The week of the 125th Opening Convocation was certainly a busy one for Converse. Board members, donors, students, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the dedications of three new or newly-renovated spaces, as well as the formal opening of the 2014-15 academic year. We hope you enjoy this recap of the sights and sounds of the week, as well as some media coverage and social media buzz that surrounded the celebrations!
Wednesday, September 17th marked the opening of the new $3.3 million Marsha H. Gibbs Field House.
On Thursday, September 18, the annual “A Thousand Thanks” donor gala opened with a surprise for former mayor and long-time Converse Trustee Bill Barnet. An anonymous group of donors named the “Barnet Commons” in his honor. Connecting Pell, Dexter, and Wilson halls and including a new dining terrace, the Commons is part of the First Year Experience project which also included renovation of Pell and Dexter to house first-year students.
After the dedication, the gala was graced by the appearance of Dorothy Bishop MM ’87, star of the Dozen Divas show, along with student vocalists Brookley Baker and Tessa Russell. Continuing with the “Leading Ladies” theme, the Dexter Edgar Converse Award, the college’s highest honor, was given to two exceptional Converse women: Mary Lib Spillers Hamilton ’57 and Rosann Ferguson Hooks ’59.
Converse seniors in horns and tails processed with faculty and administration in the formal Opening Convocation ceremony on Friday, September 19th. The keynote speech, filled with personal finance tips and Disney jokes, was delivered by Dr. Roger Luttrell, Associate Professor of Accounting and winner of the 2014 Kathryn Amelia Brown Teaching Award.
After Convocation, the Converse community gathered in front of the 123-year-old Pell Hall to celebrate the completion of its renovation as part of the First Year Experience. Freshman residents welcomed the community inside to explore the remodeled rooms. The $9 million renovation was made possible by more than 400 donors whose gifts ranged from $5 to $1 million.