InsideFurman is published monthly during the school year by the Furman University Department of Marketing and Public Relations. For story ideas, e-mail John Roberts, editor.
|Work by day, class by night
Meredith earns Furman degree after 10 years
For Gig Meredith, May marked the end of a decade-long journey - and the beginning of a new chapter in her life.
It was 1987 when her husband, Bernard, an English professor at North Greenville College, was killed in a bicycle fall near the couple's home off South Carolina Highway 11.
Suddenly Meredith's role changed from happy homemaker to singlestep- mom and breadwinner. "I realized that I had to get an education that would help me get a professional job and support myself and my family," she says.
In January 1988, Meredith enrolled in her first undergraduate class at North Greenville College. In fall 1989 - six months before joining the Furman staff as a secretary in the counseling center - she began evening classes at Furman.
Never taking more than six hours a term, Meredith slowly began chipping away at the requirements for a Bachelor of General Studies degree in sociology. "I think that if I had realized back then all that was involved, I would have been real discouraged," she says. "But I never once considered quitting."
Meredith feels fortunate that working in the counseling center has given her some on-the-job training. "The students come in here with all sorts of problems, ranging from grades to personal problems," she says. "And I enjoy talking with them before they go in to see the counselors. For me, this has been the best training. I've learned that college students can get in a bad situation quickly, but they can recover quickly too."
In May, 14 family members, including her three sisters, brother, daughter and son, were in Paladin Stadium to watch Meredith walk across the stage and receive her degree. "It was a real special moment. (Psychology professor) Charles Brewer was on stage and when I went across he said, 'Way to go Gig!' I'll always remember that."
Meredith says her affection for the Evening Studies Program led her to establish the Frances Selby-Gig Meredith Award for outstanding achievement. The award is named in honor of Meredith's mother, Frances, who was enrolled in college classes in West Virginia at the time of time of her death in 1983.