Four straight days of celebration brought alumnae and friends from near and far to the Converse campus April 23-26. The College’s highest honor, the Dexter Edgar Converse Award, was presented to Betty and Walter Montgomery during the annual Thousand Thanks Gala April 23. The next day, members of the College community gathered in Twichell Auditorium to celebrate the birthday of Dexter Edgar Converse, the College’s founder. Later that evening, approximately 2,000 students from colleges across the region flocked to the Converse back lawn as musicians Corey Smith, Michael Warren and Florez performed under a brilliant starry sky for Conniestock 2008. On Friday, more than 350 Converse alumnae and guests came home to their alma mater for Reunion Weekend.
The Thousand Thanks Gala is a special evening event to celebrate Converse donors who have given $1,000 or more and to present the Dexter Edgar Converse Award. This year’s award recipients, Betty and Walter Montgomery, have given 39 years of combined leadership and stewardship to the Board of Trustees. Most recently, as lead donors to the renovation of the Montgomery Student Center in 2006, they ushered the facility into the 21st century with the incorporation of the latest technology, creative student gathering and meetings spaces, a beautiful chapel, and offices for student services. Their passion for music and the arts spurred their leadership in the College¹s Steinway Initiative, which earned Converse status as the first women¹s college in the world to join the prestigious roster of All-Steinway Schools. Their devotion to the Petrie School of Music has enriched the caliber and the quality of the College¹s music program.
Founder’s Day, the annual celebration of Dexter Edgar Converse’s birthday, has been observed by the College since 1903 as an opportunity to reflect upon the College’s present and future in light of its past. President Betsy Fleming hailed Mr. Converse’s vision of making higher education available to women in 1889 as “very progressive. By that time, only 14 women’s colleges had been established in the entire United States.