.

“Adair is one of those people; she can do anything she puts her mind to. She has such a pleasant demeanor, but don't be fooled; she is a seasoned and determined business professional who has always gotten it done.” − Vember Conner

Taking the leap Finding a quiet place where she was able to reflect and dream became essential as her plans to open the Food Hall took shape. Her favorite such spot, the Minerva Café, became the namesake for the company she formed when she returned to Durham. When Mueller decided to take the plunge, she spent months doing in-depth research. She traveled through Europe and Canada, exploring food halls that are abundant there and taking notes. She was equally thoughtful in choosing the location for her business. “I didn’t want to come back to Durham just because it seemed easy.” Instead, she relied on pure data, developing endless spreadsheets to help identify the right spot. Out of 30 possible locations, she narrowed it down to three: Nashville, Austin, and Durham. All had a strong food culture and similar arts scenes that would welcome such a venture. In the end, she said, something just kept pulling her back to Durham. Now that she’s here she is happy to be home, and recognizes the advantages of having an existing network of support. And, she notes, it all worked out for the best, because since then food halls have opened in both Nashville and Austin. In Durham, hers will be the first.

The dream comes to life Although the Durham Food Hall naturally centers around food, the space itself is just as important to Mueller’s concept. She thinks

part of the reason food halls are having a moment is in reaction to the ever-present distractions of technology. “Gathering used to happen more naturally, but now everyone is on their phones. I think that’s why my generation is craving direct social interaction.” Mueller feels fortunate to have found two ideal partners with whom to launch the Food Hall. Kristin Bedinger, hall director, has extensive experience opening restaurants, most recently at The Durham Hotel. Brad Farran, beverage director, worked extensively in New York and has published cocktail recipes in magazines and books. Mueller said this is a unique opportunity for Farran. “Usually in a bar you’re focused only on the spirit, or in a restaurant with a single food genre. He’s excited to play off the genres of 10 different vendors.” Mueller said their shared values of sustainability are shaping the project in significant ways, from the curation of their vendors to the locally-built furniture. Choosing the vendors was a project in itself, and she drew on her background in sales to encourage sought-after chefs to come on board. The Hall, which offers two bars and event space as well as food, will house a variety of spaces for gathering, from a large Z-shaped table by Bull City Designs that seats 30 people, to smaller, more intimate nooks. “Many restaurants need the turnover, but we can allow our customers to stay for a while,” said Mueller. “It will be fun to see how

the different types of spaces are used by our community.”

Giving back Since returning to the Triangle area, Mueller has intentionally reconnected with her alma mater. She has focused on the Office of Career Planning (OCP) because of its impact on her own experience, especially Dana Sumner, director of OCP. “When you’re finding a career path after college sometimes it feels like you’re picking a path forever,” said Mueller. “At this time when you could be so frantic, she was a voice of reason for me. I still help people with their resumes using what she showed me.” Mueller is one of five founding members of the Alumnae Advisory Council on Career Readiness. They have focused on internships, working to make them fruitful for both students and employers. She has also participated in mock interviews with students. Reflecting on her path, she said she thinks the key is to be sure you’re paying attention to what resonates with you, because it will change over time. “There’s no one right way to be fulfilled and successful. I had incredible experiences in big companies before leaving to start my own,” said Mueller. “Listen to your heart – whatever your path, you have to find your own way.” Watch a video of Adair Mueller at work on youtube.com/ meredithcollege.

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BEYOND STRONG The Campaign for Meredith

Meredith Receives a $5 million Gift for the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences


eredith College is pleased to announce a $5 million planned gift from anonymous donors that will establish an Academic Excellence Innovation Fund for the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. The gift will perpetuate a positive, innovative, and optimal environment for women seeking majors in STEM disciplines. The endowment will support initiatives in undergraduate student support, curriculum and academic program development, and faculty development. Priority will be given to undergraduate student support. Spendable income from the fund may be used to support undergraduate research and assistantships, funding for students to attend academic conferences, cohort internships, competitive summer research fellowships, and resources for laboratory


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equipment that allows both students and faculty to work with cutting edge technologies. This gift will also support the development of new majors, as well as graduate and certificate programs. It may also provide faculty externships that allow faculty to spend time in an industry and engage in research that will inform their teaching and research methods. This will allow them to make connections for student internships and career opportunities as well as sabbatical research. The alumna, a mathematics and chemistry major, and her husband said, “We have many organizations and efforts we believe in and support, but we wanted to give somewhere it could really make a difference and make an impact. Meredith College is just such a place and it’s very special to us.”

After the donors decided to support Meredith, they let the College know and had conversations with Institutional Advancement, which gave them a chance to explore their options and to help shape the use of the gift. “It was a journey and process to decide on the details of the gift, but going through that process allowed us to fully grasp the completely donor centric nature of the College. We learned very quickly we could trust the College to work with us and connect us to the faculty and staff that could help us craft the gift.” The donors toured the science and mathematics labs and then met with faculty and Liz Wolfinger, dean of the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. “We were so impressed with the vibrant facilities and faculty — even the walls in

the Science and Math building feature students and their research. We were struck by that,” said the donors. “That visit reaffirmed strongly that Meredith still thrives in the same culture, support, acceptance, and encouragement that existed many decades ago.” Wolfinger is pleased that the donors have shown interest in what the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences is currently doing and have chosen to leave a legacy that funds a promising future for women in STEM at Meredith. “News of a transformational gift like this will help us recruit and retain students, staff, and faculty since it is a vote of confidence in Meredith and its strong future,” says Wolfinger. The donors feel every gift to Meredith

Together we made history. Beyond Strong | The Campaign for Meredith raised $90,466,720 to support the Meredith community. It was the most ambitious fundraising effort ever for Meredith College. Each gift was important and our students, faculty, and staff are grateful for our donors’ generosity. See what we accomplished, watch our video, and learn how you can continue to show your support at meredith.edu/beyondstrong.

makes a difference. Many donors often feel they cannot give in a way that will make an impact, but these donors encourage all to look for opportunities and give to the ideas and projects that are important to them. Working with the College and taking time to figure out what you can do is imperative. “We started by talking with an estate attorney and making sure we took care of our family first. Then we decided we wanted to give a gift to Meredith,” said the donors. “We felt it was important to inform Meredith that we were including the College in our estate plans, because we wanted their help in establishing how it would be used.” College education was very important to both sets of the donors’ parents. The donors understand that many sacrifices were made to enable them to obtain a


college degree. Having the opportunity to support women in their educational endeavors means the world to them. The donors do not want to draw attention to themselves, but instead to the gift and how it will help students and faculty. Their goal is to expand and extend student and faculty horizons, open doors, and expand experiential learning opportunities. “We are committed to this gift today more than ever before and we want to motivate others to do similar things. This type of gift can happen for any part of Meredith College.” As they have taught their daughter and grandchildren about giving, “Philanthropy is realizing dreams and helping change the world.”



