Meredith College Celebrates 2011 Commencement

Meredith College’s 2011 Commencement took place on Sunday, May 8, in nearby Dorton Arena, where it was moved because of inclement weather.

This year’s commencement was notable on several counts. Among those graduating were the first two Alumnae Legacy Scholars, Sarah Beth Phelps and Erin Huber, who both earned two degrees. The prestigious Alumnae Legacy Scholarship covers all costs for four years including tuition, room and board and funding for international study.

In addition, Meredith’s first Engineering Dual Degree student, Amanda Bragg, graduated with a B.A. in chemistry and a B.S. in chemical engineering. Meredith’s Engineering Dual Degree program is a collaborative effort with NC State University.

This commencement was also historic in that it was the last one to take place under the leadership of Maureen Hartford, president of Meredith College. Hartford will step down on June 30 after 12 years at Meredith.

As has been her custom for every commencement, Hartford selected a theme for the Class of 2011, which was “travel.”

“You are all travelers and you have journeyed a great distance from where you entered Meredith. Those travels—intellectual, social, cultural and geographical have changed your lives forever,” said Hartford.

Coast Guard Vice Admiral Commencement Speaker
The commencement address was given by U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Sally Brice-O’Hara.

In her remarks, she described how all four annual campus themes from the graduates’ time at Meredith were encompassed in the children’s book “Horton Hears a Who” by Dr. Seuss. The themes were ethical leadership, environmental sustainability, catalysts for change and critical thinking for critical times.

“Enabling the success of others is fundamental to good leadership,” said Brice-O’Hara, as she encouraged the graduates to maintain their sense of integrity and to discern their own unique way of serving others.

“Meredith College is printed prominently on your ticket to a bright and adventurous future,” she concluded.

Brice-O'Hara is the second woman to serve as the U.S. Coast Guard’s second in command and chief operating officer. Her personal awards include a Distinguished Service Medal, five Legions of Merit, a Meritorious Service Medal, six Coast Guard Commendation Medals, a Coast Guard Achievement Medal, and the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation. Brice-O’Hara has over 36 years of active military service. She holds a B.A. from Goucher College, an M.A. in public administration from Harvard and an M.S. in national security strategy from the National War College.

About the Class of 2011
The Class of 2011 is composed of 496 students earning 501 degrees. Of those degrees, 393 are bachelor’s degrees and 108 are master’s.

Members of the Class of 2011 range in age from 20-55 years old. Thirty-eight of the students, including undergraduates and graduates, are completing their academic work with perfect 4.0 grade point averages, while 24 undergraduates are graduating summa cum laude.

Approximately 30% of the graduates studied abroad while at Meredith, and more than 100 have held leadership positions on campus.

Meredith conferred the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Social Work, as well as master’s degrees in business, education, music and nutrition during the commencement exercises.

What’s Next
Members of Meredith’s Class of 2011 will enter the workforce for employers including Credit Suisse, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Wake County Public Schools, Walt Disney World, The Goddard School and the Universite Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France. Other members of the class of 2011 will pursue graduate and professional study at Yale Medical School, UNC-Chapel Hill, College of William and Mary, NC State University, Pratt Institute, Appalachian State University and many others. Their areas of study are varied, ranging from accounting, medicine, speech and language pathology, pharmacy, psychology, social work, education, business and more.

Chartered in 1891, Meredith College is a private, four-year, comprehensive college for women.

Date Submitted: 2011-05-08

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