Meet Alice Jo Oliver!

August 21, 2008
Dear Journal,
When my grandmother gave me this journal for graduation and told me that just like when she was at Meredith, I would want to record all of my memories and experiences before I forgot, I accepted it graciously but thought “I’m never going to take the time to write in this”.  But here I am, one week into my college experience and I feel this overwhelming need to record all the amazing things that have happened just in this short period of time.  When my parents and I brought my first boxes of things up to my new dorm room I was overwhelmed by the brightly colored and glittery signs covering everyone’s doors with pictures of daisies and rings, teacups and angel wings.  I couldn’t help but smile when I got to my door and was greeted with a beautiful sign of my own, complete with illustrations of all the wonderful traditions yet to come, signed with love from my big sis. Just this small gesture eased some of the anxiety I was feeling about being on my own.  I’ve only been here a week and already I feel like this is home.  How strange is it that just a week ago five of us sat in the parlor homesick and missing our families?  In a way, it feels like that was just a dream and we have finally woken up amongst friends, in a place that feels comfortably like home.  Sometimes I wish I could rewind my life and go back to move-in day so that I could take it all in with the serenity I feel now.  But I guess that is part of the journey to get where I am… and where I’m going….where we are all going.
I promise to write again soon, my grandmother would be so proud!
Love Always,
Alice

November 6, 2009
My second Cornhuskin’ has gone by in a flash and it felt just as exciting as the first!  I can’t believe how many weeks we spent practicing and how I learned all those dances AND somehow remembered all the words to the Canterbury Tales at the same time!  When my mom bought me a set of pots and pans for cooking mac-and-cheese in the parlor I bet she never thought I was going to be banging them together, dressed in all black as I ran down the halls of Heilman with the rest of my class! Our theme for Cornhuskin’ was Night in the Rotunda; kind of like Night in the Museum except all the dolls come to life.  After the parade we serenaded our Big Sis class at the rotunda and even though almost everyone began to tear up, they were happy tears.   My big sis has been such a huge part of my first two years and although I’ll miss her when she leaves, I can’t wait to get a little of my own.  All my old high school friends think I’m crazy when I tell them we stayed up until 2am the night before practicing our dance to Thriller in the parking lot!  Of course, everyone here understands…further proof that this is the place I am meant to be.  Although my body may never fully recover, all of those late-night practices truly paid off….our Thriller routine was incredible!  Actually, everything about tonight was incredible.  Our song, our skit, our costumes, and winning 2nd place!  I’m not sure we’ll be able to top how amazing this year was but I can’t wait to try next fall!
XOXO,
Alice

October 22nd, 2010
I never understood the hundreds of pictures the classes before me would take holding up their hands to sport that shiny black ring until I put mine on tonight.   I finally carry with me a symbol of my sisters distinguishing us as an elite group of women all bound by the spirit of Meredith.  As I stepped out of the elevator onto the top floor of the Capital City Club I felt as if I had been immediately transformed into the glamorous and sophisticated women that this ring would distinguish me as. Elegant and glittering decorations only added to the magic of the night that truly become evident when we stopped to watch the firework display from the fair over the Raleigh skyline.  It truly had become a magical night at the top.  When I slid my ring from its box and onto my right hand I felt connected not only with everyone else in my class, but also with the generations of women who had come before me.  I long for the day when someone recognizes me as a Meredith woman by ring as I have heard other graduates speak of time and time again.  This ring represents everything I have worked for and everything I will become later in life; while other jewelry has and will be a gift from others and will represent different milestones in life, this ring will be with me always and forever remind me of long days spend studying under the oak trees, of giant corns parading down the front drive, of searching through bushes for a crooked stick, and of the sisterhood I share with thousands of other women.
With love always,
Alice

—————————————

When we met last June to start planning we immediately agreed upon two things: her name, and that what we wanted her to represent first and foremost was how classic and timeless our class is.  We chose Alice to represent not only the Alice in Wonderland tradition that we experienced this year but also to represent all of the traditions that have been so important to our class during our time here.  Jo is, of course, in honor of our 8th president, Dr. Joe Allen.  And Oliver was chosen to celebrate our original class advisor Amanda Oliver, who led our class for three years with enthusiasm and lots of love.

As many of you know, the class doll was traditionally dressed in a white class day dress in which everyone had the same style.  At some point that tradition changed to include more current styles and lots of accessories.  We wanted to combine both the past and present in that we would represent the style of our class and our graduating year but that we would bring the tradition back to its roots.  This year was especially monumental in that Meredith welcomed our 8th President, Dr. Jo Allen.  Coinciding with Dr. Allen’s vision for the college and the theme for the inaugural ceremony, Remembering our Roots and Extending our Reach, we wanted this doll to embody our class, Dr. Allen, and the point of history that Meredith is at right now.

Like the first class dolls to be added to the cases in Johnson hall, Alice Jo Oliver is wearing a white class day dress and will be presented not with accessories and symbolic objects, but by herself.  Her only belonging besides her ensemble is her journal.  You just heard entries from her first three years at Meredith and as you might imagine, she has one more to write before we graduate that you will hear at class day.

In addition to thanking Dr. Jo Allen and Amanda Oliver for the influence and support they have had in our class, we would also like to recognize and thank Brandon Stokes and Meredith Moody for stepping in and helping our class finish out our senior year strong.  The class of 2012 exemplifies the traditions of Meredith and we hope you love Alice as much as we do.

-Christina Mendenhall and Emily Pappas, Class of 2012 Class Doll co-chairs

Alice Jo Oliver, Miss 2012

Christina Mendenhall and Emily Pappas, class doll c0-chairs
with Alice Jo Oliver

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One thought on “Meet Alice Jo Oliver!

  1. Sue Todd '69 says:

    Thank you for sharing Alice Jo Oliver’s introducation with alumnae. I hope this will be the beginning of a new tradition to introduce each doll by email.

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