Friday, April 21 was a mile marker in the history of Converse College as we celebrated the investiture of our tenth president, Krista L. Newkirk, JD. Festivities ran from mid-morning until late in the evening and included a formal inauguration ceremony, the launch of a new tradition with the Converse Mace, a celebratory lunch on the lawn, and a donor gala and inaugural ball uniting alumnae, students, faculty, staff, donors, esteemed guests, and Newkirk friends and family as they ushered in a new era together.
Enjoy these highlights of the day’s festivities and check out Part 1 for highlights of the inauguration ceremony.
Scenes from Inauguration Day Video
Inauguration Day Photo Gallery
Excitement radiated Friday morning as the usual Founder’s Day crowd of faculty, students, staff and boards was joined by past Converse presidents, delegates from other colleges, alumnae, family, and esteemed members of the community. After the ceremony, attendees were welcomed to an expansive lunch on the lawn with the traditional strawberries and cream, the favorite dessert of our founder Dexter Edgar Converse.
The Inaugural Ball Dinner & the Dexter Edgar Converse Award
Converse hosted our most generous supporters, community leaders, and friends and family of President Newkirk for a dinner on the evening of the inauguration. The event included presentation of the Dexter Edgar Converse Award, the College’s highest honor, which recognizes those who have given extraordinarily of their time, energy and passion as well as financial gifts to the College. Past award recipients in attendance were Don Bain, Bill Barnet, Mary Belser, George and Susu Johnson, Mary Lib Hamilton, and Walter and Betty Montgomery.
This year’s Dexter Edgar Converse Award was presented to Tom Hannah, a steadfast champion for Converse whose vision and leadership has helped transform the College over the last two decades. He served on the Board of Trustees from 1997 – 2005 and 2007 – 2015, including two years as chairman. His leadership is marked by his penchant for demanding excellence and his unwavering commitment to strengthening the College’s foundation. A native of Mississippi, Hannah’s dedication to Converse grew steadily as he recognized the exponential return on his investment as it impacted the lives of young women. As she presented the award, President Newkirk expressed, “Tom, we are thankful that you have dedicated so much of your life in support of Converse College. You are a role model for all who admire and benefit from your love of this institution!”
Dancing on the Back Lawn Featuring Jessie’s Girls
Following dinner, the Converse community joined together with dinner guests for an evening of dancing on the back lawn. Held under a sparkling tent streaming with colored light, it was the ultimate party for all ages thanks to the energetic sounds and eye-catching showmanship of the band Jessie’s Girls. The show was produced by Converse music business students as the project for their spring term course.
Check out #PresNewkirk on social media to experience Inauguration Day through the posts of the participants.