On March 29, 2019, The Meredith Fund held the 11th annual Grandparents Luncheon at The Royal Banquet and Conference Center. One hundred sixty students and their grandparents gathered to share time together.
“The event honors the relationship between Meredith students and their grandparents and recognizes the special connection that spans across the ages,” say Jean Gambrill, associate director of the The Meredith Fund.
Jordan Liggins, ʼ22, a student ambassador served as the emcee of the event. Carol Finley, head of the dance and theatre department, and Professor Emerita Betty Webb, former department head of English and director of international programs, were the guest speakers.
Finley spoke about her mother, the connection grandparents have with their grandchildren, and relationships that faculty have with their Meredith students.
“As parents we are guiding with a critical hand toward a measure of success we pray will be good enough. Grandparents on the other hand, that wonderful species who let children stay up late and eat sugar before bed, look at their grandchildren and see possibility,” said Finley. “I like to think that the role of faculty is a little of both. We are critical when need be, but that possibility keeps us looking for opportunities to empower.”
Finley explained the comprehensive approach that Meredith has with advising students, how the work began with Strengths Finder, and this helps to make connections between career planning, coursework, and advising in ways that had not happened before.
Webb spoke about the study abroad experience for students and how students come back more confident and self-assured.
Webb said, “I love watching parents and grandparents come visit their student during their time abroad, because by the time they get there she can navigate them so easily and they are so impressed.”
Linda and Conway Owenby attended this years luncheon with their granddaughter Hannah Ridgeway, ʼ20. It was the sixth luncheon they have attended since her sister Brittany Ridgeway Wagner is a 2016 graduate..
“My grandparents love coming to this event every year. They live three hours away so we do not get to see each other often. They have supported me my entire life, so it is important to me to honor them with this special tradition and spend time together at my home away from home,” said Ridgeway.
Ridgeway’s hope is that by her grandparents attending this event they gain an understanding of what her life is like at Meredith and how important her education is to her.
“We have two wonderful granddaughters who we are so proud of being Meredith Angels and we try to spend as much time with them as possible including this special luncheon,” said Linda Owenby.