Libby graduated from Converse in 1979 with a Bachelor of Music in music education. Following graduation, she received a Master’s in Music with a concentration in Choral Conducting from Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. As a legacy, Libby has purple and gold in her blood. Her mother, Molly Leatherwood Cuttino graduated from Converse in 1949 with a Bachelor of Music in piano performance.
Libby is currently serving as 2021-2022 President-Elect for the Alumni Association Board and is the Performing Arts Chair and Choral Director at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. Read on to learn more about Libby and her unwavering commitment to Converse.
Why did you decide to attend Converse, and what stands out about your experience? “When it was time to choose a college, I knew I wanted to eventually teach music in some form, whether as a K-12 educator or as a church musician. Converse’s excellent music school was a big consideration for me along with Furman and the University of South Carolina. My Dad, a Wofford grad who met my mother while she was at Converse, believed in the advantages of a small school and certainly believed in Converse!
I found that to be true with not only the small class sizes but also with the professors who knew you by name and would even invite you into their homes. The camaraderie within the music school and the opportunity to dine together in Gee every evening were things I still treasure and would likely not have enjoyed at larger schools. As a music student at Converse, I realized my weaknesses and limitations but I was also able to embrace my strengths. I found a sense of belonging within the music school.”
“If we could all as alumni understand and embrace the power in giving any amount regularly
to our alma mater, the possibilities would be endless.”
What aspect of volunteering for Converse do you find most rewarding? “When my husband and I moved with our two children from Northeastern NC to the Charlotte area in 2002, the shorter distance to Spartanburg allowed me to become more engaged at Converse. I volunteered to be a member of the Alumnae Board after my mother’s death in 2015 with the hope of representing the both of us in giving back to our alma mater in meaningful ways. I have gladly served as the Giving Officer for the Board with the intention of reminding all alumni
that our annual gifts strengthen our alma mater in so many ways that include helping ALL students who wish to attend Converse realize that opportunity, and in raising the status of our own education and diploma.
Also, I am proud to serve on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee alongside other alumni hoping to create mentorship opportunities for fellow alumni and nurturing a sense of belonging within the alumni community. As President-Elect of the Alumni Board, I am excited to witness the changing status of Converse and the consequential growth in size, diversity, and opportunities.”
As the former Alumni Association Board Giving Officer, why do you feel it’s important to give back to Converse? “My husband has worked in college development for almost 40 years making it possible for many disadvantaged students to attend college without the burden of financial responsibilities. My daughter now works in admissions in a large state university hoping to make it possible for all students who wish for a college education to realize that dream despite economic status. Understanding the difference financial support can make to an institution and to individuals, we have always been faithful in giving what we can to our church and to higher education.
The Converse Annual Fund is managed so well, distributing funds to programs and needs that make a difference. If we could all as alumni understand and embrace the power in giving (any amount) regularly to our alma mater, the possibilities would be endless.”
“My hope is that all alumni will come together in the spirit of understanding, creating a community of alumni who share the bond of the Converse experience.”
What does the Converse community mean to you as an alumna? “I have never ceased to be proud of my Converse education. It was the right place for me at that time. Change is inevitable within any institution. The changes proposed for and occurring at Converse are, in my opinion, changes in the right direction and for the right reasons. Our individual experiences while at Converse will always be a part of us. My hope is that all alumni, regardless of age or class year, will come together in the spirit of understanding and cheer each other on, creating a community of alumni who share the bond of the Converse experience.”
What excites you most about serving as the 2022-2023 President of the Alumni Association Board? “It is a very exciting time for Converse University! I am honored and privileged to be involved in the Alumni Board during the search for a new president, as we launch into University status, and as we grow into a more diverse and inclusive community. I think the biggest challenge and yet one of the most important goals we will embrace as the Alumni Board is successfully bridging alumni of all ages, backgrounds, and disciplines into a community of alumni who proudly share the bond of a Converse education.”
Do you have a favorite Converse memory? “As a member of the Converse Chorale all four years of my time at Converse, the Festival of Lessons and Carols service was an annual highlight. My parents always attended and we all looked forward to that time on campus when luminaries lined the entrance drive and Wilson was decorated so beautifully. We had an incredible chorus of voices at that time and it was a thrill for me to be even a small part of such a group. As a future choral director, I learned so much from the directors, Perry Daniels and Larry Smith.”
Originally published in the Your Connection alumni newsletter.