TOTAL RAISED (6/30/18)












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BEYOND STRONG The Campaign for Meredith

Meredith Athletics Receives Transformational Gift “Education was always a top priority to my mother. I want the athletes who use the locker room to know that she believed in the purpose and direction of Meredith College and she loved seeing strong women succeed,” says Brown. In 2018 Meredith Athletics had many successes including the lacrosse team winning their game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the volleyball team winning the USA South Volleyball Championship, Carlee Joseph, a lacrosse player, receiving the most prestigious award in the USA South Conference, the Don Scalf Award, and last year Meredith Athletics was home to 49 AllAcademic athletes. “I am so happy to have such a large major gift to the athletic department,” says Jackie Meyers, athletic director. “Our desire is to use this gift to make a positive impact on our teams and program and to keep the momentum going.”


eredith College Athletics has received a $200,000 gift from the Speight family to name the locker room in Weatherspoon Athletic Complex in memory of Mary Estes Speight, ’53. Chris Speight Brown, ’76, and her siblings Elizabeth Speight Cooley and Robert Wilton Speight, Jr. along with Brown’s daughter, Lisa Brown De Armas, ’03, joined together to support Meredith because of the love they have for their mother and grandmother. Athletics has always been important to the Speight family. Brown was an Aqua Angel for four years at Meredith and enjoyed golf and tennis. Cooley played basketball at NC State University and Speight, Jr. played basketball before transferring to NC State. Their father, Bobby Speight, was an All American basketball player at NC State from 1949-53. “Meredith was important to my mother,” says Brown. “I want my grandchildren and family to have a tangible place to go for years to come that is named for this special woman.” When Brown talks about her mother, you can hear the admiration and how pleased she is that her mother’s influence encouraged her to attend Meredith. Brown’s mother nurtured her to find her strengths as well, so she could decide on a major. As a senior in high school her mother had her take personality tests that proved organization, math, and supervising were her strengths. Once at Meredith, Brown majored in business management.


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“We are very grateful to Chris and the Speight family for their generosity. This gift has been transformational for our department. We have new energy and motivation to continue this trend and raise funds for future endeavors.” — Samantha Maziejka, Assistant Director of Athletics for Development

If you are interested in supporting Meredith Athletics, please contact Samantha Maziejka, at (919) 760-8589 or slmaziejka@meredith.edu.

Psychology Department Receives First Named Scholarship


om and Mary Dossenbach know firsthand that Meredith College educates young women to be prepared to enter their career with confidence and the knowledge they need to succeed. Two of their three daughters are Meredith graduates and Mary attended as well. When the Dossenbachs started thinking about how they could support the Beyond Strong Campaign, they kept their Meredith experiences in mind and thought about endowing a scholarship. Their gift that endows a scholarship in psychology, the first of its kind in the department, stemmed from their daughter Meg and her husband, Brad, having a special needs daughter, Kate, who is on the autism spectrum and cannot verbally communicate at six years old. “Tom and I see firsthand the need for trained professionals who are educated and prepared to help children like Kate as well as adults,” says Mary. “We knew that we wanted to do something to help and encourage students who were interested in this field of study and working with special needs children and adults in their career.” Mary, as a Board of Trustee member, is on the Academic and Campus Life Committee and first learned about the Meredith Autism Program (MAP) from Jean Jackson, vice president for college programs. That knowledge led her to begin discussing with Institutional Advancement how scholarships could help support the Autism program and the psychology department. By communicating their wishes, the Dossenbachs were able to work with Meredith and figure out the best way to support students. After Cindy Edwards, department head of psychology and social work, gave them a tour of the autism facilities and explained how the program was structured, the Dossenbachs were impressed. “Our daughters attended Meredith because of the stellar art

program and education department and gained confidence in their academics, but also in their leadership skills,” says Mary. “We saw how the College prepared them and we wanted to do something to help and encourage students in this area of study as well.”

The Dossenbachs know that the students who receive their scholarship will be well prepared for their careers once they leave Meredith College and hope will pay it forward in the future. “Our ultimate desire is that this gift will bless and help make a lasting difference for a few Meredith women who will go into careers to serve those with special needs, and, in turn, that those individuals with special needs will experience a better quality of life,” says Mary. Edwards agrees that the ripple effect of this scholarship is the true gift. “The Dossenbachs gift will change the lives beyond the student receiving the scholarship. Because of their vision and generosity, a future professional will touch the lives of many individuals with special needs as well as their families.”

Support Meredith Our momentum has never been stronger at Meredith College. You enabled us to have a record breaking Beyond Strong Campaign and for that we are eternally grateful. There are a number of ways you can support Meredith. Make a gift that addresses the most pressing needs of the College. Select another, more specific way to make an immediate impact on the College. Or, make a long-term, endowed gift.

Visit meredith.edu/beyondstrong to make a gift or contact a staff member in Institutional Advancement to assist you.

