The Stephens College community came together on Thursday, Aug. 29, for Academic Opening Convocation in Lela Raney Wood Hall. Stephens marked the beginning of a new academic year by looking back on her history and contemplating the Ten Ideals through the perspectives of 10 students, alumnae, faculty and staff who were selected to relate stories about each Ideal. 

Stephens President Dianne Lynch presented a slideshow featuring images from the recently dedicated Dr. Alan R. Havig Archives. She featured highlights such as the 1913 instatement of Stop Day, a spontaneous break for students by President James Madison Wood; the 1921 formation of the Ten Ideals; the 1942 creation of an airport and flight school on the Stephens College campus; and the 1958 foundation of the Okoboji Summer Theatre program in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

Taylor Edwards Belief 3

Lynch reminded the Stephens community that our traditions make us who we are.

“Remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants,” Lynch said. “We are part of something bigger than any one of us and dependent on every one of us.”

Taylor Edwards ’17 (pictured right), a current student of the Master in Physician Assistant Studies program at Stephens, spoke about Belief, one of the Ten Ideals, by recounting a time she burned a pantsuit that represented her lack of confidence.

Christina Parker ’20, a digital filmmaking and strategic communications double major, addressed Courage as the willingness to persist through challenges.

“Courage for you could be going to an event where you don’t know anyone, or going to the Student Success Center and asking for help,” she said.

Shannon Blankenship Walls ’93, the Stephens College Title IX coordinator and special assistant to the president, discussed Sensitivity as a “tremendous strength” rather than a weakness as it is often considered.

Gayo Twins Creativity 1

“Being culturally sensitive means you expect differences and see them as a positive,” she said. “It means you notice things, care about others’ feelings, and consider carefully before making decisions.”

Speeches about the Ten Ideals closed with remarks on Intelligence by Dr. Debeshi Majumdar, assistant professor in the School of Health Sciences and recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award; and observations about Responsibility by Kelly Hulse, assistant professor in Equestrian Studies and recipient of the 2019 Michael Bowling Distinguished Advising Award.

Pictured top: Aurola Wedman Alfaro ’20, fashion communication major, speaks about Respect, one of the Ten Ideals, at Opening Convocation.

Pictured right: Jessica Gayo ’19 and Joyce Gayo ’19, both apparel studies majors, speak about Creativity. They will graduate in December 2019.


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