On April 13, 2016, the senior class was able to experience the love and outreach of Meredith College’s longstanding alumnae sisterhood. Likewise, I was able to experience firsthand the inclusiveness of this group of inspiring and strong women; and I cried. Not just because it was the first time I realized that I had less than a month left at Meredith, but also because I knew I was being welcomed into a sisterhood that I would belong to for the rest of my life. This induction ceremony unofficially promoted me and my 2016 sisters to alumnae status, a status that would become official on May 7 when we would join together at commencement.
On May 6, 2016, we enjoyed Class Day for the second time – except this time we were singing to our little sisters, just like our big sisters had sung to us two years ago. I thought, “I’ve got this”, but I in fact did not have it because I cried when the Bath Tub Ring, our acapella group, began crying. As their sisters, we helped them finish the last song they would ever sing for us. If you were in Jones Auditorium that day, you felt the love we were pouring out into the room and it would continue to pour into Dorton Arena the next day.
On May 7, 2016, we were joined together with friends, family, faculty, and staff to receive our degrees and turn our rings to face the world. We were excited as we gathered in the tunnels underneath the arena and began finding our places in line – taking pictures, hugging friends, and fixing our decorated caps. When it came time for the ceremony to begin, we were ushered by marshals into a packed arena, flanked by cheering professors whom we have grown to know and appreciate over these past four years. The ceremony was a blur and I can no longer remember the order in which the various speakers addressed us. I just hoped that I would not fall when stepping toward President Allen to accept my diploma. As we merged into a large circle with lights in hand, we saluted our alma mater with song and it was nothing short of mesmerizing. Then it was done. Four years of hard work – over in just two hours. I could hardly believe it then, just like I can hardly believe it today.
As I write this, it is May 15, 2016, and it still sounds surreal for me to say that I am a graduate of Meredith College. It feels like I moved into my first dorm room just yesterday, not like I just said goodbye to my home of four years. I am so thankful for the moments Meredith College gave me. I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to attend such an esteemed institution and figure out where I want to go from here. As the first person in my family to graduate from college, this role I now hold as a graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree is new. However, Meredith has provided me with the skills and strengths to put my best foot forward and to make this College proud. I will always remember these years and this sisterhood, and I will return. That way I will never truly be gone.
— By Lillian Redding, ’16