Meredith Holds 2013 Commencement

Meredith College students officially became graduates at the College’s 2013 commencement ceremony, held on May 11, 2013, in Dorton Arena.

International affairs scholar Anne-Marie Slaughter, who was the first woman to serve as director of policy planning for the United States Department of State, delivered the commencement address.

Slaughter quoted from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, using the famous line “to thine own self be true” and told graduates “to follow your heart, which is not quite the same as following your dreams.”

Slaughter said to follow your heart is more practical, “don’t do what you don’t want to do, and to do what you do want to do.”

A professor at Princeton University, Slaughter was recently named the president of the New America Foundation, a role she will assume on September 1, 2013. The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.

Slaughter praised Meredith values, including integrity, which she defined as "upholding personal honor ... being true to human values and true to yourself."

President Urges Graduates to Take the Light of Education With Them
Meredith President Jo Allen, ’80, told the Class of 2013 that they were part of a long tradition of successful Meredith College graduates.

“You are here this evening as exemplars of the Meredith traditions of intellectual excellence and job-readiness,” said Allen. “But you are also here this evening as exemplars of the Meredith traditions of compassion, courage, and strength.”

At the end of the ceremony, graduates holding candles circled around the arena, symbolizing “Lux” or light, which is a prominent part of the Meredith College seal.

“We charge you now to take the Meredith light into the world, shining it into the darkness of ignorance, despair, evil, and weakness,” said President Allen. “As you have gained confidence, knowledge, courage, and strength, we charge you now to put those qualities to work to improve our world.”

About the Graduates
Approximately 500 degrees were conferred by Meredith College during the ceremony.

Meredith conferred Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Social Work degrees upon graduates of the undergraduate program, as well as master’s degrees in business, education and nutrition. These include degrees completed in August 2012, December 2012 and May 2013. Undergraduate programs at Meredith are for women only, while graduate programs are coeducational.

Among the Class of 2013 success stories are

  • Erica Rogers, who earned majors in music and Spanish and will attend law school next year.
  • Amparo Zelaya, a mathematics major, one of several Meredith graduates hired by Credit Suisse.
  • Presidential Scholar Kagure Wamunyu, who earned a mathematics degree from Meredith and a civil engineering degree from N.C. State as part of Meredith’s dual degree engineering program. Wamunyu received a full scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in city planning at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Class President Michelle Cox, an English major and Teaching Fellow, will teach high school English at Kinston High School.
  • Sarah Beno, who earned degrees in biology and chemistry , will attend Cornell University to pursue a Ph.D. in Food Science.
  • Zeenat Razvi, chemistry major and Meredith Legacy Scholar, will begin a Chemistry Ph.D. program at Duke University in the fall.
  • Maggy Norwood, business administration and economics double major, will turn her internship into a career at RTI International in Research Triangle Park.
  • Christine Scott, Master of Science in Nutrition, will continue her work toward becoming a registered dietitian by completing a dietetic internship at the St. Louis Department of Veteran Affairs.

Graduates were represented by two student speakers.

Yvonne Sherrell Copeland, who received her MBA, spoke on behalf of graduate students. Copeland talked about challenges faced by those working toward graduate degrees.

Senior Class President Michelle Cox spoke on behalf of the undergraduates. Cox noted her class came in as the largest freshman class in Meredith history. She called her classmates her “role models, inspirations and dear friends,” and urged them to “commit to being women who stand up when the world sits down.”

Meredith Graduates Well-Positioned for Success
There are many indicators that this year’s class is well-positioned for successful futures.

The success found by the previous graduating class is one such indication. In in a survey of the Meredith Class of 2012, over 90% were either employed or attending graduate school within 9 months of graduation.

Companies and organizations that have hired new and recent Meredith College graduates include SAS Institute, Credit Suisse, BB&T, RTI International, Wake County Public Schools, Bank of America, Duke Behavioral Medicine and Michael Kors.

Graduate and professional schools attended by new and recent graduates include Yale, Duke and Vanderbilt Medical Schools; Wake Forest University School of Law; University of California at Berkley; Cornell University and Columbia University.

View a photo gallery from the commencement ceremony »


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