Westminster College President Benjamin Ola. Akande announced this week that Dr. Carolyn Perry, senior vice president and dean of faculty, will be this year’s commencement speaker at Westminster.
Commencement exercises at the College for the Class of 2017 will be held Saturday, May 13. Dr. Perry’s daughter Erin will be among the graduates.
“Each year, we seek a commencement speaker who embodies Westminster’s core values; a leader whose words will impart wisdom and inspiration to last a lifetime,” says President Akande. “Dr. Perry is a legend in her own right at Westminster, but perhaps the most significant aspect of her commencement speech is that she will deliver words of wisdom not just as a member of the faculty and administration, but also as a Westminster parent.”
Dr. Perry came to Westminster in the fall of 1991 to teach English and develop the Writing-Across-the-Curriculum program. In addition, she has served as the English Department Chair and the Humanities Division Chair; a supporter of the Women’s and Gender Studies program and the Remley Women’s Center; a host for international students; and an advocate for study abroad.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to speak to this particular graduating class,” Dr. Perry says. “I look forward to saying a few words about why Westminster matters so much—as it has to my family, and to our students, but also to the world far beyond our historic Columns.”
Dr. Perry’s many accomplishments as senior vice president and dean of faculty include helping hire outstanding faculty members, designing the first Undergraduate Scholars Forum, assisting with the design of the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement, including the development of international initiatives for students both on and off campus, helping to strengthen the programs in the Tomnitz Family Learning Opportunities Center, helping to develop Westminster’s first-ever program for online courses and designing and teaching a seminar for transfer students.
She has won the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Alpha Chi Teacher of the Year and the Westminster Parent Association Teacher of the Year awards. In May 2007, she took part in a faculty exchange with the University of Winchester in Winchester, England.
She has also edited three books: The Dolphin Reader, Southern Women’s Writing: Colonial to Contemporary and The History of Southern Women’s Literature as well as having presented papers at numerous academic conferences.
Dr. Perry holds a B.A. in English from the University of Missouri, an M.A. from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri with a specialization in Victorian and Modern Literature.
She lives in Jefferson City, MO with her husband Greg and has three daughters—Jessica, Emily and Erin.