Jones-Rushing Endowment Will Revitalize Converse’s Writing Center
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Jones-Rushing Endowment Will Revitalize Converse’s Writing Center

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A generous gift from Emily Jones Rushing ’73 and her husband, Hugh, will support Converse College’s Writing Center in Mickel Library.

Rushing spent a great deal of time in Mickel Library while earning her BA in Comparative Literature at Converse. She hoped to snag a role as editor for the student-run newspaper ‘The Conversationalist’ but a position on Mortar Board, which led to her presidency in that organization, altered that path. This new direction would take Rushing through a 30+ year career as a writer and editor for newspapers and non-profit organizations.

“Our gift to the Writing Center allows us to support today’s Converse students and to honor the place that gave me such a great start.”

She credits Converse for preparing her for a variety of communications roles. “What I needed – and got – from my professors (especially in English, history and the humanities) was the challenge of paring down and polishing,” Rushing said. “Instead of throwing all my words and thoughts onto the page, I learned to pick and choose and, most importantly perhaps, how to stop when I was finished.”

Rushing emphasized the need for effective communication is crucial not only in the work environment, but life in general. “Whether you are texting or creating a professional PowerPoint, you can get in trouble without the ability to express yourself clearly,” she said.

Dr. Harbin, Director of the Writing Center at Converse, echoes this mentality. “Communication skills are in high demand by employers; we help students who need additional development of those skills.” Dr. Harbin went on to say how crucial this endowment will be to the Writing Center. “In addition to our critical basic needs, such as new furniture, we plan to add new technology to better utilize online resources and to create flexible learning environments that accommodate individual learning differences.”

“For people who find writing papers akin to a root canal, we provide guidance, feedback, a sympathetic ear and a cup of tea.”

Dr. Harbin spent the last few years developing the Writing Center into a welcoming, accommodating space. “For people who find writing papers akin to a root canal, we provide guidance, feedback, a sympathetic ear and a cup of tea,” Dr. Harbin said. She expressed the Writing Center’s mission to not only be a center for academic support but also to convey the staff’s enthusiasm for and love of writing. Dr. Harbin emphasized that the Writing Center serves all Converse students — from freshmen to graduate students — and welcomes inquiries about writing assignments across the curriculum. “Our Peer Consultants are bright, talented students who are trained to ask questions and make suggestions that bring out the best ideas and writing from other students,” Dr. Harbin said.

Since graduating in 1973, Rushing continues to spend time at Converse and is active with the Converse community. “My husband, Hugh, is a former journalist who shares my love of Converse,” Rushing said. She hopes the endowment will help current and future Converse students develop their communication skills. “No matter the discipline, how you say something is often as important as what you say. Our gift to the Writing Center allows us to support today’s Converse students and to honor the place that gave me such a great start.”