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Educating Women of Achievement

Adapted from an article originally published in Meredith Magazine, Spring 2012

In today’s world of 24/7 news cycles, overly accessible technology, and all-too-eager commentators, posters, bloggers, video recorders and tweeters, the overexposure of us all can be almost too much to bear. Most of us are simply not that interesting—as these communications have amply demonstrated.

And yet they persist.

Most troubling is the confusion that seems to have arisen between celebrity and true achievement. Indeed, we are increasingly bombarded with oddities who are famous for being famous. How did it happen that such “celebrities” actually make money by attending parties? Why do we watch the excruciating machinations of their “private” lives, cobbled into television series with a dizzying cycle of reruns? Shrugs and “whatevers” abound, but how do we uphold the basic sensibilities of responsibility, goodness and self-respect in this context?

Increasingly, we must ask what it means to be famous. One of the long-standing points of pride at Meredith College is her reputation for educating women of quality and achievement. No, not stuffy prissiness—but genuine poise, integrity, character, and, yes, spirit. That spirit has led students and graduates to develop courage, persistence, and risk-taking in ways that have led to accomplishments and achievements for which they—and we—can be proud.

This issue of the Meredith Magazine highlights nine women of extraordinary achievement who faced a defining moment and seized it as an opportunity to do and to be something more. Most important, perhaps, is that they are not anomalies; they are representative of the hundreds and thousands of women who, like them, have taken their strong education—both academic and social—and fought for their ideas and their ideals in a world that did not always want to hear from them.

We salute these women for their embodiment of the Meredith traditions of intelligence, confidence, character and determination. They may never be paid for showing up at a party, but they will always be honored for showing up in important ways at critical times to promote a better future for us all.

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