Alumna Roberta Burns to Deliver the 2022 New Student Convocation Address at Westminster College

Fulton, MO ‒ Aug. 11, 2022: Westminster College is pleased to announce that alumna Roberta L. Burns will deliver the 2022 New Student Convocation address at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20. The event is open to the public.*

New Student Convocation 2022 begins with a solemn processional and ceremony on the Hill and ends in Champ Auditorium, where Burns will address the Class of 2026.

A graduate of the Class of 2017, Burns is the co-founder of Second Floor Media, a South Carolina-based creative agency that provides marketing, video, and photo services to a variety of clients, including international brands and Fortune 500 companies.

She also is the director of the annual nine-day ArtFields event in Lake City, SC, that awards more than $100,000 to artists throughout the southeastern United States.

Burns earned degrees in both business communication and business administration at Westminster, where she currently serves as a member of the Alumni Council.

“I’m honored to be returning to Westminster to address the incoming class of 2026,” Burns says. “Westminster has played an integral role in my success thus far, and I’m excited to share parts of my experience that can help new students make the most of their time at the College.”

New Student Convocation also includes remarks by various students, faculty, and staff, including President and Chief Transformation Officer Donald P. Lofe, Jr.

As an alumnus from the Class of 1979, Lofe says he can relate to the range of emotions incoming new students may be experiencing, and Burns will be a great example to each of them.

“I speak for the entire Westminster College community when I say we are eager for Roberta to return to campus and welcome our new students. We know she will offer her own helpful insight into the Westminster experience, which is truly special,” he adds.

Central to the afternoon’s activities is the College’s time-honored Columns Ceremony that kicks off the event.

The ceremony is 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.

Skull and Custodian of the Columns Riley Heiliger of Wentzville, MO, Class of 2023, will officially induct the new students into the Westminster community after reading the Athenian Oath.

Two members of the freshman class ― Jamie Peffer of Elk City, OK, and Nathan Naumann of O’Fallon, MO ― will deliver the response of the Class of 2026.

During the Columns Ceremony, all new students will pass through the Columns, which are all that remain of the original administration building destroyed by fire in 1909. They are not to approach the Columns again until graduation, when they walk through in the opposite direction and out into the world.

ABOUT WESTMINSTER COLLEGE: Founded in 1851 and home of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech, Westminster College in Fulton, MO, is ranked prestigiously by U.S. News & World Report as the only National Liberal Arts College in Missouri. The institution is in the top 16 percent for graduate earnings and boasts a 98 percent placement rate. Westminster also is a Forbes Best Value College. Westminster focuses on educating and inspiring students in order to become the world leaders of tomorrow.

To find out more about Westminster, please visit our website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Sarah Backer at 573-220-9038 or

*All events are subject to change. For those who cannot attend, 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.