The Class of ʼ71 had an idea their senior year at Meredith College. The class wanted to bring high profile speakers to campus who would be academically significant and memorable for students, the campus community, and a broader audience. The class set out to raise money and by graduation had raised $10,000 to establish the Wallace Endowment.
The Lillian Parker Wallace Lecture Series was named for a beloved history professor and chair of the department. The lecture series is open to speakers of all fields of endeavor. Speakers in the past have been at the pinnacle of their careers, recognized far and wide for their impact and insight, and have included Sandra Day O’Connor and five Nobel Peace Prize recipients including President Jimmy Carter.
The class presented the gift to Lillian Parker Wallace at their Class Day ceremony in 1971. She was so touched that she painted a picture of the Meredith Lake as a thank you to the class for the endowment and sent a copy to each class member.
Even before graduation, the class had committed to making their gifts as alumnae to the endowment, and when the class met last year at their 45th reunion the endowment had grown to nearly $750,000. While discussing what their 50th reunion gift would be, Anne Bryan, ʼ71, read a News and Observer article to her classmates that was published in the spring of 1971 highlighting the success of their senior class gift. That memory gave them inspiration to decide to raise an additional $250,000 for the endowment, to bring the total to $1 million. The class is already close to the goal.
“Our class is very proud of this gift,” says Bryan. After all of these years, the enthusiasm continues to grow because classmates have reconnected and we’re all committed to the mission of the endowment to enrich the experience of Meredith’s students and engage the community.”
The class will continue to raise funds until their 50th reunion in 2021.
“It was a joy working with the Class of 1971 on this meaningful project,” said Margo Alfieri, ʼ11, Parent Gift Officer. “Seeing their authentic and thoughtful vision as students come to life is inspirational, and illustrates the