SPARTANBURG, S.C.– As the Class of 2001 marched into Twichell Auditorium for the May 19 commencement exercises, their facial expressions said it all. The lab work, the research papers, the recitals-it was all worth it. Ready to seize the future, their day had finally arrived.
During the ceremony, Converse College conferred 157 degrees and two honorary degrees. Harriet Smith O’Neill ’78, a Justice with the Texas Supreme Court, and Mireya Moscoso, President of Panama, both received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees.
During her commencement address, Justice O’Neill encouraged the graduates to always test their limits. “If you don’t live life on the edge, you’ll never see the view,” she said. She also advised the graduates to use the strength and diversity of those around them. “As roots grow, so does the tree. Your roots are your family and friends-neglect them and you’ll wither; nourish them and you’ll flourish.”
Before receiving her honorary degree, President Moscoso, the only female head of state in the Western hemisphere, spoke of discrimination many women throughout the world continue to experience. “The discrimination many of us face is unacceptable, especially when we have the opportunity to exercise political and economic power. We must continue to fight these and future battles with determination and energy.”