Students continue to shape the Judson story

For 183 years, the women of Judson College have made a significant impact on the world outside Judson’s halls. Judson’s mission of educating and empowering women to use their gifts, for the good of others to the glory of God, continues throughout each graduate’s life, but it is acted out by women on Judson’s campus long before graduation.

The devotion of Judson’s students to their College has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on Judson itself.

In 1933, Judson students worked with the College’s administration to abolish the rigid system of rules governing student conduct in favor of a new code–a way of living by which students accepted responsibility for their own actions and held each other accountable. This Judson Code has been adopted by each student at Judson for the last 87 years.

In 1943, Judson’s Baptist Student Union President Mary Essie Stephens approached administrators and faculty with an idea for a Chapel series that we annually practice and now call Faith in Focus Week.

In 1947, when Jewett Hall burned, Judson SGA President Carmen Botts communicated the resolve of the student body in an immortal telegram to the College’s president: “Will live in pup tents if necessary, until a new Jewett is built right where the old one stood.” This “new Jewett”, built by funds raised by students and alumnae of Judson College, is the building at the heart of Judson’s campus today.

In 1956, sophomores Caroline Sutton and Phyllis Wilkes penned the lyrics to an anthem sung by every Judson class since–a song beloved as a rallying cry for alumnae and students, even today: “There’ll always be a Judson, and Judson will ever be, if Judson means as much to you as Judson means to me.”

In the same way, the Judson students on campus today have continually shown their devotion to their College. That devotion has made, and continues to make, a difference in Judson’s story.

In December 2020, when President W. Mark Tew made the announcement that Judson needed $1.5 million in order to open in January, Judson students shared stories, pictures, and videos about why Judson matters. Their help in spreading the word of that fundraising campaign, along with that of their alumnae sisters, was vital to the  campaign’s success. In less than the two weeks allotted for that campaign, Judson had secured the necessary funds for opening in the spring.

A large contribution to that amount was actually made by the Judson Senior Class. Senior Class Treasurer Susanna Fowler ‘21 says, “Rose Morgan ‘22 reached out to me as soon as we got the news and asked, ‘Could we give our class money to Judson?’.” According to Senior Class President Ashlee Kendrick ‘21, the class “rallied around this concept because we believe in Judson and we believe that Judson can still do good.” The Class of 2021 contributed $2,000 to Judson’s fundraising effort in December.

This week, as we approach the end of our 30-day $5 million campaign, Judson students are again making a difference with their loyal support of their college.

Students have mobilized again, assisting their College’s efforts by contributing to video and social media campaigns, in addition to sharing their own stories on social media.

The Student Government Association is partnering with a former SGA president, alumna Katie Owens, to sell stickers for further commitment-raising efforts.

Kendrick said that the Classes of 2021 and 2022 decided to forego their traditional class gift and instead combine their funds to donate to Judson’s fundraising efforts.

Fowler said the senior class met a week after the March campaign announcement: “I compiled a budget for us so that we could have enough for the seniors to spend next year, if needed. The Class of 2022 (with the remaining balance from the Class of 2021’s account) voted to commit to give their money that we raised throughout the years through fundraisers, class dues, etc., as their class gift.”

That amount was $5,651.84.

“We understand that our contribution is to ensure that future Christian women will have a place where they become educated and Spirit-filled,” said Kendrick. “Please continue to give to Judson,” she asks supporters, “because ‘there will always be a Judson and Judson will always be, if Judson means as much to you, as Judson means to me.’”

These women have used the talents and resources they have to be beacons of faith and hope, and their devotion to their College is just as inspiring–and just as significant–as that of the generations of young women who came before them. Time and time again, they have shown that they are motivated not by a desire to preserve their own college experience, but by an unwavering belief in Judson’s mission and desire to preserve it for generations after them.

We are deeply grateful to these Judson women, who, in the face of uncertainty, have shown their College community what it looks like to move forward with resilience and hope. You, Classes of 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024, are true Daughters of the Dream.

By Mary Amelia Taylor ‘09
Associate Vice President for Marketing & Communications