Alumnae return to cut ribbon on renovated women's quad

Welcome! It's wonderful to be here to celebrate this new beginning in our university's history. From the construction of Rutledge College in 1803, to today's ribbon cutting at the beautifully renovated Women's Quad, to the upcoming groundbreaking for our new School of Law, it's clear that this university is always evolving and growing to serve the needs of our students.

It is a part of what I like to call a superior student experience. I am so proud of our students who attend this world-class research university. Together we are making a positive and significant impact on the state, nation and world.

Today's ribbon cutting has special significance. Our last several freshmen classes have had more women than men — which is a trend across the nation — so it may come as a surprise to many of you that in 1914, just 100 years ago, women were allowed to attend classes, but they were not allowed to live on campus.

It would be 1924, another 10 years, before the original Wade Hampton residence hall would become the first women's housing facility to be built at Carolina. And, believe me, it created quite a stir as there were still some who believed that a women's residence hall should not be built at all.

I hope you'll take a few moments to review the two large history boards located in the lobby. You'll see that each structure has a fascinating historic tie. Wade Hampton was named for a Confederate general, South Carolina governor and U.S. senator; Sims College was funded through Roosevelt's New Deal; and in 1955, McClintock was the first building on campus to be named for a woman —Euphemia McClintock.

Today, we make history anew as the Women's Quad now provides a pioneering residential learning experience. In fact, our residents are no longer simply students sharing a dorm room, but members of the Carolina community experiencing one of two unique experiences as members of either Women in Leadership or Women in Science.

We can provide exquisite living arrangements with great lighting, great views, futuristic technology and sustainability features, but our students will be the ones to supply the energy, determination, curiosity and drive to become leaders and scientists at this great research university and beyond.

So open the door, and, as Henry David Thoreau once suggested, "Live the life you've imagined." Today, let's celebrate the many women who came before you and ask all of the Women's Quad residents to set a high bar for the many women who will follow.

Welcome home.