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Inside WFU

Wake Forest news for faculty and staff

Cheryl Walker

Ta-Nehisi Coates to deliver Voices of Our Time address Nov. 17

coates.for.insidePresident Hatch sent a message to faculty, staff and students regarding the Nov. 17 Voices of Our Time.

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

I’m pleased to share that Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent for the Atlantic and author of The New York Times bestseller, “Between the World and Me,” will speak Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in Wait Chapel as part of the Voices of Our Time speaker series.

Coates is a finalist for the National Book Award and was recently named a 2015 MacArthur “Genius” grant winner.

The event is free, though tickets are required. They can be reserved online at or by calling 336-758-5237. Wake Forest faculty, staff and students have an opportunity to reserve tickets in advance of the public announcement tomorrow, Nov. 4.

Voices of Our Time is a guest speaker series that exposes students, the Wake Forest community and the general public to some of the world’s leading thinkers — including scholars, scientists, writers, business and public policy leaders, activists and religious leaders — for discussions about timely national and international issues.

I hope you will join me in welcoming Ta-Nehisi Coates on Nov. 17.

‘Book club’ approach to first-year reading

The Wake Forest Summer Research Fellowship program allows undergraduate students to work with faculty mentors on research projects in their areas of interest.  Psychology professor Christy Buchanan works with psychology major Rebecca Abramson ('11) on a study of effective parenting techniques and how mothers perceive them. They talk about their research in Greene Hall on Thursday, July 22, 2010.

Christy Buchanan

Wake Forest took a “book club” approach to this year’s summer reading assignment for first-year students. From John Grisham’s “Gray Mountain” to Levitt and Dubner’s “Think Like a Freak,” to Susan Cain’s “Quiet,” incoming students can choose from 22 different books.

All of the books fit this year’s theme, “Exploring Difference, Embracing Diversity.” Contemporary novels, historical novels, non-fiction, and a collection of short stories made the list.

The Orientation and Lower Division Advising Committee originally planned to choose one common reading, but changed course when it received so many good recommendations from faculty members.

“Our committee asked the question, ‘Why do we have to pick just one?’” said Senior Associate Dean for Academic Advising Christy Buchanan.

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James Dunn: Invested in the Next Generation

This story written by C. Mark Batten was originally posted on the School of Divinity website.

Wake Forest Divinity School professor Rev. Dr. James Dunn. ©2004 Wake Forest University Office of Creative Services. Photo by Ken Bennett. All Rights Reserved. Contact: 336-758-5379.

Wake Forest Divinity School professor Rev. Dr. James Dunn. 

James Dunn, who was a champion of religious liberty and the separation of church and state, passed away on July 4 at the age of 83. For Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Dunn was a teacher and mentor with an inspirational ingenuity and comedic wit.

Dunn served as resident professor of Christianity and public policy from 1999 until his retirement in 2014. He taught courses on Christian Ethics and electives on the Church and State in America, Christianity and Public Policy, and God and the New York Times.

Many of Dunn’s courses involved travel to Washington, D.C., giving Divinity students the opportunity to meet with national, political religious leaders, many with whom Dunn had developed lasting relationships when he served as executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (1981-1999). These courses have given lasting memories to students of James Dunn and the role of religion in the public sphere.

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Support for Charleston

The Wake Forest University community joins the nation in mourning the victims and searching for answers in light of last week’s shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

“In the wake of this terrible tragedy, we search for hope, understanding and healing,” said Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch. “We continue to keep the people of Charleston in our thoughts and prayers and offer support to all those in our own community who have been affected by this horrible event.”

On Friday, June 19, a prayer service was held on campus in remembrance of the victims. Members of the Wake Forest community gathered from 2-3 p.m. in Davis Chapel to show solidarity and support.  The service was organized by the Office of the Chaplain and coordinated by Associate Chaplain K. Monet Rice-Jalloh with the help of the LGBTQ Center, the School of Divinity, and others across campus.

“The history of America and the Negro is wrought with incidence of violence in worship spaces,” said Rice-Jalloh. “Yet, we continue to gather and pray not because we are mindless pawns seeking anesthetic for our minds, but because we know that prayer is resistance and power and repair for our souls. The grief of those gathered for our prayer meeting was like an aroma of heaviness. But the audacity to pray beneath a dense theological cloud, lifts the words of scriptural faith in our midst, ‘hither to (to this place) has the Lord kept us.'”

Wake Forest offers counseling services for all students, faculty and staff. The Counseling Center may be reached at 758-5273, and the Office of the Chaplain at 758-5210. Faculty and staff may also contact the Employee Assistance Program at 716-5493.

