The women of the Erskine College Class of 2026 gathered in the lobby of the Daniel•Moultrie Science Center Saturday, August 20, for the 99th annual Signing of the Book. After reciting the school’s honor pledge, they added their signatures to those of generations of Erskine students.
This year’s speaker was Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Studies Dr. Deborah Caldwell, who told the young women that as they begin their college journey, “One tool that will serve you well is commitment.”
Lamenting some of the sadder aspects of the current social climate, she said, “We live in an era that shuns commitment,” citing as evidence “broken contracts, casual dating, easy divorces, disposable friendships.”
The young professor told students that commitment helps provide purpose, vision, and hope. She pointed out that “commitment is not always fun,” and that “life is hard,” but assured her audience, “God will help you if you ask.”
Caldwell outlined three areas in which college life offers an opportunity to exercise commitment—academics, extracurricular activities, and faith. “You are the steward of your life,” she said, and offered practical suggestions to help students become stronger and better stewards. “Commit to saving time—do your laundry at seven on Saturday mornings,” she said.
Urging the students to “commit to being a good roommate” as part of committing to healthy relationships, she pointed out that such a commitment might entail communicating kindly about hard things. Caldwell and one of her roommates “are still great friends to this day,” thanks to such a commitment, she said.
Caldwell cautioned students against taking on too many commitments and finding themselves unable to sustain them. “This summer I received a nice email from a student who couldn’t commit to doing jazz band because of other commitments,” she recalled. She said she respected the student for “counting the cost and saying no,” adding, “I’d rather have 10 fully committed people than 20 who don’t show up.”
Quoting Proverbs 16:3—“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established”—Caldwell told the freshman women, “When you keep your work in eternal perspective, everything is put into its rightful place.”
Participants in the program included Vice President for Student Success Dr. Wendi Santee, who welcomed the students, introduced the speaker, and offered a closing prayer; Intersociety Chair Sharon George, a senior who offered an opening prayer; Judicial Chair Raisa Real Pagieva, a senior who led the students in reciting the honor pledge; and Admissions Coordinator of Visits and Events Elizabeth Sims, a 2021 graduate who led the singing of the alma mater.