Mesha Williams of The Spartanburg Herald-Journal contributed to this story.
Comparing Converse College to a “treasured garden” that nurtures young women to become leaders, the institution’s new president, Betsy Fleming, urged supporters to help advance the mission of women’s colleges.
“In the history of the world, never have women been summoned to lead as they are today,” she said during her inaugural address to the campus community at Twichell Auditorium on Thursday, April 27. “Converse will be ready to answer this clarion call,” she said. “Join me in becoming ambassadors and investors in our great cause, and help us grow Converse’s talent and expand her network.”
She added, “Open your eyes and see what’s around you. Survey this garden given to us. Let us tend to this beautiful garden that has been entrusted to all of us, for our daughters, for our families, our community and world.”
President Fleming’s remarks were far-reaching and took a global perspective, addressing the need for female leadership in areas such as business, government policy and international conflicts. She also said that she wants the college to emerge as a regional power and leader in the South for female students studying the arts, humanities, sciences and service leadership. “We will be the school located in the Southeast that delivers the most applicable liberal arts education for women,” she said.
An art historian by profession, President Fleming spoke of the impressionist painter Claude Monet, and what it was like for him to be on the verge of greatness.