The women of the Erskine College Class of 2027 gathered in Bowie Chapel August 22 for the 100th annual Signing of the Book. After reciting the school’s honor pledge, they signed their names in token of that pledge, just as generations of young women have done.
This year’s speaker was Assistant Professor of History Dr. Alessandra Brivio, who drew from popular culture, her own experience, Erskine history, and the wisdom of Scripture as she spoke about perseverance and encouragement.
“It is the best day ever,” she said, beginning with a quote from the Barbie movie released this summer. “So was yesterday, and so is tomorrow, and every day from now until forever.”
“I did not have many ‘Barbie days’ that first year,” Brivio said, recalling the challenges of moving from California to Due West to join the Erskine faculty in 2018. But she got through it.
As an example of perseverance, she cited the Due West Female College, which was founded on a vision for the education of women and opened on the eve of the Civil War. On its 50th anniversary, the school’s history was described as “a story of commendable achievement in the face of adverse conditions,” Brivio said. They carried on.
“Why did they carry on, considering all the difficulties?” she asked, referring to the Female College, and then, alluding to her own first year at Erskine, added, “Why did I carry on? Why did I stay?”
Answering the question of why she persevered, the professor pointed to the gathered students and said, “You, you are the reason why I carried on. Every conversation, every tear I dry, every meal we share enriches me and brings me closer to my Jesus. I have the best job in the world!”
Taking a scriptural message of encouragement from Hebrews 12:12-15, Brivio urged the young women to “be there for one another,” supporting those who are in danger of giving up during “the hard days.”
Participants in the program included Vice President for Student Success Dr. Wendi Santee, who welcomed the students, introduced the speaker, and gave the closing prayer; Turunda Bolden, administrative assistant in Student Development, who offered an opening prayer; and Admissions Visit and Event Manager Elizabeth Sims, a 2021 graduate who led the singing of the alma mater.