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Celebrate Periclean

Once a year, Pericleans and mentors of all classes come together in an event aptly named Celebrate Periclean. It’s a wonderful opportunity for each cohort to share victories, discoveries, advice, and challenges they’ve faced in the past year. The 17’s playfully described the trials and tribulations of the first semester as Pericleans, while the rest of the audience laughed along and empathized with each frustration. The 16’s shared their recent endeavors into appropriately vetting partners and proudly relayed the successes of their recently hosted Periclean in Residence program. Finally, the 15’s, now a seasoned cohort of bright and hardworking students, sympathized with all the road blocks the other classes had faced while still managing to inspire. In their final year, they have come together and recently hosted an amazing week dedicated to raising awareness for their cause in Haiti, human trafficking, known there as Restavek. While the three classes represent three very different stages of the Periclean experience, many of the speeches rang true with similar themes of hard work, frustration, passion, humility, and curiosity.

No one better knew these experiences than Samantha White, our keynote speaker for the evening. A 2006 alumna of both Elon and the Periclean Scholars program, she truly embodies what it means to be a Periclean in the years following graduation as she went on to work for the Global Health Corps and implement amazing projects in Malawi. Now, she works for the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation in Seattle,  and it was an incredible honor to listen to her charming and personable advice. She shared perhaps her most salient anecdote when she urged us to “find our pig.” This all made sense when she explained that this came from a story about a woman who had a yard full of pigs that she loved and defended no matter the criticism she received from the community. In other words, Samantha reminded us that we need to cling to our passions. It may not always make sense, and there may be others who don’t agree with us, but so long as we pursue that passion, we can do amazing things.

Sam and her pig

Sam and her pig

As a Periclean herself, she must have known how much we needed to hear that message. It can feel at times that every opportunity eventually turns into a dead end, or that our efforts to create a project often stagnate. However, we must remind ourselves that we joined this program due to our passion for service and global citizenship. The 15’s inspired us to know that no matter how tough the middle years may be, we will emerge with an amazing contribution and a mind filled with new, invaluable knowledge. Soon enough, the 17’s will be up on that stage themselves relating their successes to a new and nervous cohort of 19’s.

From all those involved in the Periclean Scholars program, I want to relate a huge thank you to anyone who had a hand in making this a beautiful and successful evening that truly did celebrate Periclean.

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Induction Ceremony

On April 10th, 2014 the Namibia class of 2017  was warmly welcomed into the Periclean Scholars. Organized by the Honduras class of 2016, representatives from 2014, and 2015, as well as advisers, and several guests  attended to show their support for the fledgling scholars.DSC_0162

The ceremony was held in Oaks 212 and energy was high as the audience anticipated the induction of the new class. The evening began with an introduction by Steve Braye and Aidan Dyer and then was followed by speakers Arianna Brown and Caley Mikesell. Arianna and Caley emphasized accountability, patience, and teamwork, while foraging lifelong connections while honing their interpersonal, technical, and professional skills.

Class of 2015 speakers Elania Vermeulen and Cat Palmer were next to praise the new class. They had the audience breaking out laughing with the their stories from the past year, all centered around the idea that failure will be expected but perseverance will produce the best results.

Ethan Smith from the class of 2014 was the last of the student speakers for the evening. The Periclean scholars, Ethan said, acted as a family to him, and helped him through the roughest times in his life. Smith stressed that the Periclean organization will be more then a group of academics looking to help others, as they will become  friends, companions, and teachers during the time at Elon and beyond.

While Tom Acaro was next on the programming to speak, due to technology complications he was unable to connect with the ceremony, instead Steve Braye spoke in his place and introduced Dr. Acaro to the new class. Following Braye, the main speaker of the night, the future 2017 adviser, Carol Smith began by welcoming the new class and introducing herself. She then spoke on about the new class, as all of them had been individuals she believed would work well together, and introduced ones she knew personally. She then challenged the room with  a mind exercise, requesting that the audience compete a series of mental calculations, then converted into the alphabet, colors, and finally animals, until almost everyone in the room imagined a orange kangaroo from Denmark, which was met with amusement and curiosity. Dr. Smith expressed her excitement and anticipation for getting to know each new member and for sharing future experiences. The class of 2017, according to Carol, would be challenged more then they ever had, but with dedication and tenacity, would reap rewards and lessons that would be valuable for the rest of their lives.

Newly Inducted Namibia Class of 2017

Newly Inducted Namibia Class of 2017

The inductees were then individually introduced and received a Periclean pin. Once the pinning ceremony was compete, a delicious buffet style dinner of pasta, salad and garlic bread was provided, complete with games and Periclean facts. The night was concluded by a speech on Periclean’s roots and heritage and a presentation of the Periclean of the Year award by Bud Warner. Finally the new students of 2017 were paired with mentors from the class of 2016 by matching puzzle pieces.

The newly inducted class of 2017 left with smiles on their faces as they looked forward to the challenging but bright path before them.


Students from the Class of 2017 pose before dinner


Aidan Dyer Commences the Induction Ceremony



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