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CONNECTION Class notes and news for Meredith Alumnae 1958 Betsy Lane Cochrane was recently honored by the Davie County Commissioners and the N.C. Board of Transportation, which designated a five-mile stretch of I-40 in Davie County as the Senator Betsy L. Cochrane Freeway. Family and friends gathered to celebrate Cochrane’s 20 years of public service in the N.C. General Assembly. Cochrane served four terms in the N.C. House, six terms in the N.C. Senate, two terms as House Minority Leader, and one term as the first woman Senate Minority Leader. She served as chair of the Commission on Aging and Ethics Committee, represented N.C. on the Southern Regional Education Board, and the Commission on the Future of the South. Cochrane was the first woman from her district to be elected to the N.C. House and the first elected to the Senate. She and her husband have a son, daughter, and four grandchildren.

1963 Bryna Barrett Bozart-Barnes is retired and enjoying life with family and friends. Her grandchildren and their parents are a blessed gift of joy. Bozart-Barnes enjoys the mountains and the N.C. coast. Although this year she has experienced some health issues and setbacks, she continues to embrace life with peace and gratitude. Meredith gave her a great start! Velma McGee Ferrell writes that after living in Hawaii for more than four years, her older son and his family moved to Winston-Salem in 2017. She now enjoys larger family gatherings with her oldest and youngest sons and their families on a more frequent basis. Ferrell continues to be a member of the local artisans' co-op, WomenCraft. She spends her time at the sewing machine creating children's pillowcases, gift bags, and assorted other fabric items. The highlight of her week is teaching English to a young woman who is eager to learn. Ferrell recommends tutoring as

a pastime. Beverlye Huff Hancock had a wonderful trip with her daughter and granddaughter to Northern Ireland. She also writes that while being treated after a fall, she was approached by a staff member saying “is that a Meredith ring on your finger?” The staff member also graduated from Meredith in 2013. They had their own “reunion” right there in the emergency room, so it pays to wear your ring even after 55 years! Joyce Tripp Miller and her husband recently returned from a wonderful trip to Europe. They spent three days in Vienna, four days in Prague, and a week in Switzerland and Lake Como, Italy. Highlights included beautiful music and food in Vienna, historic and interesting sights in Prague, travel through the Alps, a 5-star hotel and spa, two nights on Lake Maggiore, shopping in Bellagio, and dining on Lake Como. The trip was a gift in appreciation for her husband’s years of service to his company. Miller says it was the trip of a lifetime. When they are not traveling, Miller and her husband enjoy dining out with friends, book clubs, entertaining, and staying busy with church activities. Mary Fran Carver Perkinson and her husband recently enjoyed seeing friends they’ve known since practically the cradle when their high school class held its 59th reunion. She also looked forward to seeing Meredith friends-for-life during the holiday season. She draws great strength from all of these friendships. Note to class members: Downsizing or cleaning out? Please do not throw away Meredith memorabilia! We would love to add it to the Class of 1963 Meredith Memory Box. Please send any items to the Alumnae House. Bettie Mac McManus Phillips recently moved to a fabulous condo on Blue Ridge Road near Crabtree Mall. While it took some time to get situated, her home looks nice now and downsizing has been good for her. Phillips spent the summer traveling to Charlotte and Richmond to spend time with her daughter’s families

and five grandchildren. Her oldest granddaughter recently moved into college, which reminded Phillips of her college days at Meredith. Now that she is in Raleigh, she continues to run into her Meredith friends. She also loves gathering with her 1963 class at Christmas time in Pinehurst. To attend this year’s class of 1963 Christmas gathering in Pinehurst please reach out to her or Mary Fran Carver Perkinson. Anna Shadoin Rickell now lives in Spartanburg, S.C., with her husband and they now have help 24/7. Rickell is semi-retired from her social work psychotherapy practice. However, she continues to stay active with her church, First Presbyterian, through grief counseling, Health Committee, and book club. She is on the board for S.C. Clinical Social Work, as well as her neighborhood board. In her spare time, Rickell occasionally does critical incidents interventions. She also enjoys being an active participant and council member of a Garden Club. Currently she is auditing classes at USC Upstate and Furman. One of her sons now lives in Seattle with his family. Her other son lives in Atlanta with his family. Philecta Clarke Staton writes that like much of her adult life, this autumn has not lacked for new adventure. On October 6, she had major neck surgery. Because of muscle spasms impacting her shoulders, arms, and hands, she has had lots of time to think and start two new inspirational piano medleys. Staton will be in a neck brace for six weeks, and her biggest question will be whether she will be able to drive again. Either way, she feels as though her classmates will be jealous that her new turning requirements drastically reduce her waistline. Meredith grad going strong!

1965 Sarah Carver Adams had a wonderful visit with classmate Gail Sheppard this summer in Canton. Adams writes that Sheppard passed away in August

Compiled by the Office of Alumnae Relations from August 8 – November 5, 2018. Information may be edited for space limitations and content restrictions. Submit class notes online at meredith.edu/alumnae, by email at alumnae@meredith.edu, or by phone to the Office of Alumnae Relations at (919) 760-8548.


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but is remembered for her sweet nature and wonderful sense of humor. Janet Pugh Martin says that Myrtle Beach escaped the wrath of Florence, but the surrounding county neighbors are still suffering from the floods. Schools in Myrtle Beach were closed for three weeks. She and her husband have moved to a new neighborhood in Myrtle Beach. They had a wonderful trip with their son and his family to London and Paris in June. Martin and her husband are well and thankful for all their blessings. Jean Lyles McLeod and her husband recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. Their son and daughter threw a wonderful 50th wedding anniversary dinner for them and many family and friends. Johnette Ingold Fields, Judy Riley Matlock, and Linda Carter Stensvad attended the dinner along with their husbands. The group sat together at the “Meredith” table. McLeod says it was great to get together and visit.

1966 Candace Welsted Ramseur had a wonderful trip to several Western National Parks in July. Her goal was to see the night sky, bison, the Grand Tetons, and Rocky Mountains. All goals were accomplished, making it feel like a spiritual experience. Ruth Ann Sloop Whitener has been elected as an elder at her home church in Virginia. She was excited to be ordained and installed on December 30 by her pastor husband. Whitener was also recently recognized by the Nu Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. The chapter presented her with a dozen red roses as well as a notebook full of accomplishments, articles, and memories within the society. The president of the organization also wrote two songs to honor Whitener. At Marshall Moore Marchman’s beautiful celebration of life service Whitener served as a pallbearer along with other women in Marchman's life.

