As you can imagine, COVID-19 has changed the course of many, many of our plans for the remainder of the academic year. In a time when many of us are disappointed about the loss of time with friends and loved ones, trips, major events, and yes, even the simple routine of our daily life, I hope that we are able to find a rainbow in this storm of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty.
Facebook has shown me that many Meredith alumnae have picked up new skills, job titles, and responsibilities, and even some new co-workers (their spouses, children, and pets!) over the past few days. Seeing the posts and photos has truly cemented that you can do anything with a liberal arts degree and that Meredith College prepared us to manage such situations. I can assure you that our current students are receiving the same level of care, compassion, and support that you are witnessing within your local school districts and communities. As alumnae, we would expect nothing less from our alma mater. After all, that is what has always made Meredith our Wonderland.
As I have reflected on this in relation to our students’ experiences, I have thought back on other tragedies, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, war, and major events that have impacted many, many classes in our 129 year history. Doing so showed me that while it’s certainly unfair for our students to be faced with these circumstances, those experiences taught them to respond with compassion and empathy, allowed them to think out of the box on ways they could help our community or the impacted community, set an example of how we can care for one another in times of crisis, and certainly just like the word LUX in our College seal, our students have always been a shining light of strength in difficult times. Over these 129 years, Meredith women have faced World War I, a flu epidemic, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK, the Gulf War, 9/11, Iraq War, tsunami of 2004, the Great Recession, snow (23 inches in 2000), countless hurricanes, and even a few tornados. As hard as it may be for us to navigate this uncertain future, we and the many alumnae who came before us have done so. We’ll do it again, and I know our current students will join us.
In closing, I look forward to the days that will soon approach when we can all return to a sense of normalcy and relish in living the simple pleasures of daily life. At that time, Meredith College will still be here, and we’ll be eagerly awaiting your return home. Just know that when that time comes, we’ll plan to host a welcome home party on campus! Until then, we hope that you and your families remain healthy, hopeful, patient, and STRONG in the days to come.
Hilary Allen, ʼ01
Director of Alumnae Relations
P.S. – I don’t think we say it enough, but thank you to our healthcare professionals, leaders (government, civic, professional, non-profit, and many others) who have had to make some very tough decisions and will continue to do so, hospitality and retail industry personnel, and of course, the many incredible staff members that keep our schools running and our children loved, healthy, fed, and educated.
Written March 19, 2020