Stephens College confers 52 degrees at December commencement

Saturday, December 13, 2008 | 6:22 p.m. CST; updated 8:17 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 13, 2008

COLUMBIA — Saturday morning marked the beginning for 52 Stephens College students who received degrees at the December 2008 commencement ceremony. Stephens presented 27 bachelor’s and 25 master’s degrees to students who are now what President Wendy Libby calls “officially Stephens women and a few men."

“Over the past few years you have come to appreciate the meaning of this phrase and the deepening we hope it has given your intellect as well as your soul,” Libby said in her opening remarks.  

Monica Senecal is one of the women who is learning what the phrase "You are a Stephens woman" really means. Senecal, a radio personality on KPLA/101.5 FM’s “Chris & Monica in the Morning,” gave the keynote address. She is pursing a master's degree in business administration at Stephens.

Senecal said she was confused at first as to why she was chosen to be the keynote speaker.

“My journey at Stephens and the graduate program has just begun, and I feel kind of like a kindergartner being asked to speak and give words of wisdom to the high school seniors,” Senecal said. “So all I can say is naps, lots of naps, and milk and cookies whenever the opportunity presents itself.”  

Senecal joked that sometimes it is necessary to dress up a job title. In her case, she said she went from a disc jockey to a radio personality. But one title she said she will never have to dress up is the title of being a Stephens woman.

Class speakers Meghan Manderschied and Lesley Thalhuber reflected on their time at Stephens. Manderschied said she is excited to embrace the future and start a new beginning. During her speech, she thanked Libby for everything she has done for the college.

“Dr. Libby, your influence has made a positive impact on my life, and I really appreciate the opportunity to be here today,” Manderschied said. “I know that all of us at Stephens will miss you, and we wish you the very best with your new beginnings as well.”

Libby announced in November that she will leave Stephens to become the first female president at Florida's Stetson University in the fall. Libby’s last commencement at Stephens will be in the spring, but she said Stephens will always be a part of her.

“My favorite part is taking pictures,” Libby said.  “I know it is going to be on their fireplace mantel for the rest of their lives.”

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