The word home comes to mind for many Meredith College alumnae as soon as they drive through the front entrance to the College. They have returned home, to a place that holds fond memories of friendships, professors who cared, and a community that accepted them for who they were and helped shape them into young women ready for life after graduation.
Meredith alumnae share a bond with each other, and many alumnae are eager to share those experiences with young women in their lives in hopes of influencing the students to attend a place they consider very special.
“I feel it is important to tell young women about Meredith because if we alumnae, who love and cherish our alma mater, don’t tell young women in our communities, who will? And who could be better to tell them?” said Nan Davis Fleming, ’82.
Encourage a Visit
Caroline Williamitis Sutton, ’15, never intended to be a student at Meredith. But Tricia Perry Stowe, ’84, a long-time family friend, told her about Meredith her junior year in high school. Stowe begged her to visit the campus, so Sutton and her mother set up a private tour with the admissions office.
“Ms. Tricia felt the tour would be eye-opening for me and she was right,” said Sutton. “I felt so welcomed as soon as we drove onto campus. There was a parking spot with my name on it, and my admission counselor and a student guide were waiting for me.”
Sutton told her mother at the end of the tour to cancel her other college visits because she had found her home away from home and could not imagine going anywhere else.
“When a student visits Meredith, the Office of Admissions has one primary goal – to help the student understand the value of a Meredith education,” said Shery Boyles, director of admissions. “Each student participates in an in-depth conversation with her admission counselor about her hopes and dreams for her college experience, she speaks one-on-one with a faculty member or sits in on a class, and while touring our beautiful campus she’ll talk with a current student about her Meredith experience. This highly personalized visit is intended to demonstrate what the prospective student will experience when she chooses Meredith.”
Today, Sutton passes on her appreciation of Meredith College to the high school students she teaches.
“I encourage students and talk to parents about the possibility of their daughter going to Meredith. I share my story about falling in love with Meredith when I visited, the wonderful traditions, and how great my classes were,” said Sutton. “And I now ask colleagues to send any interested students my way, so I can share an application voucher with them.”
The application fee voucher is one way many alumnae can assist prospective students in applying to Meredith. The voucher, found on the Meredith website, is filled out by the alumna and given to the student to mail or email to the Admissions Office.
As class agent, Deanna Harris, ’90, sends emails to her class and posts on the class Facebook page reminding her classmates to encourage their daughters, their friends’ daughters, and any students they teach or mentor to consider Meredith. She also provides the link to the application fee voucher and informs them about Discover Meredith each fall.
“It is part of our responsibility to share our experience and encourage other young women to consider Meredith for furthering their education and growing into their own,” said Harris.
Discover Meredith is held on a Saturday in October each year and is a day for alumnae to share Meredith with young women in their lives. It is also an opportunity to connect with other alumnae and hear from President Jo Allen, ’80, and other campus leaders.
In 2017, Elizabeth Eisele Hayes, ’94, posted on her Facebook page about Discover Meredith and invited any prospective students to join her for this special event. Two students came with Hayes.
“Both students fell in love with Meredith that day. One will be applying next year and she had never even considered Meredith until I offered the visit. The other student, Rachel Van Horne, is part of the Class of 2023.”
On Move-in Day in August, Hayes was there to welcome Van Horne to the Meredith family and it was obvious how excited she was to be moving into her residence hall and to finally be at Meredith.
“The Meredith community as a whole has always been welcoming and inviting since my first visit to campus with Elizabeth in the fall of 2017,” said Van Horne. “I am so thankful to her for making my first visit to Meredith College an enjoyable one! She was able to share stories from her time at Meredith as well as introduce me to other alumnae. Each and every one of them shared a unique love for their college and a desire to empower other women.”
Display Your Meredith Pride
Joy McNeill Chafin, ’97, says people know she is a Meredith Angel. She displays stickers on her car and wears Meredith t-shirts all the time. Those simple acts have let people know she is a resource for young women interested in Meredith, and enabled her to meet some wonderful prospective students through a friend of a friend.
“My involvement in the Alumnae Association has helped me remain active with Meredith and helped me recruit students. By staying up-to-date on the good news about Meredith, I am able to share that with parents and future students,” said Chafin.
Hilary Allen, director of alumnae relations, works to keep alumnae informed of what is happening inside and outside of the classrooms at Meredith through posting on the Alumnae Facebook group, emails, and speaking at alumnae chapter events.
“Alumnae are our best ambassadors in helping us recruit a new generation of Meredith students,” said Allen. “Though curriculum, rules, and traditions may change, so much of the Meredith experience, and what makes it so special, remains the same for every generation of students.”
Chafin feels it is important to tell young women and their parents about Meredith and all the College has to offer, from academics to financial aid and scholarships. She encourages young women to apply and lets them know there are many ways to make it affordable if that is a concern.
“The news of our innovative $20,000 merit-based Impact Scholarship should be shared with prospective students by every alumna,” said Chafin. “I couldn’t wait to share that on social media. Sharing news and progress on social platforms is the easiest way that I believe alumnae can help get the word out about the College. Events like Move-In Day, Cornhuskin’, and of course Giving Day, show future students we are invested in Meredith.”
There are countless stories from alumnae about how they have helped recruit students, but Meredith students also help tell the story. Beth Jarvis, ’03, came to Meredith in 1998, her senior year at Cary High School, to visit her Young Life leader, who attended Meredith at the time. During that visit, she met Kim Collins, ’98, a senior, and Jarvis knew she wanted to apply after having so much fun with the group that day.
Ten years later, Jarvis had graduated from Meredith and Duke University with her Master of Arts in Teaching and was looking for a high school teaching position. Collins was a teacher at Green Hope High School and Jarvis
emailed Collins to ask about the school. For the past 10 years, the two have been at Green Hope School together.
Jarvis and Collins enjoy sharing Meredith with their students. Both of them have asked former Meredith professors to come to their classes. Jarvis invited Professor of English, Garry
Walton to read Julius Caesar to her students and Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Jackie Dietz spoke to her class about the AP Stat exam since she is an AP Reader.
Jarvis and Collins and other Meredith colleagues also hang Meredith posters in their classrooms and in the hall between their rooms. On College Day at Green Hope High School, they all dress in their Meredith gear and post a group photo on social media.
“If I see a student wearing a Meredith shirt, I make sure I have a conversation with them and find out her connection to the College and tell them about my experience,” said Collins.
Jarvis said, “Attending Meredith College was one of the top five best decisions I have ever made in my life. It shaped my life. I would love for any woman to have that amazing
In August, the freshman class started their journey at Meredith College. During Move-In Day there were cheers, pots and pans clanging, balloon arches in an array of colors as they drove down Main Campus Drive on their way to their residence halls. The Meredith community, including 138 alumnae volunteers, were welcoming them “home” to a place that alumnae hope the students treasure as they did. In return, alumnae hope the new class at Meredith will one day encourage more young women to walk in their footsteps.
Here are ways you can help encourage a prospective student to visit and attend Meredith College: