A little charm goes a long way at Wilkinson College Commencement


Taryn Stroop and Dean Patrick Fuery display the beaded keepsake charm Wilkinson College graduates wore on their Commencement tassels this year. The beaded charms benefited the non-profit iSanctuary.

Sometimes big statements are best made in small ways.

That was the thinking behind a new Commencement tradition begun this year at
Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences
. Traditionally, the college gave graduates a medal to wear over their graduation robes as a reminder that they are forever part of the Wilkinson family. This year Patrick Fuery, Ph.D., dean of Wilkinson College, thought the tradition could be enhanced and asked his staff to come up with a stronger connection to the Wilkinson mission of offering “programs that change lives and change the world.”

So Taryn Stroop, creative projects and events manager at Wilkinson, suggested and designed a keepsake tassel charm dominated by a single bead in Chapman crimson. Stroop’s prototype was sent out for large-scale production by
, an Irvine-based non-profit that helps girls rescued from the sex trade by equipping them with the tools and training needed to become artisan jewelery makers. The pieces were handmade by iSanctuary clients, who rely on such “purchases with a purpose” for stable and safe employment.

At Commencement, each graduate turned and clipped the beaded keepsake onto the tassel of the graduate seated next to them in a symbolic act of giving.

“The mementos you hold were made by women in Mumbai, India, who were rescued from human trafficking. The jewelry they create has enabled them to become integrated back into society and provides them with an income,” Fuery said. “They have been given a new start in life, and in a way you have become a part of that new life.”

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