1967 Joan Miller writes that it has been a great time for the Carolina Balloonfest in Statesville, N.C. Balloonfest is the second longest running festival in the United States. The Albuquerque Balloon Festival took place the first week of October and the 45th Balloonfest in Statesville took place the third weekend of October. She says that beautiful skies and evening after-glow make Balloonfest perfect. Martha Reynolds Thaler recently returned from the Meredith trip to Sicily. She says Betty Webb, Becky Bailey, and Denise Parker


CHRISTINA COLE SPEARS, ’13, ’14 (MAT) Inspiring Change One School at a Time By Nikkia Wertz, ’19 No one knows what life has planned or what paths we may take. Christina Cole Spears, ’13, ’14 (MAT) never imagined the direction her life would take after a discussion with her professor. “Dr. O’Dekirk asked if I thought of becoming a teacher,” said Spears. “I never saw myself being a teacher, but he suggested I talk to Dr. Parker in the education department.” After graduating from Meredith with two bachelor’s degrees, Spears returned to earn both her Master of Arts in Teaching and her Teaching Licensure. Five years later, Spears is the special assistant in Wake County Public School System’s (WCPSS) Office of Equity Affairs. Spears is regularly found educating teachers on how to be aware of cultural differences and how to teach in a culturally responsive manner. “I like being in the classroom,” said Spears. “I often co-teach on race relations, social justice, and African American studies. I also help teachers develop lesson plans that are culturally proactive.” None of this would be possible without her ability to identify inequities and her willingness to speak up about them. Before her current position, Spears was a special education teacher for WCPSS. Using the skills gained from Meredith’s Autism Program, shadowing teachers, and her time spent as a youth mentor at a church, she aimed to not only teach her students study skills but life skills. Needless to say, Spears fell in love with teaching. However, no amount of love could make Spears unsee the disparities within the school system. She noticed the majority of students in special education classes were often boys of color and how white students were more likely to be taking and referred to Advanced Placement classes. Spears joined the Equity Office in an effort to make a difference. Being a woman of color, Spears admits it was challenging to see the data, but she can’t imagine doing anything else. “I see myself doing equity work in education 20 years from now.” As much as Spears enjoys her work, she emphasizes the importance of caring for oneself. “It’s hard work and heart work,” said Spears. “The challenge is seeing the inequities and wanting to go-go because there is so much to do. You have to take care of yourself and know yourself to be able to help the students. These are our kids, they are our future.”

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GENEVIEVE PARKER HILL, ’07 Sky’s the Limit, Pen is the Pathway


know how to put together a wonderful trip! She noted that it was nice to be with Betty Webb and John Rose again. They were at the Palazzo Alberti when she went to Sansepolcro, Italy for the first alumnae study on Piero della Francesca. She is now home and auditing a two-semester class on the history of Russia at Virginia Commonwealth University. Thaler plans to travel to Russia next summer. Her professor is great, as were her professors for Italian 101 and 102 last year. Thaler loves retirement.

By Brianna Bean, ’19


Author, blogger, and world traveler Genevieve Parker Hill, ’07, uses her creative writing degree to pursue her passion for coaching and supporting other writers. Hill is Meredith College’s first creative writing major, having designed the major herself with the support of the English department faculty. The experience of creating her own major taught her how to be self-driven, a valuable skill for her career now as a self-employed writer. “There’s no boss giving me deadlines,” said Hill. “It can be hard to get anything done when it’s just me choosing whether to outline my next book or check Facebook.” As a self-published author and a writer for her blog “Simple Living Toolkit,” Hill has to balance the many different aspects of her career from promoting her books to answering emails for her blog. Having developed her own major not only prepared her for becoming a best-selling author but also helped her gain the independence and drive she needs to propel her career forward. Hill fell in love with traveling after her study abroad experience in France and England. One of the things she enjoys most about her career is that it can travel with her, giving her the freedom to sustain her wanderlust. “I can write from anywhere. All I need is a laptop and a solid internet connection to upload my work. It’s truly wonderful,” said Hill. Currently living in Ukraine, she hopes to continue exploring as many countries as she can and is particularly interested in spending some time in South America to practice her Spanish. Her blog was the inspiration behind her first two books. She wanted to help people embrace a minimalist lifestyle, focusing less on material things and more on experiences and relationships, but recently she expanded her publications after co-authoring a cookbook with her husband Thomas Hill. She decided to continue expanding her target audience by starting her own website dedicated to supporting and coaching upcoming writers. Her newest book, The Wealthy Creative: 24 Successful Artists and Writers Share Their Winning Habits, hopes to inspire people trying to break into the creative field and build a successful career through the compiled advice of successful authors, artists, and designers who have broken through that barrier. “I love words. I love stories. I love nonfiction. Mostly, I love to read,” Hill said. “Books are such friends that I wanted to create some of my own. I love knowing that my books are helping and inspiring people.”

Kathryn Booth Butler’s life continues to give opportunities to make adjustments. Butler’s plan of spending six months in Canada with her husband’s family and six months in California with her family did not wear well with her husband's early Alzheimer’s condition. Instead, Butler became a frequent traveler between their homes in a retirement condo in Toronto and a restored 1928 Craftsman Bungalow in LaVerne, Calif. She gets back to N.C. a lot on family business and feels lucky she enjoys the travel and can rack up some miles. The best news is that Butler’s husband will hopefully be enrolled in an experimental program called “the pacemaker for the brain,” which shows some promise of delaying or reversing the Alzheimer’s progress. They are very hopeful that they will see some results against this horrible disease. Another good bit of news is that their family farm has become a source of joy for kids to see how things used to be. Happy Neal Goethert writes that the summer flew by somehow with heat, rain, and winds changing planting and harvest plans daily. She traveled between three farms weekly doing farmstand duty, picking strawberries, weeding, mowing, planting, and of course taking care of chickens. September was the town’s agriculture day with the main street closed to become a farmers’ market. In October, Goethert went to her favorite traditional country fair in Sandwich, N.H., where she placed first in her age group in the skillet toss at 31 feet. Retirement hasn't happened yet as fall comes and the planting of her garlic crop begins.

