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Alumnae Connecting to Meredith in a New Way

Alumnae Virtual Events Zoom screen

At the conclusion of the spring 2020 semester and now throughout the fall semester, alumnae and friends have remained connected to one another and the College through virtual events offered by the Office of Alumnae Relations.

Over the course of the fall semester, the office has 37 virtual events scheduled. From at home crafts to virtual Italian adventures to a series focused on the election, there have been a variety of events offered for alumnae and friends.

Some highlights of the fall virtual events include an election series featuring Professor of Political Science David McLennan, an alumnae book club, an Italian Adventure Series highlighting the culture, food, wine, and art of Italy, a Scholar Sips Series, and at home crafts.

Thus far, over 500 alumnae and friends have participated in the virtual events that have been offered. The virtual events have provided alumnae around the globe the opportunity to participate. We have seen participation by alumnae in North Carolina, Alaska, Florida, Virginia, New York, Arizona, California, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and even across the pond in the U.K. and Japan.

Nelly Navarro-Britt, ’99, has regularly participated in the virtual alumnae book club meeting. Navarro-Britt currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska, and has appreciated the connection the virtual events have provided. “Since graduation I have moved all over the United States. While I do go “home” every five years for my reunions, I miss out on so many awesome opportunities only offered on campus,” said Navarro-Britt. “What I have experienced since the current pandemic is what I was craving all these years. I am so happy to be able to participate in events no matter how far away I live from Raleigh. Thank you for offering them; it means more than you know.”

Deanna Harris, ʼ90, an alumna that lives locally appreciates that other alumnae from different parts of the world can participate in the virtual events.  “The virtual alumnae book club has been a great opportunity to meet alumnae from across the country and overseas and to discuss interesting, relevant, and thought-provoking novels and non-fiction books.  As a teacher and school librarian, I love a strong book club, and it’s even better when I can meet with my Meredith sisters from my own comfy chair at home without having to drive back into Raleigh at night!”

In addition to the connection with fellow alumnae, virtual event participants have enjoyed the opportunity to engage with current Meredith College faculty members. Crystal Hartness Leathers, ’65, and her husband have been tuning in each Monday morning for the Meredith Votes 2020 series, which concludes the week after the election. Regarding the series, Leathers notes, “We have found the presentations and interactions with Dr. David McLennan to be interesting and informative.  We’ve been impressed by his knowledge of politics, government, and elections at every level.  I like seeing this quality of fine scholarship that our students have available in Dr. McLennan. This series is another example of Meredith helping us be responsible citizens and strengthening our bonds as an informed community.”

Likewise, Emma Bartholomew Stewart, ’70, has been participating in the Meredith Votes 2020 Series. “I look forward to Monday mornings at 10 a.m. and the stimulating Zoom about Election 2020,” she said. “Dr. McLennan is very personable, and his facts and commentary have enriched the process. It ALMOST makes me want to go back to school, now that I have a living lens of 50 years since graduation through which to view things.”

The virtual events offered during the fall semester have sought to educate, inform, and facilitate discussion amongst members of the Meredith community. In particular, Boyd King Dimmock, ’71, states, “Attending the Meredith Book Club has exposed me to new interesting books that have given me new insights into the challenges of others’ lives.  Feeling somewhat isolated because of COVID-19, it is nice to see the faces of the group and share in their views about the content. I find that the books selected are not books I would have found on my own, especially The Girl with the Louding Voice. The book about a young Nigerian girl’s life stretched my understanding of women’s opportunities worldwide in a time when we have been thinking about the improvements made for us in the U.S. by the efforts of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

Tamani Anderson Powell, ʼ86, has been unable to stay connected with Meredith in years because raising her kids has kept her focused on them.  She has been thankful for a new way to connect.  “My time at the recent virtual book club was amazing! It gave me a chance to get back to me and share that time with a great group of women. In the beginning, I only knew one person but felt like I made some new friends who shared a kindred spirit and love of reading.”

The Alumnae Office is continuing to add events to the calendar and anticipates other informative virtual events in the winter and spring.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330

allenme@meredith.edu