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Stephens celebrated new programs, historic gift, national honors in 2014

December 23, 2014

This year, Stephens College welcomed new leaders, launched a new brand and celebrated a historic gift.

The College began 2014 with a string of awards and recognition. Moki Blanding, who graduated earlier this month, earned a regional ADDY Award; the Master in Strategic Leadership was named second best leadership degree in the country by a consumer advocacy group; and Harbinger won Outstanding Literary Arts Journal for the fourth time in five years.

In February, Stephens welcomed TRYPS to the family, announcing that the 15-year-old Theatre Reaching Young People and Schools would relocate to campus and become part of the School of Performing Arts.

That same month, Stephens announced that an anonymous donor had given the College a $15 million unrestricted gift—the largest in school history. President Dianne Lynch at the time vowed to use the funding strategically to make Stephens even better.

The College this year saw a boost in national rankings. Stephens jumped to No. 23 Best Regional College in the Midwest on U.S. News and World Report’s list, up seven spots from 2013. And Stephens remained in The Princeton Review’s Best 378 Colleges guide, which named the theatre program the 12th best in the country.

In April, the College’s brand got a makeover with bright new colors and messages reflecting the attitude of Stephens Women. A new Stars logo
Stephens launched several new degrees this year, including B.F.A. degrees in musical theatre and vocal arts. An M.F.A. in TV and Screenwriting will give Stephens a presence in L.A., where students will spend 10 days each semester working in the Jim Henson Studios. And a Physician Assistant program will begin in 2016.

Dean Gail Humphries Mardirosian joined the School of Performing Arts this year, as well as several faculty members, athletic coaches and academic support leaders.

Specific programs had a memorable year, as well. The School of Fashion and Design took another step closer to becoming an official member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The Equestrian Center welcomed two mules into the program for the first time. The film program saw two of its students—Meredith Jacob and Madeline Carl—travel to 50 states in 50 days for a feature-length documentary. And Creative Ink, the student marketing firm in the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication, worked with Columbia Transit to design a new logo for city buses.

Stephens ended the year by awarding one 14-year-old girl a full scholarship if she meets the College’s admissions standards when she graduates. Dominique Victor, who lives in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, was profiled on the “Today” show. An alumna, Paula Goldenberg, brought her to Lynch’s attention, and the College presented the scholarship on a follow-up episode of the morning news program.
Lynch expects upcoming years at the College to be just as significant. “The next several years are going to be exciting,” she said earlier this year. “We have an amazing network of generous and involved alumnae. We also have so many community members who support Stephens. That’s the incredible thing about this place—whether you’re coming to campus for a film or play, visiting our stables, sending your children to our children’s school—you’re part of our family. You’re going to see amazing things coming from the Stephens campus.”

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