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1970 Janet Morris Belvin and her husband spent two weeks in England this fall. They toured Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and spent five days in the Cotswolds. They also toured sites related to the Battle of Britain in World War II, such as Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms, Bletchley Park, where the German secret codes were deciphered, and Portsmouth Naval Base, where the Normandy Invasion known as Operation Overlord was planned. Maria Thornhill Vincent’s daughter was married on July 28, 2018. Her daughter,

Meredith, is still the head coach of the tennis team at Meredith College and teaches in the Exercise and Sports Science Department. Vincent says that all is well in New Bern, but they are still getting out from under the mess from Hurricane Florence.

at Harkers Island. Bryan had expected to spend time on the coast over the summer winding down but instead is now serving as the Head of School at The Raleigh School for the 2018-19 school year. She is thrilled with the news of the next Lillian Parker Wallace lecture on September 23, 2019. Meredith will be honored with the presence of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. We are hoping that many from our class will be in attendance. Lavinia Vann Evans is just delighted in the birth of her second grandson. She stays quite busy keeping her oldest grandson in the afternoons, especially when he wants to play football. She recently gave a talk at her former church in Winston-Salem on how God moves in mysterious ways through ordinary people. Olivia Harris Fleming took a ZOE Trip of Hope over the summer to Rwanda to visit with orphans who are current participants or graduates from this empowerment program. The three-year program provides life skills, nutrition information, business training, spiritual guidance, and educates participants on legal rights. She also visited Volcanoes National Park to get close-up views of gorillas and golden monkeys. Gail Bartholomew Kiker is excited over the birth of twin grandchildren, a girl and a boy, in October 2018. This makes four grands, and she loves spending time with all of them. Doris McIlwain was happy to attend Bonnie Bell’s open house following her home renovation. She and Anne Bromby enjoyed riding the train together from





Mary Esther Clark Baker was nominated to the Meredith Association Board of Directors as the Wings representative. Although she graduated in 1996 as a Wings student, she began her Meredith journey with the class of 1971. To learn more about her see the 1996 notes. Bonnie Bell lives in Annandale, Va., and recently celebrated the end of a multi-phase home renovation with an open house attended by 70 friends. She is a swing dancer, so there was a band and lots of fun times. Anne Bromby, Sharon Hamrick West, Bonnie Scott Truelove, Boyd King Dimmock, Sue Ramsay, and Betsy Best Phillips were delighted to support their Golden Sisters of 2021 for Cornhuskin’. They attended a dance practice, watched the creation of can art in the quad, and even paraded with the Class of 2021 dressed as goddesses. The next Golden Sister event is a dinner with the Sophomore Executive Board and Cornhuskin’ Chairs. They write that their Golden Sisters are very fine young women, and the class so enjoys its association with them. Anne Bryan spent much of her time in the spring of 2018 helping her daughter with wedding plans. The wedding was a lovely day in May celebrating with family and friends

Raleigh to the Washington, D.C., area for the event. Sue Ramsay Hubbard enjoyed every minute of her daughter’s wedding at Duke Chapel in April 2018. It was a cultural extravaganza as the bride’s Scottish family and groom’s Italian family represented their heritage throughout the day. To recuperate, she and her husband traveled to France for a cruise around Normandy. The highlight of their trip was a festival in the Loire Valley filled with Scottish and French medieval military traditions. Because her husband is president of Clan Ramsay, they were a part of the annual parade. It was a great time to build friendships that continued through the Scottish Mountain Games in October. Bonnie Scott Truelove and her husband enjoyed touring Switzerland with German friends they met on a cruise. They then met American friends and traveled in the Baltic States. She highly recommends lovely Bruges, Belgium, was overwhelmed with the beauty of St. Petersburg, Russia, and found a peaceful refuge in the Rock Church in Helsinki. Windsor Castle was their last stop, with no queen in residence. Sharyn Hemrick West has a new life now that her husband, Harold, is retired. He worked for Meredith in the Division of Institutional Advancement, so she often traveled with him on alumnae visits. She will miss those trips but looks forward to the joys of retirement. Jane Holloway Woodard traveled with her husband and son to Connecticut in November to celebrate that very special birthday that all of us will enjoy over the next year. Her daughter and family live




All alumnae are invited to attend Alumnae Reunion Weekend, and classes ending in a four or nine will be celebrating a special class reunion. The weekend’s fun activities include a party featuring The Band of Oz, a State of the College address by President Allen, class luncheon, individual class events, and an Alumnae Worship Service. Make plans now to join us!


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Travel the World with Meredith

in Connecticut, and she enjoyed her days with her precious granddaughter. Woodard says this was the best of all presents. Martha Millard Worsley has had a wonderful year making three mission trips to Haiti. During these trips, she taught English to children and taught women and children sewing skills with sewing machines she brought to Haiti. Worsley is a prime example of Meredith Going Strong! She loves to talk to groups about her experiences in Haiti.


What would make traveling to interesting locations around the world even better? Touring with fellow Meredith alumnae and other friends of the College as part of the Meredith Travel Program. Meredith Travel is open to anyone interested in traveling to new places with congenial companions. These tours work well for singles, couples, mothers, daughters, and granddaughters. You do not have to be an alumna to participate. And men are welcome!

“This tour reflected both thoughtful travel insight and a vision of excellence. Our schedule provided a comfortable balance of sight-seeing, background history, contemporary issues, art, literature, entertainment, and free time. I have toured with several companies and this Meredith tour shines as one of my very favorites.” — Maureen Johnson In 2020, Meredith Travel will visit Northern Italy, including Genoa and Bologna and the Val d’Aosta, and the United Kingdom’s West Country, including Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset. Visit meredith.edu/alumnae for details on these upcoming programs.

Questions? Contact Denise Parker at dpparker@meredith.edu or (919) 760-8051.

