Meredith College Holds 2010 Commencement

Meredith College celebrated commencement for the Class of 2010 on Sunday, May 9, in McIver Amphitheater. Meredith College alumna Gretchen Holt Witt, co-founder of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, gave the commencement address. Witt is a 1989 graduate of Meredith.

In a speech titled “Simple Gifts,” Witt shared with the audience her experiences when her son, Liam, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma four years ago.

Witt said her Meredith education had given her the strength and tools needed to turn her desire to do something about it into Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a non-profit that uses bake sales to raise money and awareness of pediatric cancer.

“Within an alumna of Meredith College is the power to change the world,” Witt said. “But Meredith women don’t change the world because it’s easy, or fun, or for the fame that goes with the change. Meredith women change the world because when faced with a crisis or a challenge, or a situation that must be changed … we step forward and make change happen.”

Former UNC System President & Family Establish Faculty Award at Meredith
Former UNC System President William Friday and his family have established The Ida H. Friday Fund at Meredith College, in honor of his wife, Ida Friday, a 1941 Meredith graduate. The new fund will support faculty development, with preference given to faculty members who are early in their careers. The recipient each year will be able to use the funds to support the faculty member’s general advancement, through travel or advanced study of the topic of his or her choice.

The first recipient of The Ida H. Friday Fund was announced during commencement exercises. Assistant Professor of Psychology Gwynn Morris, who joined Meredith’s faculty in 2008, was selected as the inaugural recipient. Click here for more information on the Ida H. Friday Award.

About the Class of 2010
Approximately 460 undergraduate and graduate students received degrees. The graduates range in age from 20-68 years old. Twenty-two students completed their studies with a perfect 4.0 GPA, 20 graduated summa cum laude, and 130 have held a campus leadership position.

The College conferred Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Social Work degrees upon graduates of the undergraduate program, as well as master’s degrees in business, education, music and nutrition.

These include degrees completed in August 2009, December 2009 and May 2010. Meredith conferred the Master of Arts in Teaching degree for the first time. Ten graduates compose the first Master of Arts in Teaching class.

One member of the Class of 2010 is Benafsha Noori, the first student to attend Meredith through the College’s partnership with the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women (IEAW). The IEAW gives women from Afghanistan the opportunity to earn a college degree by placing them at partner colleges in the U.S. Meredith has participated in this effort since 2006. Noori is planning to go on to graduate school before returning home to Afghanistan. She plans to work with either the government or United Nations, before eventually running her own business.

Alyssa Smith, the recipient of the first living-donor liver transplant in the United States—using tissue donated to her by her mother—is also a member of Meredith’s Class of 2010. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in social work. Smith hopes to use her social work training to start a non-profit organization that will provide support to young transplant patients and their families.

What’s Next?
Meredith seniors have found jobs with the FBI, designer Michael Kors, Credit Suisse, Clear Channel, and Variety Wholesalers. Several plan to earn graduate degrees from universities including the University of Texas, NC State, East Carolina, UCLA, Colorado State, University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Commonwealth University and UNC-Chapel Hill. Click here for more.

Date Submitted: 2010-05-09

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