"I’m a woman, W-O-M-A-N,” sung by the Senior Singers encompassed the celebration of powerful women as a part of Stephens College’s graduation.
As Stephens College held the commencement of its 2004 graduates Saturday, Silverthorne Arena on the campus was overflowing with family, friends, faculty and students. The ceremony recognized about 100 students.
Many families and friends stood to cheer for their loved ones as they crossed the stage to receive their diplomas. Some people screamed the graduate’s name, some sounded off blow horns and others simply stood proud, admiring their daughter’s or son’s accomplishment. While officially a woman’s college, Stephens has “male apprentices” in theater and dance.
Keynote speaker Karen Taylor, senior vice president of Boone County National Bank, encouraged graduates to take charge of their own lives and stay committed to the school’s Ten Ideals: belief, courage, creativity, independence, intelligence, leadership, respect, responsibility, sensitivity and support.
“If you don’t remember anything else, remember that it’s all up to you,” Taylor said. “You choose your destiny.”
Wendy Libby, Stephens College president, introduced the speaker.
Each year students are chosen by the previous members, in secret, to hold the position of one of the Ten Ideals.
Erin Singleton represented the support ideal this year and was smiling from ear to ear outside the arena after the ceremony.
“I’m very proud to be a Stephens woman,” Singleton said.
Each woman was specifically chosen to represent the one ideal she most exemplifies. Ideals’ representatives were revealed at the May 2 senior banquet and identified at graduation by the number 10 on top of their caps in rhinestones, ribbon or anything else that would stand out. This honor has already been passed on to the students who will hold the secret title until next year’s graduation.
The undergraduate class speaker, Emily Heffner, spoke encouraging words to her fellow graduates. She has contributed countless hours and services to the Stephens College and Columbia communities.
“The only way we can get off to a good start is to trust ourselves,” Heffner said.
Heffner complimented the positive atmosphere and bond between women created at Stephens.
“Women are not here to compete with each other but to grow together,” Heffner said. “We have remembered here how to appreciate each other.”