2024 Woman of Achievement Lecture: A Century of Wonder presented by Dr. Jean Jackson, ’75 

Just before this year’s production of Alice in Wonderland, the College held the annual Woman of Achievement Lecture.  The lecture, given by Vice President for College Programs Jean Jackson, ‘75,  showcased Alice and beloved tradition’s history. 

In her opening remarks, President Jo Allen, ’80, talked about her history with this special tradition, from seeing the show as a senior at Meredith to participating in the production during her 13-year tenure as president. 

“Tonight we honor the spirit of Alice as a Woman of Achievement,” Allen said, before introducing  Jackson as the night’s featured speaker. 

Throughout her remarks, Jackson shared some of the history, myths, legends, and lore surrounding Alice, including how Alice has grown and adapted over the course of a century.  No matter why that first performance came to be, the century-old tradition works “because of the goodwill of the faculty and staff,” Jackson said. “Alice works because we know and trust each other and because we like each other and are willing to share hidden talents … with each college generation.”

As Meredith College has grown, so has Alice. In 1924, there were 23 members of the cast, in 1972, there were 63, and this year, there were almost 150 in the cast and crew.

According to Jackson, Alice in Wonderland still matters because of the lessons audience members can take from it.

“Each audience member takes away different messages from Alice in Wonderland,” Jackson said. “Courage, resilience, and recognition of self-worth, and finally, one’s strengths. Those lessons are important ones for our students to have regardless of their majors or ages, and important for all of us to be reminded of at any stage of life.”

In a surprise, President Allen returned after the presentation to announce Jackson herself as a recipient of the Woman of Achievement Award, in honor of her service to the College. Jackson is the first current member of the faculty/staff to receive the award. 

“Directing Alice is just a small part of all that Jean Jackson does for this College community,” Allen said. 

A member of the English faculty since 1983, Jackson has served as a vice president since 1994. Her current responsibilities include oversight of Career Planning, Athletics, Campus Police, Chaplain, Dean of Students (including First Year Experience, Residence Life, Commuter Life, Counseling Center, Diversity Programs, and Disability Services), StrongPoints®, and Student Leadership and Service.

View this year’s Woman of Achievement Lecture on the Meredith College Archives website 

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
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