Alumnae Spotlight: Christine Kelley Storch, ’02

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What was your favorite memory during your time at Meredith?

My favorite memory at Meredith would have to be walking into Cornhuskin’ senior year. We had light sabers in the dark and as we all raised them I knew that this was a “snap shot” moment that I would never forget.

What was your favorite tradition?

My Favorite tradition at Meredith would have to be the Ring Dinner. It is such a great reminder that you as a Meredith student are part of a larger Meredith network of alumnae.

 Who was your favorite Professor or what was your favorite class? Why?

This is really hard I had some amazing professors but I would have to say Dr. Novak was my favorite professor. He was also my advisor and was such a great sounding board as I navigated my college career and beyond.

What is your favorite thing about being a Meredith Alumna?

My favorite thing about being a Meredith Alumna is getting back on campus. I am so impressed with what the current student body is accomplishing. Their scholarly works and spirit are inspiring to me as an Alumna.

Tell us what you have been up to since you graduated from Meredith!

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost fifteen years since I graduated. During that time, I have founded my own company, Dashing Social Media, LLC, a boutique marketing firm specializing in the digital marketing needs of small to midsize businesses. I have been involved with many fantastic organizations in the Winston-Salem area including the Junior League of Winston-Salem, Brenner Children’s Hospital and The Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem, to name a few. I am also married to Bain and mom to Nelson (10) and Rand (8).

Porter Byrum: A Champion for Students (1920-2017)

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Porter Byrum, a retired attorney and real estate developer from Charlotte, N.C., known for his educational philanthropy, passed away on March 27, 2017. He was 96.

­­­­Byrum gave an initial gift in 2012 of $1 million to Meredith College in memory of his mother, Isa Ward Byrum, who attended Meredith College from 1906 to 1910.  He loved Meredith College and honored his mother by establishing the Isa Ward Byrum Scholarship and Opportunity Fund to support financial assistance to Meredith students. In subsequent years, Byrum gave an additional $2.5 million dollars to the scholarship.

“He was an incredible man who lived a very full and purposeful life,” said President Jo Allen, ʼ80. “His gifts, which honor his mother and her alma mater, invest in today’s Meredith College students, and our faculty and staff are equally appreciative of his generosity.”

Byrum said in 2012 at a ceremony in the Johnson Hall Rotunda honoring his gift that his mother “believed in education and her dream was for all her sons to get an education. I hope this money will help other mothers’ dreams also come true.”

The son of a Baptist preacher, Byrum was one of five sons of the late John Thomas Byrum and Isa Ward Byrum. Byrum graduated from Wake Forest University in 1942 with a law degree.

After graduating, he joined the Army and was sent to Europe to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. He also helped liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp and later his service continued in Korea.

After returning to Charlotte in the early 1950s, he began practicing law along with real estate development including the Park Road Shopping Center in Charlotte in the late 60s. He managed this property for over 40 years.

Meredith has awarded 163 Isa Ward Byrum scholarships and many of the students receiving them would not have been able to attend Meredith College without the generosity of Byrum.

“Mr. Byrum’s generous gift saved me from having to leave Meredith at a time when I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish my education,” said Sierra Smith, ʼ18. “He gave me the opportunity to continue school and embrace everything that Meredith has to offer. If it were not for him honoring his mother, Isa Ward Byrum, my Meredith experience would not be what it is today.”

“Mr. Byrum has shown compassion towards students who want to pursue higher education at Meredith, and because of that I am very grateful to him for his contribution and being part of my support system,” said Jennifer Coples, ʼ16, at the scholarship dinner in October 2015.

Byrum received many letters from Meredith students thanking him for his generosity. Those letters meant a great deal to him and showed him the impact his gift was having on students. He also enjoyed visiting his scholarship students at Meredith and learning more about how they planned to use their degree.

“The Byrum Scholarship allowed me to pursue my dreams. I did not have to sacrifice anything for financial circumstances that were out of my control,” said Raven Gregory, ʼ16.

“We have lost a dear friend to Meredith College, but through his gifts he has changed the lives of students following in his mother’s footsteps at Meredith,” said President Allen. “Hundreds of our students honor his memory and are set to live better lives because he believed in Meredith College.”

Byrum’s love for his mother was evident in the way he spoke about her. He knew that education was important to his mother and that her Meredith education influenced her greatly.

In 2012 when the college celebrated the initial gift, Byrum said, “It is a great pleasure to be able to honor my mother and it is a wonderful feeling that in the future, long after I’m gone, some good person will get some help from the money we give now.”

