On May 12, Converse awarded degrees to 172 members of The Class of 2012. These graduates are ready to make their mark on the world in professions ranging from medicine to education, from the arts to public policy, and from interior design to law.
“Go understanding that you are a Converse woman who can capture the world.”
They have prepared—through academic studies, through leadership development opportunities, and by growing as creative thinkers and innovators both in and out of the classroom— to become citizens who effect positive change in the world. While at Converse, nearly 60% participated in a faculty-student research or creative independent experiences, nearly 60% served as an officer in a campus organization, 25% participated in study/travel, and 37% held an internship. Breaking barriers is the norm for these women, as 37% are the first person in their immediate family to graduate from college. They are committed to continuing the Converse legacy that has played such a pivotal role in their lives, with more than 90% indicating their desire to volunteer as mentors to current Converse students.
In a challenging economy where the value of a college degree is debated daily in the media, the Class of 2012 is poised to prove that it opens doors to great careers. By the time they received their diplomas, 53% had already secured full- or part-time employment. Twenty-two percent of the class has been accepted to attend graduate school, and nearly a fifth of these students received fellowships or assistantships.
Members of the class have received acceptances by following graduate schools:
- Mississippi State University (history)
- George Mason University (public policy)
- James Madison University
- Wichita State University (music performance)
- University of South Carolina (biomedical science)
- University of South Carolina School of Law
- University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy
- Clemson University (studio art)
- Washington & Lee School of Law
- University of Texas Health Science Center (immunology)
- New York School of Interior Design (sustainable interior environments)
- Charleston School of Law
- University of Georgia (public administration)
- Converse College (education, music)
On the eve of their commencement, the class enjoyed a “Hats Off Party” with family, friends, and Converse faculty and staff.
During the commencement ceremony, class president Hilary Berry unveiled a stone paver engraved with the class theme, “Loving every moment until the clock strikes ’12,” which will be installed on campus. Members of the class presented their first gift to the Converse Annual Fund as they walked across the stage by dropping gold dollar coins into a silver bucket. The class raised more than $600 towards the Annual Fund as part of their class gift. “Watching my classmates partake in this first act as alumnae was inspiring,” said Berry. “We hope to remove the mindset that young alumnae do not give back to the College because the do not have the funds, but rather impart to our fellow alumnae that anyone can give.”
The following awards were presented during the service:
- Kathryne Amelia Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Kyle Keefer, associate professor of religion
- Elford C. Morgan Award for highest GPA – Meagan Kusek ’12
- Pi Kappa Lambda Award for music – Victoria (Tori) Hand ’12
- Scholarly and Creative Achievement Awards – Andrew Blanchard, associate professor of art; and Dr. Neval Erturk, associate professor of biology
- Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards for Community Service – Sarah Martin ’12 and Ysal Dulken
In her farewell to the graduates, President Betsy Fleming stated, “The entire system of Big Sis/Little Sis is about leaving the ladder down so that other women coming after you may have an easier journey, or go farther, or be able to battle a different challenge because of your success and generosity. Remember, too, the value of sisterhood. There are powerful outcomes when friends support each other during difficult times, when sisters encourage each other to persevere, and when other women push you to dream or think bigger than you might have the courage or the insight to do on your own.” She continued, “Go knowing that you are fortified by your experiences here. Go recognizing that you take with you the love and admiration of your sisters as well as the faculty and staff who have supported you here. Go feeling that you are so very worthy of happiness and fulfillment. Go understanding that you are a Converse woman who can capture the world.”