The Johnson Hall Rotunda echoes with laughter as faculty, staff, students, and alumnae/i excitedly catch up with one another over slices of pink frosted cake to celebrate the College’s 132nd birthday.
The 2023 birthday celebration took place on February 28, so it coincided with the College’s 8th annual Giving Day. This year a record-breaking $1,329,823 was raised by 2,667 donors in just 24 hours, exceeding the goal to raise $1 million.
Kicking off the event were remarks from Vice President for College Programs Jean Jackson, ’75, which were live-streamed on Facebook so that alumnae and friends worldwide could join the festivities.
“We are here today on campus honoring what we know as Meredith College and celebrating the many ways we are indeed going strong,” said Jackson. “As we approach the middle of the spring semester during the 2022-23 academic year, I can share we have much to celebrate today.”
Jackson announced the exciting advancements Meredith has made this academic year. In the fall of 2022, the College opened its newest academic building, Communication and Health, Exercise & Sport Sciences (CHESS). The new building features hands-on learning experiences for students, including a broadcast studio, podcast studio, and Health and Human Performance Lab. Exercise & sports sciences students also piloted their first clinical exercise program utilizing the new space within CHESS.
The academic year saw many students participating in compelling learning experiences, including the Meredith Poll, in which students polled North Carolinians about voter preferences and opinions during the 2022 midterm elections; hospitality and tourism students visited North Carolina’s only Forbes 5-star rated property; and Moot Court participants traveled to Yale University and competed in the Elm City Moot Court Competition.
In September 2022 Meredith celebrated the 50th anniversary of the adult education program, Wings. Since its formation in 1972, the program has seen 2,000 adult students complete their college education.
Avenging Angels athletics teams have also continued going strong, with the cross country team finishing the 2022 season atop the USA South standings and a Meredith alumna was inducted into the USA South Hall of Fame.
“These are just a few of the many highlights from this academic year. As you can see, we have much to celebrate,” said Jackson. “Happy birthday, Meredith College! Now, let us celebrate and eat cake!”
After Jackson’s remarks, attendees began milling about the tables lined with food and party favors, including Meredith party hats, signs, and buttons. Many students reflected on their time and what makes Meredith strong.
Rachel Van Horne, ’23, was excited to be in attendance at the party after missing it last year. Upon reflection on her four years at the College, she credits the Meredith students and professors for encouraging her to grow and challenge herself.
“Before I came to Meredith, I was incredibly shy, and I never really had any leadership positions beyond church, and now I have several. I think Meredith has pushed me to go out of my comfort zone.”
Freshman Kaylee Appleton, ’26, said what makes Meredith so strong is the close campus community. This also played a large role in why she chose to come to the College.
“There’s a lot of resources Meredith provides that you can use to benefit yourself, and that’s helped make me stronger.”
Tanasia Yelverton, ’26, echoed that the strong community and support from professors at Meredith is what makes the College unique.
“I’ve definitely gotten more independent since I left my home, so I guess being able to test run adulthood has helped make me stronger.”