From Student to the Converse Board of Trustees: Emily Rushing ’73

Trustee Giving Spotlights (3) (1)

Over the next several months, the Converse Annual Fund will spotlight the newest members of the Converse College Board of Trustees. These six individuals support the College with both their time and talent, helping our students to become transformative leaders who see clearly, decide wisely, and act justly. This profile of Emily Rushing is the second of the series.

What inspired you to become a member of the Converse College Board of Trustees?

My education at Converse was a key part of my development as a person, so I have always been eager to continue to support this institution. The Alumnae Director when I graduated was a friend, so I quickly got involved in chapter activities wherever I lived. I was privileged to serve twice on the Alumnae Board and to chair the Board of Visitors, but the “big board,” the Board of Trustees, was always there, doing even more for Converse. It is a real treat to be able to serve in that role.

Thinking through your personal goals, what life accomplishments are you most proud of? What would you like to check off next from your bucket list?

To have a strong, supportive group of family and friends that I can count on — we can count on each other. Because I have lived in the same community most of my life and held jobs that engaged me in the community (journalism and nonprofit work), I seem to be connected to a lot of people, and I think I am respected as a hard worker who wants to make this place better. That makes me happy.

Converse is standing at the threshold of many great things.

Traveling is off the agenda for right now, in this strange pandemic time, though there are many places my husband and I still want to go. I am privileged to serve on a number of local boards and now on the Vestry of my Episcopal church, and I think my current calling is to use this time to keep making my community a better place. As with all of our society, there is still much to be done to offer justice, protection and equal access to all.

What are some of the overall impacts you hope to make during your tenure on the Converse College Board of Trustees?

Converse is standing at the threshold of many great things as we shape a future that includes participation by all students who want to benefit from this great education and community experience. I am excited to offer full support for changes that open the doors to growth and positive change. The path of Converse seems consistent with what has always been its founder’s desire, that we learn to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly.” I share that vision for my own life, so I am ready to offer my talents wherever they fit.

Why do you think it’s important to give to the Converse Annual Fund? What program/area of Converse will your next philanthropic gift support?

I have been a faithful giver from my earliest years after college. I know how important it is in seeking other support that the college has a high percentage of alumnae/I giving, no matter the individual amount. That seems an easy thing to do. I have been glad to be able to support particular efforts outside of the general fund, such as a scholarship fund, improvements to the “first-year experience” and currently the Writing Center. As someone who has done writing for her career, in one form or another, I know the value of a good grounding in writing for any occupation. Who knows what the next great challenge will be, but I look forward to participating as much as I can.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, was there a particular activity, project or hobby that you most enjoyed?

I continue to read, to learn and to seek training, especially in the area of anti-racism. In the pandemic, many great sessions that I could not have attended in person, due to cost or schedule, have been made available online and I have really enjoyed pursuing these opportunities.

What is one fun need-to-know fact about you?

I love to laugh! Whether it’s a game with kids or a night watching Toy Story 4, there is nothing better than a chance for a true chuckle.

What is your favorite memory of Converse as a student? Where was your favorite spot on campus to relax when you were a student here?

A crazy memory that sticks with me is when I was learning to recite a passage of Greek (yes, the ancient language) for a class. I had to memorize and recite it out loud, so I went under the railroad trestle at the edge of Converse Heights to do that without being overheard. Some neighborhood kids came down there and saw me — who knows what they thought, but I didn’t care.
My favorite spot has long since been torn down — an old house close to front campus that had various uses over the years. We were allowed to take over the lower floor, paint and decorate it when we were seniors. The front parlor and downstairs became our gathering place.

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