Meredith College held commencement exercises for the Class of 2016 on Saturday, May 7, 2016, in Dorton Arena.
The commencement address was given by NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan.
Stofan urged graduates to remember the values instilled in them by Meredith College — personal development, responsible global citizenship, and relevance.
Speaking of her own career and those of other pioneering women like mathematician Ada Lovelace, chemist Rosalind Franklin, and cytogeneticist Barbara McClintock, Stofan told the graduates to be inspired by women who have made significant contributions to the sciences and the world.
“These stories teach us that in spite of adversity and challenges, we must remain strong,” Stofan said. “Although things may not always go as planned, don’t stop setting goals and believing in yourself.”
Stofan closed by encouraging Meredith graduates to remember their values and their role models when facing roadblocks to success.
“You are not going to have all the answers; you may not have everyone’s support; but you have what it takes to be relevant and make a significant change in the world.”
During the ceremony, President Jo Allen announced that the College was bestowing an honorary doctorate, its highest academic honor, on Dr. Stofan.
“This degree recognizes and honors women and men of exceptional accomplishment, specifically those who have achieved distinction in an honorable academic, cultural, and/or humanitarian endeavor that reflects the fundamental principles for which Meredith College stands,” said President Allen.
Graduates were represented by two student speakers.
Jyh-shing Chen, who received his MBA, spoke on behalf of graduate students. He spoke about the importance of pursuing your dreams. “We don’t have forever, so let us make good use of our time and make every day count,” Chen said. “Let us pursue our dreams and at the same time, take time to love and care about our families, friends, colleagues, communities, and the precious earth.”
Senior Class President Bailey Benge spoke on behalf of the undergraduates. Benge built her speech on Meredith’s vision statement, which says in part that the College is a place where students enhance their strengths.
“All the tools we have gained and the lessons we have learned have made us stronger than ever, and we are ready to tackle and take on the future.”
Meredith College commencements close with a special tradition during which the new graduates hold candles, which symbolize the education they have received as light they are taking into the world.
“We charge you now to take the Meredith light into the world,” said President Allen. “As you have gained confidence, knowledge, courage, and strength, we charge you now to put those qualities to work to improve our world.”
About the Graduates
Approximately 490 degrees were conferred by Meredith College during the ceremony. The College conferred Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Social Work degrees upon graduates of the undergraduate program, as well as master’s degrees in business, education and nutrition. These include degrees completed in August 2015, December 2015 and May 2016. Undergraduate programs at Meredith are for women only, while graduate programs are coeducational.
Success After Meredith
Meredith 2016 graduates have been hired by companies and organizations including Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, the Interfaith Youth Core, IBM, Cisco Systems, Student Action with Farmworkers, Metabolon, Wake County Public Schools, Level 5 Designs, MA Allen Interiors, and the American Dance Festival. Others will pursue graduate degrees at universities including UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State University, Auburn University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Texas School of Public Health, Campbell School of Law, Appalachian State University, the Southern College of Optometry, and the College of Charleston.
Read more Strong Stories about the Class of 2016 at meredith.edu/goingstrong