A Spring-Term Letter from President D. E. Lorraine Sterritt, PhD

June 1, 2016
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D. E. Lorraine Sterritt, PhD

Dear members of the Salem family,

The 2015–16 academic year has come to a close, and we are saying “au revoir” to our Academy and College graduates. Our Academy seniors had a beautiful send-off in the May Dell on May 28, as they head off to outstanding colleges and universities throughout the country. On the morning of May 21, more than 2,700 family members, friends, Board members, faculty members, administrators, and staff gathered in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum to salute this year’s College graduating class during the first Commencement ceremony held off campus. The inclement weather did not dampen our spirits, and the ceremony, described by one person as “an explosion of joy,” was a spectacular success. Our Academy and College graduates have enriched all our lives, and we will already miss their delightful presence on our campus.

Academy administrators Karl Sjolund and Mary Lorick Thompson will also leave Salem this summer, and we thank them for their dedication and loyalty to our students and their families. The Academy’s new Head of School, Mrs. Lisa Pence, will arrive on July 1, 2016, and Ms. Lauren Rogers, heretofore a Latin teacher and house counselor at Salem Academy, will join the Academy leadership as Dean of Students on July 18. I am confident that Mrs. Pence and Ms. Rogers will reinforce the spirit of pride that Miss T. and Mr. Sjolund instilled in all our Academy students.

I extend special thanks to the Academy and College faculty and staff who have dedicated themselves to ensuring that all our students receive the outstanding education for which Salem has been known for the last 244 years. Twenty-five percent of Academy seniors earned scores above 1300 on their SATs, one senior was named a National Merit Finalist, and one student-athlete earned a full track scholarship to Temple University. The Academy will enroll 178 students in the fall, including fifty-eight students who will be new to Salem. We will add AP Physics, AP Studio Art (Drawing and 2-D Design), and Chinese I and II to next year’s curriculum.

The members of the College Class of 2016 are beginning their careers or pursuing graduate programs across the country, including PhD programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Salem College placed in the eighty-sixth percentile in the nation on the Biology Major Field Test, and two of our biology students scored in the ninety-ninth percentile. The hard work of the staff in the College Admissions Office resulted in a record-breaking 1,082 applications being received for the 2016–17 academic year, and we are looking forward to welcoming approximately 215 new students in the fall. Next year the College will add four courses in Arabic language and culture and a new five-course minor in professional writing.

College student-athletes completed their last year in the Great South Athletic Conference with distinction. During the 2016 Softball All-Conference Awards Banquet, Salem swept the major awards, including Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, and Freshman of the Year. Head Softball Coach Scott Long was named GSAC Softball Coach of the Year by his peers. Now that we have been accepted into the USA South Conference, we have begun the search for a new lacrosse coach, and our goal is to begin competitive play in lacrosse in the 2017–18 academic year. The first annual Spirits Classic Golf Tournament, held on May 19 at Maple Chase Country Club, bolstered the fundraising initiatives for College athletics. Director of Athletics Melissa Barrett and her team intend to continue the tournament as an annual Salem tradition.

The Women of Purpose campaign has forged ahead this spring under the leadership of Campaign Co-chairs Becky Hewit Rauenhorst C’74 and Danielle Williams A’88 and has raised $39 million to date. The enthusiasm of the 551 Academy and College alumnae who attended Reunion Weekend in April buoyed the campaign spirit, and total reunion class giving topped $1.3 million. Campaign contributions of any size may be made at purpose.salem.edu/give.html. We greatly appreciate each and every donation for the great cause that is Salem Academy and College.

I was delighted to spread the message about the Women of Purpose initiatives on my travels to Charlotte, Raleigh, Kinston, and Clayton, North Carolina, as well as in Hilton Head and Charleston, South Carolina, and in Savannah, Georgia. I met alumnae in those cities who are as eager as I am to spread the word about Salem, our wonderful students, and our exciting plans for the future. I look forward to meeting more alumnae in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina on June 24.

You can also support Salem at no cost to you with each purchase that you make on amazon.com through the AmazonSmile program. Enrollment in the program is easy through smile.amazon.com, and when you select Salem Academy and College as the charitable organization of your choice, Amazon will donate a percentage of each eligible purchase to Salem. Items listed on the AmazonSmile site are at the same prices charged for purchases on the regular Amazon site.

I extend a heartfelt and enthusiastic invitation to all Salem alumnae to participate in our newest Salem traditions: the College Summer Weekend Retreat that will be held July 15–17 and the Academy Summer Weekend Retreat that will be held July 29–31. We also continue to devise ways in which to introduce more parents and future students to the Academy’s remarkable reputation: we are offering special summer programs that include Salem Academy Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Day-camp in June and the Salem Sports Camp for Kids in July.

Through the generous support of Salem alumnae and other friends, the construction of the new Tennis Center is nearing completion. The dedication ceremony will be held at 5:30 pm during the Academy and College Opening Picnic on Tuesday, August 23, 2016, and all are invited to attend. 

The 2001 Campus Master Plan has been updated after a thorough and inclusive process that involved the ideas and recommendations of students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and members of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Visitors. A video detailing the plan has been completed, and we will finalize the full plan this summer. It will serve as a guide for campus development over the next twenty-five years, ensuring that the physical infrastructure supports the educational mission of Salem Academy and College.

I am sending my sincerest appreciation to every member of the Salem community who has supported our vision for the future. It is through your loyalty, your generosity, and your belief in Salem that we can imagine a bright future

Yours ever for Salem ever,


D.E. Lorraine Sterritt
President