Byrum was survived by nieces and nephews and their families and his longtime friend Grace Smith Thomas.

Join Us for Alumnae Reunion Weekend!

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The Alumnae Reunion Weekend brochure came out last week and was emailed to all of us.  The weekend of May 19-21 I will celebrate with my classmates the 45 years I have been out of college.  Or maybe I should put that another way—-I will celebrate the four years I spent at Meredith with the women who shared it with me.  We will stay in the dorm and laugh, cry and mourn those of us who are gone.  We will party in the quad and at the Player’s Retreat and help fill in each other’s memories of events that took place long ago and feel the same today.  And we will mingle with generations of Meredith women who have more in common than we realize except when we come together in that one place that binds us to each other.

Not a year goes by that I don’t dream I am moving into the dorm for a fall semester or that I am late with a term paper.  Clearly my college years held so much joy and so much fear that they are forever with me!  And the faces and names of my classmates are forever 21 in those dreams—-they never change.  We come to reunion weekend to celebrate our young lives and the wonder we all felt about what lay ahead.  It doesn’t matter to us where we have been or what we have accomplished in the meantime—-just that we are there at Meredith together again.

Please join us—The Class of 1972—and all the other 2s and 7s when we come back home this May.  I promise you it will be fun!

Claire Sullivan Slaughter, ’72
President, Meredith College Alumnae Association

Alumnae Spotlight: Emily Cochran, ’03

What was your favorite memory during your time at Meredith?

I have so many good memories. I think my favorite was the opening to Cornhuskin’ my senior year. The entire class was down in the amphitheater and we did our grand entrance and I remember thinking to myself, ‘SOAK IT IN, PAY ATTENTION TO THIS MOMENT, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.’ It was so special. I still get chills!

What was your favorite tradition?

Oh goodness, again… every tradition meant so much. I loved Ring Dinner. Since I was a very little girl, I dreamt of getting my onyx. All of my babysitters had them and I thought they were so cool. Once I got to Meredith, the ring became like a badge of honor. Now, it connects me to so many alumnae! I can be anywhere and see a young or old woman with an onyx and we instantly have a moment!

 Who was your favorite Professor or what was your favorite class? Why?

I majored in Interior Design and LOVED all of my ID classes. One class that surprised me was Art History. I found it to be profoundly moving as I was exposed to pieces that I had never seen, some that have impacted me for life. I discovered one of my favorite paintings in that class. Years later, I was wandering through the Art Institute in Chicago and I saw the painting, without knowing it was there. It was a major life moment.

 What is your favorite thing about being a Meredith Alumna?

Remembering my glorious years at Meredith 😉

Tell us what you have been up to since you graduated from Meredith!

Since graduating, I have held all sorts of positions within the design world. I have managed facilities for major companies in RTP, I have designed shops at North Hills, I have designed schools for Wake County, and most recently, I have opened my own business. In November, I opened a little shop on Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh. It’s full of vintage furniture and fun home finds, and it serves as my studio for design projects. Thank you, Meredith, for encouraging me to live my best life!

Meredith College Raises More Than $350,000 in 24 Hours

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Meredith College held its second annual Make It Count for Meredith Giving Day, one week ago, on February 28, 2017. A total of 1,799 donors contributed $356,375 during the 24-hours.

The Giving Day goal of $250,000 was met by 5 p.m., so then the focus was how far above the goal donors would push by midnight. An additional, $106,375 was raised in seven hours ending with 142% of the original goal.

Make It Count for Meredith was driven by social media and alumnae volunteers who spread the word. Donors were asked this year to honor the strong woman in their life with a gift. They were encouraged to share their photos and stories through social media to create awareness and as a way to thank the woman or group of women they were honoring.

Various matching gifts throughout the day from Meredith parents, the Alumnae Association Board of Directors, and the Young Alumnae Board helped motivated donors to give. An hour-long challenge between the Odd and Even classes showed the competitive spirit of Meredith as well, with the Evens winning by a small margin, though the Odds had the most donors for the day. By the end of the giving day challenge 84% of gifts came from alumnae.

Facebook Live broadcasts from students and alumnae kept the social media audience engaged and allowed donors to share their personal stories of the strong women they had honored and why giving to Meredith was so important.

Visit meredith.edu/makeitcount4mc to view final totals by class and state.

The Meredith Fund, who organized the event, is thankful to all the donors who contributed and designated their gifts to make a difference.

Make It Count for Meredith Giving Day was part of Beyond Strong │The Campaign for Meredith, which has raised more than $63 million to date.

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