WFU historian featured on TLC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’

JRuddiman-59-Print (1)Wake Forest University Assistant Professor of History Jake Ruddiman analyzed historical documents and provided on-air commentary for the April 19 episode of the TLC program “Who Do You Think You Are?” featuring actor Bill Paxton.

The show helps celebrities research their family history. In this episode, Paxton researched his ancestors’ participation in the American Revolution — reading firsthand accounts of the battles and visiting a battlefield.

Producers invited  Ruddiman to participate on the show based on his expertise on Revolutionary War history and his recently published book, “Becoming Men of Consequence: Youth and Military Service in the Revolutionary War.”

Ruddiman shared a few details about his experience:

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Administrator Lu Leake mixed dignity with a sense of humor

img014Lula M. “Lu” Leake came to Wake Forest as dean of women in 1964, two decades after the University opened its doors to undergraduate women during World War II, and served the University for 33 years.

Leake, who retired in 1997 as associate vice president for academic affairs, died April 13 in Winston-Salem. She was 89.

She served as dean of women for 20 years before becoming Wake Forest’s assistant vice president for administration and planning in 1984 and also serving as dean of the summer session.

In 1996 Wake Forest presented Leake with the Medallion of Merit, the University’s highest award for service. “She led our students through what was arguably the most significant era of change for women in the history of this nation,” said Thomas K. Hearn Jr., president of Wake Forest when the award was presented to her.

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Office of Chaplain hosts panel discussion on Islamophobia

Chaplain Tim Auman introduces panelists Michaelle Browers, Imam Adeel Zeb, Manzoor Cheema, Jade Brooks, Dani Moore, and Khalid Griggs.

Chaplain Tim Auman introduces panelists Michaelle Browers, Imam Adeel Zeb, Manzoor Cheema, Jade Brooks, Dani Moore, and Imam Khalid Griggs.

The Office of the Chaplain recently hosted a panel discussion, “Islamophobia: The Anatomy of Difference,” aimed at creating greater interfaith understanding.

The March 2 event was held in Wait Chapel and attended by faculty, staff, students and community members.

“We want people to practice deep listening, to hear personal stories about what it means to be Muslim and what Islamophobia looks like in people’s everyday lives with the goal of opening the door for relationships that include our differences – even the subtle and the most difficult ones,” said Chaplain Tim Auman, who planned the event. In his introduction, Auman encouraged talking “constructively and compassionately about difference.”

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25 Years Later: President Hatch’s Book on American Christianity

Christianity-Democratization-headerA quarter century after it was published, scholars are still talking about the award-winning book, “The Democratization of American Christianity,” written by Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch.

To mark the book’s 25th anniversary, Wake Forest will host a half-day symposium Feb. 6 featuring seven of the country’s most distinguished scholars of early American religion reflecting on the influence of the book.

The event will run from noon to 4:30 p.m. in Farrell Hall’s Broyhill Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. A detailed schedule is posted on the symposium website.

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Responses from Imam Griggs and Chaplain Auman


The following is an open letter to the Wake Forest community from Imam Khalid Griggs, Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life:

It is with heartfelt emotion that I express my genuine appreciation for the overwhelming expressions of support that I have received in the aftermath of the unconscionable act directed at me, and by default, Muslim Life at Wake Forest University. The student initiated flower and card campaign has led to literally dozens of flowers, plant arrangements, and cards being delivered to my office door by students, faculty, staff, food service workers, campus police, and campus administrators. These deliveries often cause my eyes to water, especially when students, heretofore unknown to me, hand me cards or flowers while tearfully articulating their sorrow and regret that such an incident had occurred. Frequently, an entire departmental staff has brought me tidings of support.

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Interim law dean named

Suzanne Reynolds

Suzanne Reynolds

A message from Provost Rogan Kersh

This to affirm that Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) has graciously accepted my request to serve as Interim Dean for the coming academic year.  Ron Wright, similarly graciously, has agreed to replace Suzanne for the year as Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

President Hatch and I wish Dean Morant well as he transitions to his new position in Washington.  We have great confidence in our Law leadership team, under the experienced guidance of Suzanne, and look forward to working with the team–and, indeed, with all of you–to successfully navigate the shifting winds of legal education.

Ron Wright

Ron Wright

As President Hatch indicated in his university-wide note last week, we will launch a national search for Dean Morant’s successor, beginning this September.  My grateful thanks in advance to each of you for your support of this vital endeavor.  And a special note of appreciation to Suzanne and Ron for their willingness to take on these essential interim roles: your support will be all the more valued as we steer a forward course together.