Meredith College boasts a long history of distinguished guests who have enhanced our academic environment with their thoughtful commentaries. Our students, faculty and staff—as well as members of the larger Triangle community—all benefit from the challenging and thought-provoking insights shared by these illustrious speakers.
The list of speakers who have come to Meredith encompasses five Nobel Laureates, former leaders of the United States and Great Britain, two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, U.S. Senators, an internationally known anthropologist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, and social and human rights activists.
Meredith’s learning environment is enhanced through the Presidential Lecture Series, the Lillian Parker Wallace Lecture Series, Faculty Distinguished Lectures, Convocations and various departmental lecture programs.
The Presidential Lecture Series at Meredith College stimulates and enhances the intellectual and academic climate at Meredith College and in the broader community. The Series features nationally and internationally recognized speakers who are invited on the basis of their expertise, accomplishments and relevance to the College's mission. Often, Meredith students also enjoy the enriching opportunity to interact with the speakers in varied campus events prior to or following the lecture event. To continue to foster the College's welcoming and inclusive environment, the lecture events are open to the general public as well as to the Meredith campus community.
The Wallace Lecture honors Dr. Lillian Parker Wallace, who served as professor of history at Meredith from 1921 to 1962. The Lillian Parker Wallace Fund was established by the Class of 1971. Two years after the inception of the fund, the Class of 1973 officially added its sanction and support. From its inception, the fund's intent was to expose generations of students to prominent leaders. Previous presenters of the Wallace Lecture include Nobel laureates Jimmy Carter (1986), Elie Wiesel (2003), Shirin Ebadi (2006), Wangari Maathai (2009), and Jody Williams (2013), and U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor (1991) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2019).
The Faculty Distinguished Lecture is usually given at least once per academic year. The series was designed to represent a significant achievement of research by a faculty member. The first lecture was presented in 1964 by Professor of English Norma Rose.
The idea behind convocations is that students should have opportunities to explore the big ideas of their time. Convocations round out Meredith students' intellectual and artistic experience, giving every student a chance to hear and interact with thought leaders, and to explore new ideas in community with other students and faculty. Every convocation can be an intellectual adventure. A special characteristic of convocations is that they give students a chance not only to hear or see a presentation, but also to interact with the presenters. Convocation presenters include scientists, novelists, adventurers, musicians and filmmakers.