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‘Southern sage’ encourages women to be resilient

Photo by Curt Yeomans
Syndicated columnist Ronda Rich (left foreground) was the keynote speaker at Clayton State University's Women’s Forum luncheon on Thursday. Rich’s “Dixie Divas” column runs in more than 50 newspapers across the U.S.

Photo by Curt Yeomans Syndicated columnist Ronda Rich (left foreground) was the keynote speaker at Clayton State University's Women’s Forum luncheon on Thursday. Rich’s “Dixie Divas” column runs in more than 50 newspapers across the U.S.

A popular newspaper columnist, who writes about womanhood and living in the South, told a group of more than 100 women and men to never give up on their goals, during a speech at Clayton State University, on Thursday.

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Photo by Curt Yeomans Syndicated newspaper columnist Ronda Rich signs a copy of one of her books for an attendee at the Clayton State University Women's Forum luncheon, on Thursday. Rich, known for her humor and Southern wit, was the keynote speaker at the event.

Ronda Rich, who has been a sports reporter, columnist and book author, was the keynote speaker at the Clayton State Women’s Forum luncheon. Her syndicated column appears in more than 50 newspapers across the country, including the Clayton News Daily and the Henry Daily Herald.

During her speech, Rich wove humorous stories about her mother, her dog, her aunts, and her friends, in and around tidbits of advice, so that she could underscore her point about the importance of never giving up in the face of adversity.

“We have always weathered tough times,” she told attendees at the luncheon. “Just remember a better day is coming to you. If you take enough ‘No’s,’ you’ll eventually get the ‘Yes’ that you’re looking for.”

The luncheon also served as an opportunity for the Women’s Forum to recognize seven recipients of its $1,000 scholarships. They included Clayton State students, Deborah Ann Martin, Shelley Grant, Diana Peters, Esther Goss, Anna Marie Byers, Robin Jackson, and Tara Lindsay.

Grant, a health care management major, said she was “very honored” to receive one of the forum’s scholarships. She added that she felt Rich delivered an uplifting speech. “I thought she was very entertaining, and humorous, but at the same time, she portrayed a very inspirational speech,” the scholarship recipient said.

Jonesboro resident, Larry Boak, and his friend, Riverdale resident, Pat Marshall, said they came to the luncheon because they are long-time readers of Rich’s column, and were excited to here that she was going to be in the Southern Crescent.

“I’m a northerner, so I’m just now getting turned on to her,” said Marshall.

Boak, who got Marshall hooked on Rich’s column, added: “I was born in Jonesboro, so I relate to a lot of what she writes about. When I saw in the daily [the Clayton News Daily, the luncheon’s sponsor] that she was coming, I told her [Marshall] ‘We’ve got to go!’”