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‘I would have loved studying here,’ first lady tells freshman women


The women of the Erskine College Class of 2023 assembled August 24 for the 96th annual Signing of the Book, taking part in a Saturday morning ceremony in the Bowie Arts Center. The students recited the school’s honor pledge and added their signatures to those of generations of Erskine students.


Speaking at the event was Beth Gustafson, wife of Erskine President Dr. Robert Gustafson. A graduate of the University of Virginia, the first lady expressed her delight with Erskine, a much smaller school than her alma mater. “I love being here,” she said. “I would have loved studying here.”

Alluding to the advantages of a tightly knit college community, she told students, “Here you will come to know students and professors who will shape your future.”

The first lady encouraged the freshman women to search for knowledge during their college years and to enjoy the benefits of a Christian college environment. “You can ask hard questions and seek satisfying answers here,” she said.

Turning to the 16th-century writings of John Calvin, she noted the Protestant reformer’s observation that “Nearly all wisdom consists of knowledge of God and of ourselves.”


She told the women, “If we come to know God, we will come to know ourselves,” and challenged them to “discover your identity as a new creation in Christ.”

Participants in the program included Vice President for Student Success Dr. Wendi Santee, who welcomed the students and introduced the speaker, and several upperclassmen. Nicole Biles, a resident assistant in Carnegie Hall, offered an opening prayer; Delaney Atkinson led the honor pledge; Elizabeth Sims led singing of the alma mater; and Sam Tam provided music for the event.

See more photos here.

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