Gail R. O’Day

This message from President Hatch was e-mailed to students, faculty and staff on Sept. 22:

It is with great sadness that I share with you that former Wake Forest University School of Divinity Dean, Gail R. O’Day, died this morning. Dr. O’Day served as Dean from 2010 until June 30, 2018.

For more than 35 years, Dr. O’Day offered her leadership as a scholar, teacher and administrator to theological schools and the broader world of theological education. When she arrived at Wake Forest, she led the School of Divinity into its second decade, establishing innovative programming and initiating curricular revisions that strengthened the School’s identity as a place where leaders are equipped for ministries and the work of justice, reconciliation, and compassion.

Dr. O’Day was wonderfully creative in her ability to relate the work of the School of Divinity with other dimensions of the University, resulting in new programs that responded to existing needs and were attractive to students and faculty alike. The School now emphasizes critical historical and public issues, such as race and class, gender and sexuality, and religious pluralism, and encourages students to explore ways to connect these concerns with their identities as Gospel proclaimers, pastoral care providers, and teachers.

Dr. O’Day was beloved by the School of Divinity community, especially students. The vision she shared through her writing, teaching, and leadership continues to influence them as they follow their own vocational pathways, carrying her transformative spirit into the wider world.

To honor the life and leadership of Dr. O’Day, we have established a remembrance website – – where members of our community can share memories, leave condolences and learn more about Dr. O’Day’s remarkable scholarship and contributions to Wake Forest.

We hold her family and friends in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

Details about a memorial service will be posted when they become available.


Nathan O. Hatch