The Presidential Lecture Series at Meredith College stimulates and enhances the intellectual and academic climate at Meredith College and in the broader community. The Series features nationally and internationally recognized speakers who are invited on the basis of their expertise, accomplishments and relevance to the College's mission. Often, Meredith students also enjoy the enriching opportunity to interact with the speakers in varied campus events prior to or following the lecture event. To continue to foster the College's welcoming and inclusive environment, the lecture events are open to the general public as well as to the Meredith campus community.
The Presidential Lecture Series is managed by the Office of the President and the College's Major Events Committee, with input from the Meredith College community. Through the lecture series, Meredith promotes intellectually-rigorous discussions that relate to the College’s mission of educating and inspiring students to live with integrity and provide leadership for the needs, opportunities and challenges of society. Past speakers include authors of Meredith's Summer Reading Program selections, award-winning journalists, and political leaders.
The Meredith College Woman of Achievement Award recognizes women who are inspirational role models and celebrates professional and personal accomplishments, visionary thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, community service and philanthropy that have significantly enhanced the intellectual climate and the quality of life on a national or international scope. The Woman of Achievement Lecture is part of the Presidential Lecture Series. Woman of Achievement honorees were Phyllis Trible, 2007, Judy Woodruff, 2008, Celine Cousteau, 2009, Nancy Goodman Brinker, 2010, Twyla Tharp, 2011, Randi Zuckerberg, 2012, Bernice Sandler, 2013, Alexa Von Tobel, 2014, Sarah Parker, 2015, and in 2016, all Meredith alumnae, in recognition of the College’s 125th anniversary.
Selection of speakers for the Lecture Series is a multi-faceted and collaborative process. Potential speakers are suggested by individual members of the faculty, staff and students, as well as by campus committees, specifically the Major Events Committee and the Summer Reading Program Committee. Final decisions on the selection of speakers are the responsibility of the President and the Major Events Committee.
Possible speakers are evaluated on numerous factors, including their relevance to campus activities, such as the Summer Reading Book; international or national prominence and accomplishments in their field or discipline, or their leadership within relevant groups or associations; and the speaker's affordability and availability. Political or religious affiliation is not a factor in the selection unless these affiliations are directly relevant to the Summer Reading Book. Gender is not a factor except for the “Woman of Achievement” event. Only the President of the College or her designee may extend an invitation or offer, or commit contractually to a speaker.
331 Johnson Hall