Alumna Jorden E. Sanders to Deliver New Student Convocation Address

Westminster College alumna Jorden E. Sanders will deliver the New Student Convocation address at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, in a socially distanced outdoor ceremony on the Hill in front of the Columns on campus.

Sanders is a doctoral student at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, who is studying English with a research emphasis on early African American print culture.

Prior to attending Rutgers, Sanders earned an MA in English in 2016 from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and a BA in English in 2014 from Westminster. She taught literature as a theory of possibility and progress at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, FL, from 2016 to 2020.

Sanders says that as an educator and scholar, she is invested in expanding narratives of inclusion. She also believes her decision to pursue her graduate degrees was the result of strong support she received from faculty as a Westminster student.

“Watching them explore their passions helped me find my own,” Sanders said in a 2020 Westminster College feature. “I will always be grateful for the exposure provided by this liberal arts education, and I carry it with me now.”

Originally from Little Rock, AR, Sanders is a 2019-2020 Westminster College 40 Years, 40 Women honoree. She also is among one of the largest-ever Westminster sibling legacies: Five Sanders sisters graduated from the College between 2006 and 2014.

New Student Convocation is a beloved tradition at Westminster during which freshmen and transfer students are officially welcomed into the College community. Events will include remarks by President and Chief Transformation Officer Donald P. Lofe, Jr., and others.

“Convocation is a significant, memorable milestone for Westminster College students,” Lofe says. “The faculty and staff have been eagerly anticipating the 2021-2022 Academic Year and to welcoming our new students into the Westminster community.”

In addition to formal addresses by Westminster administrators, the College’s beloved Columns Ceremony will be conducted by the Skulls of Seven, an honor society composed of seven students who epitomize Westminster’s key virtues: tradition, history, scholarship, loyalty, citizenship, service, and honor.

Custodian of the Columns Katherine Bloom of Pullman, WA, Class of 2022, will officially induct the new students into the Westminster community after reading the Athenian Oath.

Two members of the Class of 2025, P.J. Bledsoe of Eldon, MO, and Kaitlyn Luebbering of Jefferson City, MO, will deliver the response of the Class of 2025.

The ceremony centers on all new students ceremonially walking onto campus through the sacred Columns, which are all that remain of the original administration building destroyed by fire in 1909. They will not pass through the Columns again until graduation, when they walk the opposite direction and out into the world.

Throughout the event, students will be seated six feet apart in a roped-off area. Families are welcome to convene behind the rope.

Westminster College is following federal, state, and local COVID-19 safety guidelines. All events are subject to change. For those who cannot attend New Student Convocation, the event will be livestreamed on the College’s website and both its Facebook and YouTube pages.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.