Throughout 2020 and 2021, alumnae and friends of Meredith College remained connected to one another through virtual events offered by the Office of Alumnae Relations and Institutional Advancement.
Over the course of the fall and spring semesters, the Alumnae Office has offered nearly 70 virtual events. A sampling of the variety of events offered for alumnae and friends include an Italian adventures series, at home crafts classes, a Scholar Sips series with faculty, a political landscape series, a virtual Angel Hike, a Trick or Trot 5k, and monthly virtual book clubs. Virtual events have provided alumnae with opportunities to engage with current Meredith College faculty and staff members as well as with fellow alumnae.
To date, nearly 2,000 alumnae and friends have participated in a variety of virtual events that have been offered throughout this academic year. Given that the events have been virtual, alumnae from around the globe have been able to participate. Alumnae living in North Carolina, Alaska, Florida, Virginia, New York, Arizona, Texas, New Jersey, Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, California, South Carolina, Alabama, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Connecticut, West Virginia, Louisiana, Indiana, Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and in the U.K., Italy, Switzerland, and Japan have enjoyed events from the comfort of their home.
Alumnae close to campus and all over the world have also continued to connect with current students on the Meredith Mentors platform. There are currently 1,673 users on the platform.
“COVID required the Alumnae Office to pivot and become creative in identifying ways to connect alumnae to the College and to one another. Our virtual events have allowed alumnae around the globe a chance to hike within their community, bake a pie with Dr. Diane Ellis, visit Italy, enjoy a bit of tea with John Rose and Dr. Betty Webb, tour the North Carolina Museum of History, discuss works of literature and non-fiction, and participate in how-to events, such as painting and weaving,” said Hilary Allen, director of alumnae relations. “During a time of such uncertainty and when we could not be together physically, these events and activities were more important than ever.”
The Office of Alumnae Relations continues to add events to the calendar and anticipates hosting both virtual events and in-person events throughout the summer and fall.
To connect donors with their scholarship students, Institutional Advancement has held virtual meet and greets for students to thank their donors, introduce themselves, talk about their studies, and inform them about their life at Meredith. Connecting individual donors and foundations with these students was incredibly successful allowing donors who live all over the country to meet their scholarship students and hear from various faculty and staff who are thankful for their gifts to the College.
In the fall, the retired faculty and staff luncheon was reimagined. Retired faculty and staff could pick up their lunch on campus or have it delivered by an Institutional Advancement staff member and enjoy it at home. When the attendees entered the Zoom call they were thrilled to see old friends and chat with each other. President Allen delivered a College update to the group and did an extensive question and answer session following it.
“All in all, it was a different type of event, but we were all reminded of the special bonds this group formed while working on campus. We received several emails afterward thanking us for bringing them together,” said Astra Ball, director of advancement services.
The Holiday Tea for donors who are members of the Lifetime and Annual Giving Societies was held in December with special performances from the Music department. Participants still enjoyed their tea with Meredith mugs that were mailed to them in advance of the occasion. Over 100 alumnae and friends participated.
A virtual study abroad lunch and learn with Brooke Shurer, director of international programs, and student presentations were held for donors to learn what students had gained from their adventures, and updates about when students will travel again was held in March.
Students continue to write thank you notes to their donors and even though students and donors could not gather for the scholarship dinner this year, students wrote profiles and recorded videos to introduce themselves to their donors and thank them for their gifts.
Donors have continued to support Meredith College during the pandemic and their gifts are keeping Meredith going strong. Giving Day held February 23 exceeded its $600,000 fundraising goal by more than $150,000. A total of 2,698 donors contributed $771,521 in 24 hours and honored changemakers in their life with their gift.
Meredith Mayhem is currently underway and will end on June 30. Alumnae have already shown their passion for competition between classes and for supporting Meredith College. Alumnae continue to give generously to the Greatest Needs Fund, but also have embraced the importance of giving to the newly established Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fund and have helped reestablish the Chaplain’s Student Emergency Fund to support student needs that arise unexpectedly.
Generous giving from donors has resulted in Meredith’s endowment exceeding $136 million at last report.
Thank you to everyone who contributed their time, talents, or gifts to Meredith College this academic year.