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Dorothy Vaden Ashworth volunteers with the Wake County Board of Elections in their Multi Partisan Assistance Team (MAT). They go to independent, assisted, nursing, and rehab facilities to give residents the opportunity to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. They return to help those who need assistance marking or reading their ballots and to witness their completed ballots. This is a very rewarding opportunity to serve the community. She hopes this is available when she needs the assistance. Connie Everhart Burleson was honored to be invited to serve as the guest organist at the Alumnae Worship Service during Meredith’s Alumnae Reunion Weekend in May. It was the 45th reunion for her class of 1973. After retiring from teaching music in Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Burleson has started taking harp lessons and has performed in several recitals and a wedding. She continues as organist at First Presbyterian Church in Lexington, N.C. Michelle Rich Goode, Mary Marvin Johnson, Carolyn Van Hoy O’Brien, and Donna Salem Naeser all enjoyed the fall trip to Sicily with the Meredith College Travel Program. It was a trip of a lifetime. They learned so much about the history, art, and culture of the various people who have over centuries claimed this “jewel in the crown” of Italy. They all made lots of special memories. Bobbie Heilman Murphy writes that the entire Heilman family went to the beach in July to celebrate her dad’s 92nd birthday. They had a wonderful time and are so blessed to still have him healthy and riding his Harley. Murphy was on campus November 7 for her father’s speech at Meredith’s Veterans Day service honoring women veterans. Returning to campus for the event as Murphy’s guests were her roommate and suitemates from her time at Meredith, Josie McBride Thomas, Mary Drake Eberhardt, and Debra Sugg Walton. Also in attendance were members from Murphy’s sister’s Class of 1974, Kathryn Goodman Lehman, Jane Britt Greenwood, and Meredith Marr Watson. Meredith’s director of Planned Giving, Linda Carter, also joined Murphy at the event as a guest and friend. Murphy and her father were both excited to be back on campus.

1978 Georganne Branham Griffin retired from Wake County Public Schools in July 2017 after working for 27 years as a professional school counselor. Both daughters are married, and she and her husband enjoy spending time at the Crystal Coast. They are also catching up on some house projects. Griffin is an active member of the Meredith Alumnae Book Club and volunteers/participates in campus events. She enjoyed reconnecting with classmates at their 40th Meredith Reunion in May! Page Rose Pond is enjoying having her daughter back living and working in Charlotte after 10 years in Washington, D.C., and Dubai. She enjoys spending time with her two granddaughters. They are both little angels, but Pond is hoping one day they will both be Meredith Angels.

1986 Laura Bynum Beasley has been enjoying retirement and filling her days with so many other activities. She doesn’t know how she worked full time all those years. She and her husband celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in July. Julia Wilk Bowden has worked as the volunteer coordinator for Horses for Hope in Raleigh for five years. Both of her daughters participated in this therapeutic riding program. Their riding skills improved, and they are no longer in the

program, but they still enjoy volunteering at this barn and others. Bridgette Parker Coates resides in Florence, S.C., and has worked at the Pee Dee Regional Council of Governments for nearly 27 years, primarily in workforce development. Coates is excited to report that her daughter graduated from Clemson University with a degree in early childhood education and began teaching kindergarten in Liberty, S.C. this past fall. Her son started Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, in downtown Raleigh, in August. Coates and her husband are hopeful that their son’s move to Raleigh will mean even more visits to their college stomping grounds in the next few years. Carla Pearce Popson is living in Raleigh and running her dad’s commercial real estate company. She has a junior in college at UNC Charlotte and a junior in high school. She and her husband have been married 25 wonderful years. They enjoy spending every minute they can at Lake Gaston. Anne Douglas Scruggs is enjoying snuggles with her first grand baby, a boy, born October 12, 2018. Angel Moore Sintef started her second career with Keller Williams Realty Platinum in July. She is a real estate agent working in Wake, Harnett, and Johnston Counties. Nancy Humbert Sweeney’s son is a freshman at UNC Wilmington. Maria Kling Tierney and her husband enjoyed celebrating 20 years of

marriage with a fun get-away trip to New York City. Her son is a senior at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C., and has been busy applying to colleges. It’s a very different process than when she applied to Meredith. Tierney’s daughter is a busy 16- year-old, driving herself to school and pretty much wherever she wants to go.

1989 Vicki Drake Sanford recently opened an Omni Yoga studio in Cary, N.C. Her goal is to offer “Yoga for anyone” through a broad range of classes.

1990 Cheryl Alderman Slokker is now communications manager in the Virginia Commonwealth School of Business. She also sits on the Board of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.

1994 Kimberly C. Paul chose to leave her dream job in television to discover the authentic stories at the bedside of the dying. After spending over 17 years working as vice president of communications and outreach for a local hospice, she decided her true calling was to become one of the leaders in the death positive movement happening in the United States. She has since published a book called Bridging the

Make plans to join Meredith College on a trip to Charleston for alumnae and friends. Friday, April 12 - Sunday, April 14, 2019 Guests will have the opportunity to partake in and enjoy many of Charleston’s charms, including a private reception hosted at a home on the Battery, a Charleston Ghost Tour, a Charleston Culinary Tour of Upper King Street, a tour of Charleston’s Alleys and Hidden Passages, a sunset cruise aboard the Schooner Pride, and a departure brunch. Our group will stay at the historic Mills House Hotel located in the heart of downtown Charleston within easy walking distance of attractions, shopping, and restaurants.

For questions, pricing options, or to reserve your spot, please contact Hilary Allen, ’01, at allenh@meredith.edu or (919) 760-8751. S p ring 2019 | M E R E D I T H M A G A Z I N E



CONNECTION Gap, created a podcast titled Death by Design, and is now on her own Live Well Die Well tour across the United States.

1996 Mary Esther Clark Baker was nominated to the Meredith Alumnae Association Board of Directors as the Wings representative. Although she graduated in 1996, she began her Meredith journey with the class of 1971. She completed her sophomore year before marrying one of those NC State men. After his death in 1990, she returned to Raleigh to complete her undergraduate degree in political science at Meredith as a Wings student. Her business, Visit NC Concierge, provides travel experiences showcasing North Carolina’s geography, history, and culture. Jennifer Stables Cole is teaching preschool at David A. Harrison Elementary in the George County Public School System. Molly Shepherd Nichols and her family moved to their hometown of North Wilkesboro, N.C., in July.

