A permanent tribute to former Converse President Betsy Fleming was announced today, as the College’s new junior housing complex was formally dedicated and named Fleming Hall in her honor. The name was selected by alumna and Converse Trustee Ellen Lanford Asherman ’85 and her husband, Philip, whose generous contributions to the College have had significant impact on the College’s growth and success.
Fleming Hall Dedication
Students, faculty, staff, Trustees, alumnae, and friends gathered to celebrate the opening of the new suites-style housing facility, which opened last month with the new academic year.
“It was one year ago tomorrow that we gathered on this spot by the dust of churned-up earth,“ said President Newkirk during the event. “As we looked out over a few rising beams that would frame our new junior suites, we imagined this great building and the home it would create for our students. We wrote our names on a beam that today is hidden within these walls as a lasting testament to our conviction that this residence hall would create an important place at Converse for students to live, study, and develop richer connections with each other.”
“As students become increasingly independent, their living environments are constructed to encourage and develop their independence with the goal that they will develop the confidence, competence and courage to excel in both their personal and professional lives beyond Converse.”
This project is part of the 10-year Housing Master Plan that Converse adopted in 2008, and it completes the model of progressively independent living environments for students. “One of Converse’s most distinctive aspects is our sense of community, with student connections forming and broadening within the residence halls,” said Newkirk. “As students become increasingly independent, their living environments are constructed to encourage and develop their independence with the goal that they will develop the confidence, competence and courage to excel in both their personal and professional lives beyond Converse.”
A dedicated group of Trustees and Converse staff worked for the past two years to bring the project to fruition. The housing committee included current and past members of the Converse Board of Trustees and of the Converse staff: Randall Chambers, Anna Converse, Kim Kent, Rick Pennell, Dwight Van Inwegen, Ben Wall, Bill Johnson, Rick Jolley, Robin Leslie and Rhonda Mingo. Converse also partnered with Capital Bank, National Campus and Community Development Corporation, Wilmington Trust, Brailsford & Dunlavey, Craig Gaulden Davis, and Harper Corporation on the project. Newkirk praised and thanked all for their contributions and excellent work.
The name Fleming Hall was kept a surprise for the Converse community until the dedication. “It is my great pleasure to announce that our new residence hall will bear the name Fleming Hall to honor the vision and leadership of past Converse president Betsy Fleming,” President Newkirk announced during the celebration.
“For more than a decade, Betsy Fleming dedicated her life to building and strengthening this institution”
“For more than a decade, Betsy Fleming dedicated her life to building and strengthening this institution. Her love for Converse began at a young age as the daughter of an alumna, and it blossomed into a passion for advancing the lives of women and girls when she became president in 2005. The decade of transformation and accomplishment Converse experienced during her tenure continues to instill pride in those who love and steward this College,” she said.
Joining Newkirk to cut the ribbon for Fleming Hall were Betsy Fleming; Ellen and Philip Asherman; Kim Kent, chair of the Board of Trustees; Ben Wall, immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees; Rhonda Mingo, dean of community life; Robin Leslie, vice president for finance and administration; and Bill Johnson, former interim vice president for finance and administration.
The Converse community and guests enjoyed student-led tours of the new residence hall following the dedication ceremony.