One year ago, on July 1, 2011, Jo Allen, ’80, officially began her first year as president of Meredith College.
As the first alumna to serve as Meredith’s president, Allen said the perspective she had on Meredith as a student has been reinforced throughout this year.
“I knew Meredith was well respected, but I’m not sure I realized how beloved it is,” Allen said. “People light up when you say Meredith.”
The year has been “a whirlwind of meeting, greeting, connecting and learning” for Allen, who has spent much of this year getting to know Meredith alumnae, students, employees, donors and other Meredith supporters.
“One of my priorities during this year has been to get to know people in order to understand their hopes, fears and priorities. I want to learn how to motivate and inspire them in the ways they have motivated and inspired me.”
Allen said her first year as president was filled with special memories.
“There have been many special moments … including the excitement of Move-In Day and Cornhuskin’. Everything about inauguration was special. Having my first commencement as president, and that my classmate Silda Wall Spitzer did the address — that was quite special.”
Allen said she has also enjoyed the warmth of the Meredith community – “waves from staff, the smiling faces of students in Belk, and visits from family and friends.”
About President Jo Allen, ’80
Jo Allen, Meredith College Class of 1980, was named the eighth president of the College on April 18, 2011. Allen, who took office as president on July 1, 2011, is the first Meredith College alumna to assume the leadership of the 120-year old institution, one of the largest private colleges for women in the United States.
Prior to her appointment as president of Meredith, Allen served as senior vice president and provost, and professor of English at Widener University, Chester, Pa. A North Carolina native, Allen earned her Master’s degree from East Carolina University and her doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Both her M.A. and her Ph.D. were in English literature, with an emphasis in Technical and Professional Communication. Her B.A. from Meredith was also in English. She served as tenured associate professor of English at East Carolina University and tenured associate professor at North Carolina State University.
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