"Founders' Day Convocation" Archive

Founders' Day Convocation Announcement

The following message was emailed by President Hatch to students, faculty and staff on Feb. 20: 

Dear Wake Forest community,

As you know, Wake Forest University continues efforts to examine its history and reconcile its implications for our present and our future. During Founders’ Day Convocation later this afternoon, I will acknowledge the University’s participation in the institution of slavery and offer an apology for how Wake Forest benefitted from the labor and sale of enslaved people. This moment will be another step in our efforts to confront our past.

In 2017, Wake Forest joined the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium to learn alongside other institutions of higher education how best to address historical and contemporary issues dealing with race and inequality among our communities. Last May, in a moving moment of remembrance, faculty, staff and students read the names of enslaved individuals sold to benefit the University endowment in 1860. In July, I established the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community and affirmed the continuing efforts of the Slavery, Race and Memory Project. These working groups are part of a larger institutional effort to illuminate our history, address our present and reaffirm our commitments for the future. As a society, we continue to wrestle with racism and white supremacy. As an educational community, we must challenge these dual plagues head on.

Founders’ Day Convocation provides an opportunity to acknowledge our past and recognize individuals who model what we aspire to be. The infrastructure established by the Slavery, Race and Memory Project will empower us to take the action necessary for an apology to have meaning. In the next few months, Wake Forest will publish the first volume in a series of collected works that capture the scope of activity taking place. Project findings and eventual recommendations will help guide the actions we take to address past and present inequities in our community.

I look forward to seeing you at 4 p.m. in Wait Chapel for this important event. If you cannot attend in person, live streaming is available.

Nathan O. Hatch

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Awards presented to faculty, others at Founders' Day Convocation

Associate Professor of English Melissa Jenkins was among the faculty presented awards at Founders’ Day Convocation

Wake Forest commemorated 185 years since the University’s founding at Founders’ Day Convocation in Wait Chapel on Feb. 21.

At convocation, faculty were honored with awards for teaching, research and service; the Medallion of Merit was presented to two individuals; and student leaders were recognized.

The winners of the 2019 Senior Orations Competition also made their presentations.

Detailed information about the event, including the names of award recipients, is available here.

Click here to watch the full 2019 Founders’ Day program.

Videos are also shown about each Medallion of Merit recipients: Sandra Boyette and Charley Rose.

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A message from President Hatch

This message was emailed by President Hatch to students, faculty and staff on Jan. 14:

Dear Wake Forest community,

Welcome to 2019! I hope your time away from Wake Forest was refreshing and you return with a deep anticipation of what this year holds. As we start a new semester, I want to offer you a reflection and some encouragement.

Last year, we spent a lot of time talking about and discovering how our community could engage in greater understanding of one another. In the classroom, among colleagues and within our community, we joined in more frequent and deeper conversations with one another; we shared and chose to become vulnerable; and we learned that what we have in common is more important than what we hold in difference. We introduced Call to Conversation on our campus, and I am grateful to all who facilitated and participated in the effort. I look forward to more of these gatherings that blend hospitality and mutual sharing.

Beyond conversation, we carried out the practice of caring for one another. This fall, in the midst of two hurricanes and a historic snow, I watched as our community rallied together. Faculty worked with productivity and flexibility to reschedule exams and accommodate student needs when snow disrupted finals week. Facilities and maintenance personnel worked around the clock to clear snow and ice – some even spending one or two nights on campus to ensure the rest of us could go safely about our routines. And we reached out to our alumni, parents and friends affected by the storms to assist as we could.

At the end of last year, we also reached a milestone because of the contributions of many. To date, Wake Forest has raised more than $900 million in gifts and commitments to invest in students, faculty and facilities as part of the Wake Will Lead campaign. This achievement is possible only because of widespread support, including the gifts of more than 2,000 current and retired faculty and staff who have collectively committed nearly $20 million to the future of Wake Forest.

But our greatest strength as a community is often felt most in the quiet moments that are not widely known. Philosopher Simone Weil once noted that “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” What I see every day is the critical work of faculty and staff extending themselves in such generosity. I note our Counseling Center staff and Campus Ministry colleagues who see to the many needs of our students, faculty and staff. It is evident in the ongoing efforts of Campus Kitchen and other service organizations that connect us to our local community. It is found in the listening ear and generosity of a professor, staff member, roommate or friend.

I am grateful for this community – one dedicated to understanding, supporting and caring for each other. Thank you for your efforts in making Wake Forest a place we can call home.

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Provost Kersh announces Founders' Day Convocation

Provost Rogan Kersh emailed this announcement to students, faculty and staff on Feb. 5:

Dear Wake Forest Community,

Each year, the Wake Forest family gathers for the Founders’ Day Convocation to observe the University’s founding in February of 1834. This year, Wake Forest will hold Founders’ Day Convocation on Thursday, February 15, at 4:00 p.m. in Wait Chapel.

We will award the Medallion of Merit, the highest honor bestowed by the University, to Michael “Mike” Gerald Ford (’72), Director, Pro Humanitate Institute, 2015-2017; Senior Leadership, Campus Life, 1981-2017. Faculty awards will be presented in the areas of advising, teaching and service. As is Wake Forest tradition, we will also have the opportunity to hear outstanding seniors read this year’s winning Senior Orations and the Class of 2018 will be honored with a reflective video featuring student testimonials.

Faculty members are encouraged to confirm their participation in the academic procession by registering online

I also invite you to a reception hosted by The Office of the Provost immediately following the Founders’ Day Convocation in the Green Room.

Best regards,

Rogan Kersh

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Senior Colloquium to be held Feb. 14

This is a guest post from Offices of the Provost and the Dean of the College:

The Offices of the Provost and the Dean of the College invite the Wake Forest Community to attend this year’s Senior Colloquium, which will be held on Sunday, February 14 at 4 p.m., at the Porter B. Byrum Welcome Center. During this event, the top 10 orators will share their profound and diverse reflections about their Wake Forest experience. Three orations will be chosen to be presented at Founders’ Day Convocation on February 18. Of those three, one orator will be selected to present at the Honors and Awards Service for graduating seniors, their families and friends on May 15.

Senior Colloquium is a long-standing Wake Forest tradition, dating back to the earliest years of the College, when debate and oratory were promoted at all special occasions. Each year since the re-opening of the College in 1868, following the Civil War, many of our finest seniors have prepared essays, some of which have been presented at special gatherings of the University and the broader community.

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