1999 Liz Cooper Dobbins-Smith recently moved with her family from Raleigh to Brevard in the N.C. mountains. Her mother, Martha Lyday Dobbins, ’71, is a native of Brevard.


2009 Erin Dahlen Hall fulfilled her lifelong dream of teaching accounting by accepting an instructor position at Wake Technical Community College. She began teaching accounting in the fall 2018 semester. Charis Hill began receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in August and continues to advocate internationally for the chronic disease and disability communities with her writing, speaking, and policy work. Her story is featured in an upcoming documentary, Becoming Incurable, expected to debut in early 2019.

MARRIAGES 1990 Emily Karen Stalls to John Stefanski, 6/10/18. 2004 Krystal Twiford to Michael Jordan, 5/27/18.

2006 Emily Harkey to Matthew Zeblo, 5/26/18. 2008 Stephanie Wells to Joshua Gibson, 8/18/18. Amanda Citron to Eli Holder, 8/11/18. Meredith Pugh to Jason Baker, 9/23/18. Angela Stoehr to Robert Young, 9/29/18.

Kelly Fish Wilson was named principal of West Lake Year Round Elementary School in Apex, N.C. last May.



2011 Marian Cregger to Taylor Bryant, 8/11/18. Kristin Fowler to Joshua Leamnson, 10/6/18. Allyson Sutton to Tyler Hendricks, 9/22/18.

Holly Schmidt Akkerman has accepted a new position in Chicago as senior graphic designer at Shedd Aquarium.

2006 Kelly Johnson Blanchard and her husband are expecting their second child in March 2019. Michelle Scott is now a business systems analyst at Cook Medical in Bloomington, Ind.

2008 Liz McLean is now the community engagement coordinator for Raleigh based non-profit The Green Chair Project. In this role, she is focused on increasing the organization’s presence in the community as well as establishing and growing a corporate volunteer and engagement program. Jenna Burnham Radford began her new role as program coordinator for Wake Forest University’s Wake Washington Program in May 2018. The Wake Washington Program is located in Washington, D.C.


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Jodi Allison Binkley to Garrett Dimond, 7/28/18.

2012 Julie-Kate Cooper to Joey Hazelrigg, 12/20/14.

2013 Emily McLawhorn to Charles Phaneuf, 7/14/18.

2017 Amanda Good to Ryan Grover, 10/27/18.

NEW ARRIVALS 1978 Page Rose Pond, a granddaughter, Eleanor “Ellie” Deering, 5/15/18.

2001 Lacey Keen, a son, Lease Frederick, 5/2/18. Leslie Maxwell, a daughter, Brooks Maxwell Gardner, 8/9/18.

2002 Melissa Williams Gray, a son, Ethan Edward, 9/10/18. Kristen Black King, a son, Elliot Voncannon, 9/4/18. Veronica Wilson Taylor, a daughter, Vivian Marie, 9/5/18, a daughter, Lauren Elizabeth, 8/26/16, and a son, Evan Michael, 2/26/15.

2003 Tracy Harward Jones, a son, Preston Thomas, 6/6/18. Crystal Whitley Lester, a son, Brayden Hardy, 5/27/18.

2005 Mary Clarke Shuff Bourgeois, a son, George Meriwether, 12/10/17.

2006 Kristin Langevin List, a son, Owen Beckett, 10/1/18. Mary Elizabeth Shytle Peacock, a son, Charles Reynolds, 8/1/18.

2007 Lauren Alford Allen, a daughter and a son, Brinkley Elizabeth & Bowen Vance, 5/21/18. Audrey Tamer Harrell, a daughter, Holland Paige, 6/8/18. Breeanne Baker Swart, a son, Nolan Jeffrey, 3/8/18.

2008 Cindy Adcock Carey, a son, “Tripp” Bryan Lee Carey III, 2/9/18. Stephanie Massey Fuchs, a son, Carter Dean, 10/21/18. Mary Ferree Hedrick, a daughter, Mackenley Adler, 8/30/18. Kate Robinson Newkirk, a son, Samuel David, 8/23/18. Lauren Winchester Porter, a son, Emmitt Thomas, 7/25/18. Kaitlin Briggs Stammetti, a son, Briggs Salvatore, 10/3/18.

2009 Miranda Evans Boling, a daughter, Merritt Surles, 6/9/18. Elizabeth Cross, a daughter, Ann Kathleen “Annie”, 5/6/18. Sarah Combs Rickman, daughters, Abigail Elizabeth and Arlee Ann, 3/22/18. Ashley Lewis Sivels, a daughter, Kathryn Elizabeth, 1/19/18.

2010 Maggie Hart Behrooz, a daughter, Eleanor McLean, 5/23/17. Mackenzie Slaney Hale, a daughter, Mary Scott, 8/16/17. Marie LaHaye Hotta, a son, Kaiji Michael, 10/9/18. Ashley Horn Jacobs, a daughter, Harper Anne, 1/13/18. Lindsay Kay Kelvington, a daughter, Lottie Kate, 7/18/18. Amanda Herbert Murphy, a son, Audie Hendrix, 6/9/18, and a son, Felix Jaxon, 10/30/15.

2011 Jordan Jaked Carrier, a son, Orson Clarke, 10/22/18. Brittany Phelps Conrad, twin sons, Parker States & Warren Stone, 2/11/18. Caroline Exum Everette, a daughter, Mary-Jane Sheppard, 6/29/18. Alyson Strickland Henry, a son, Rowan Brandt, 10/23/18. Rebecca McLamb Holden, a son, Dawson Douglas, 8/20/18.

2012 Tambrie Kinder Aiken, a son, Wallace Kinder, 2/19/18. Julie-Kate Cooper Hazelrigg, a son, Ronald William, 12/28/17. Anne Fischer Nolan, a daughter, Caroline Anne, 10/28/18, and a son, Crosby Francis, 10/27/16.

2013 Kelsey Suttenfield Lawhorn, a son, Emmett Samuel, 9/7/18. Morgan Johnson Vasquez, a son, Liam Vasquez-Johnson, 1/21/18.

