Lavender and White – Opening Convocation Speech by Michelle Hurdle ’01

August 28, 2009

Greetings to the members of the administration, Faculty/Staff, and students assembled here today. My name is Michelle Hurdle and I am a P R O U D 2001 graduate of Mary Baldwin University and the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership.

As I look into the audience, I realize that I know many of you. I have no doubt in the past few weeks I have called, emailed, and hugged you. Each of you has come through a gateway program with one purpose. That purpose is to sit where I am standing four years from now ready to receive your degree. The path to your degree will not be an effortless one. There will be some long nights filled with reading, studying, and writing papers. There will be a fair share of rigorous classes and tough professors. I can promise you that once you receive your degree it will be worth every exam booklet, study session, and yes, your $300.00 non-refundable deposit. I can also promise you that each of the men and women sitting behind me will have helped you every step of the way.

Mary Baldwin offers each and every one of you a gateway to greatness. A chance to leave the world better than the way you found it. I challenge each of you to become a Baldwin woman.

  • A Baldwin woman is one who does not run from challenges; she faces them head on with determination and style. BE CONFIDENT.
  • A Baldwin woman knows that helping her fellow man is not for the present but for eternity. BE COMPASSIONATE.
  • A Baldwin woman is one who knows the path that history has dictated for her, yet she believes Yes, I Can. She is a woman who exceeds all expectations placed upon her. BE A CHANGEMAKER.

I stand before you not as an admissions counselor or even as your RA but as a living testimony that the goal is possible. The road will not be easy. You will encounter toils and snares along the way. When you find that your trials are too much to bear, remember to “Look to the Hills, from whence cometh my help. ”

For the past 97 years each entering class of Mary Baldwin women has had the distinct honor of receiving their class colors from an alumna whose class shares the same colors. Today it is my privilege to pass to YOU the class of 2013 the phenomenal colors of lavender and white.

This speech was given by Michelle Hurdle ’01 at the Opening Convocation, August 28, 2009