DEATHS 1937 Sue Brewer Joyner, 9/1/18. Virginia Reynolds Rapport, 1/10/16.

1940 Naomi Sommerville Lee, 10/8/18. 1942 Ruth Crissman Harris, 8/30/18. 1943 Elizabeth Riggs Puryear, 9/6/18. 1945 Mary Lou Bullock Paul, 10/24/18.

1946 Nancy Harris Shaw, 8/24/18.

1947 Christine Kornegay Graham, 8/31/18. Peggy Parker McCaskill, 9/1/18.

1948 Betty Davis Britt, 8/29/18. DeLauris “Dee” Brock James, 9/2/18.

1949 Doris Lee Tyson, 7/24/18.

1950 Ellen Goldston Cook, 10/28/18.

1951 Frances Estridge Bowen, 10/23/18. Ina Gresham Murrell, 9/27/18. Martha Jean Norman, 10/13/18.


ELLEN KIRBY, ’67 Fighting Hunger with Community and Gardening By Sydney Cooper, ’19 Can one’s love of horticulture and community fight hunger? For one Meredith graduate, Ellen Kirby, ’67, who double majored in history and religion, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ Kirby, who has worked in the field of horticulture for more than 14 years, currently serves as director of the Betty and Jim Holmes Food Bank Garden in Winston Salem, N.C. “The world of community gardening provided an opportunity for me to channel every life experience into engaging and satisfying work,” said Kirby. The Food Bank Garden is a nonprofit that operates a three-acre garden that grows produce for Second Harvest Food Bank. “Our garden is run by all volunteers. Last year we had 300 volunteers with over 3,000 hours of volunteerism,” said Kirby. Since she joined the organization, Kirby estimates the organization has produced about 30 tons of food for those in need. “Since arriving I have brought a decision making structure to the garden, acquired an IRS nonprofit status, developed a leadership training program, and recruited 20 new groups.” Being in the nonprofit sector was always an interest of Kirby, who wanted to work in a career that would benefit the community. That passion drove Kirby to earn her master’s degree before attending Union Theological Seminary. “I was interested in working for the church in the area of social justice and I loved history and politics,” said Kirby, who worked with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries in New York City for 24 years. While living in New York, Kirby developed an interest in horticulture. For 25 years, she served as a volunteer and volunteer coordinator for a community gardening space in her Brooklyn neighborhood. This volunteer work led to a new passion and a career change. Kirby started working at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden developing its program in urban composting and community horticulture. She spent 15 years as the director of community horticulture. “The community support for this new program was phenomenal. Incredible, tireless, and inspiring people in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, along with colleagues in various New York City-based organizations provided support, encouragement, and energetic participation.” After a satisfying career in horticulture, Kirby retired from her work and returned to her home state of North Carolina.

S p ring 2019 | M E R E D I T H M A G A Z I N E





1956 Charlene Smith Bennett in the death of her husband.


Dorothy Stell Alexander, 8/30/18. Dixie Foshee Hardin, 10/8/18.

1962 Judith Young James in the death of her cousin.


1954 Dorothy Hampton Marcus, 8/23/18. Doris Page Smith, 8/26/18. Charleen Whisnant Swansea, 8/23/18.


2008 Lindsey Carroll Lyles Goble in the death of her grandmother.

Barbara Hale Edwards, 9/20/18.


1955 Lou Ann Griffin Hicks, 10/7/18.

1961 Frances Rogers Alderman, 10/26/18.

1965 L. Gail Sheppard, 8/8/18.

1966 Marshall Moore Marchman, 10/5/18. Lou Kesler Penland, 10/10/18.

1967 Helen Everett Goins, 1/5/18.

1968 Rebecca Bostic Eatman-Jackson, 10/7/18.

1969 Elizabeth Comas Kiser, 10/18/18.

1970 Sarah Winstead Bradsher, 10/20/18.

1974 Virginia Dandridge “Dandy� Stevenson Saville Sharp, 8/12/18.

1977 Phyllis Ann Burnett, 11/30/2017.

1981 Jeannie Bowers Phillips, 9/23/18.

2008 Sylvia Parker Horton, 10/31/18.

2009 Emily Harper, 10/29/18.

SYMPATHY 1943 Nan Davis Van Every in the death of her cousin.

1953 Jo Cole Burnette in the death of her son.


m e re d i th.edu

Judith Carroll Gardner in the death of her mother.

1968 Honour Carroll McKenzie in the death of her mother. 1972 Betsy Allen Hood in the death of her husband.

1973 Christie Bishop Barbee in the death of her sister.

1974 Louise McCaskill Baker in the death of her mother.

1975 Debbie Otto Johnson in the death of her husband. Cathy McCaskill Kearney in the death of her mother. Cynthia Snipes in the death of her mother. Cynthia Baughan Wheaton in the death of her mother-in-law.

1977 Jayne Lynne Callahan Nimocks in the death of her husband. 1979 Sandy Godwin in the death of her father-in-law and in the death of her mother.

1982 Dabney Chakales Erwin in the death of her son. 1984 Edna Lovelace Gaston in the death of her husband. 1988 Angela Stroud Manning in the death of her father.

1990 Denise Darroch Williford in the death of her father. 1993 Georgia Carolyn Moyer Davis in the death of her mother.

2003 Lara Dick in the death of her grandfather.

Kendra Keech Alexander in the death of her mother.

Maggie Stroud in the death of her grandfather.

2016 Rebecca Manning in the death of her grandfather. Esther McCaskill-Baker in the death of her grandmother.

BEYOND STRONG The Campaign for Meredith

THANK YOU! $90,466,720 RAISED In our largest fundraising effort in the history of Meredith College, your gifts supported scholarships, new academic programs, facilities, study abroad opportunities, StrongPointsÂŽ, Wings, the endowment, enhanced faculty and staff development, wellness programs, the Going Strong brand launch, new campus signage, and so much more. Because of you, Meredith is Beyond Strong! Your gifts had an impact on every student and the entire campus community. We are grateful for your commitment to Meredith.

See the impact at meredith.edu/beyondstrong.

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