"Michele Gillespie" Archive

Nominations sought for commencement 2020 speaker

The Office of the Provost e-mailed this announcement to students, faculty and staff on Sept. 24:

Dear Wake Forest Community,

As members of the Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee, we look forward to engaging our graduating students and other members of the university community in the selection process of our 2020 Commencement speaker. As we begin this exciting task, we look to you to provide us with speaker nominations for Commencement 2020.

Please submit your suggestions to CSAC@nullwfu.edu by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4. Submissions must include:

  • Name of nominee
  • A response to the question: “Why do you think this person would be an exceptional Commencement speaker at Wake Forest University?”
  • Any contact name(s) for your nomination (if possible) and/or any connection to Wake Forest

We are especially interested in hearing from graduating students and of nominations with a Wake Forest connection. Suggestions are also gratefully welcomed from faculty and staff.

As you can imagine, people of this caliber are in high demand. While we hope to host a speaker from suggestions we receive, we cannot guarantee that our invitations will be accepted.  Your thoughts will be vital to informing our approach and to selecting a speaker.

This committee is dedicated to the transparency of this process, but please understand that the actual invitation process must remain confidential. Announcement of the Class of 2020’s commencement speaker will follow a similar timeline as in years past.

We look forward to reviewing your nominations.


The Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee

Rogan Kersh, Provost and Professor of Politics and International Affairs
Kyle Adams, Class of 2021 and Student Trustee
Shannon Dubuisson, Executive Director of University Events
Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College and Presidential Endowed Chair of Southern History
Eranda Jayawickreme, Associate Professor of Psychology
Mark Knudson, President of the Faculty Senate and Professor of Family Medicine
Sophie Leruth, Wake Forest Fellow in the Office of the Provost
Mellie Mesfin, Class of 2020 and President of Student Government
Julia Mroz, Class of 2020 and President of Student Union
Matt Schlosser, Wake Forest Fellow in the Office of the President
Harold Pace, Assistant Provost for Academic Administration and University Registrar
Samantha Perrotta Turner, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Provost
Mary Pugel, Chief of Staff, Office of the President
Christina Soriano, Associate Provost for the Arts and Interdisciplinary Initiatives and Associate Professor of Dance

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Response to malicious emails

The following message was emailed to students, faculty and staff on September 19, 2019

Last week, an unknown individual or individuals with malicious intent sought to spread a message of bigotry, division and fear among members of our campus community through emails sent to seven members of our faculty and staff and five offices on campus. Our faculty and staff have worked to protect everyone on our campus while striving to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

We hear the questions posed by some of our students: can you see us, can you hear us, do you understand our lived experiences? Yes, we see you. Yes, we hear you. And, no, we cannot fully understand what some of you are enduring.

The emails, steeped in the vitriol of white supremacy and nationalism, were sent to individual and office inboxes associated with the Department of Sociology, the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the LGBTQ+ Center, and the Intercultural Center. These emails have hurt, scared, threatened, angered, and confused many on our campus in different ways. This cuts at the core of who we are at Wake Forest and impacts us all.

While none of the emails contained actionable threats or detailed a specific attack on our campus, they still managed to elicit the fear the sender intended. Wake Forest consulted with law enforcement and national threat assessment experts — including the FBI’s leading experts on domestic terrorism, white nationalism, and hate crimes — before deciding to continue classes and normal University operations. The increased police presence on campus and enhanced security measures will continue while the investigation proceeds.

Our decision to continue classes does not diminish the real emotions and concern some in our community still feel. We pledge to stand by all our students, staff and faculty when they experience hate and discrimination of any kind. We will revise protocols where necessary and improve on the processes that we know are effective. We must remember who we are as a caring and supportive community and move forward in the spirit of those values.

There are many sources of support for those of you who are affected by these hateful emails. The University Counseling Center (336-758-5273), the Chaplain’s Office (336-758-5210) and the Employee Assistance Program (336-716-5493) are invaluable resources, as are our friendships and circles of personal support. Please continue to look out for each other.


Nathan Hatch, President
Rogan Kersh, Provost
Jane Aiken, Dean of the School of Law
Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College
Charles Iacovou, Dean of the School of Business
Penny Rue, Vice President for Campus Life
José Villalba, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Jonathan Walton, Dean of the School of Divinity

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Faculty Drive neighborhood remains an integral part of the Wake Forest community

This is a guest post from Alex Abrams, communications coordinator in the Office of the Dean of the College:

A large historical marker stands at the corner of Faculty Drive and Timberlake Lane, just across the street from where Wake Forest University’s Department of Biology is housed inside Winston Hall.

The words “Welcome To Historic Wake Forest Neighborhood – Est. 1956” are etched into the metal historical marker, which has been painted old gold and black like other signs posted around campus.

Just past the marker, one- and two-story houses line the five quiet streets that make up the neighborhood. The houses range in style, with some exteriors made of brick and others covered with wood. Large trees in each yard provide both shade on a hot afternoon and a limb for the occasional tree swing.

Martha Allman, WFU’s Dean of Admissions, got a sense of the neighborhood during her four years living on campus as an undergraduate student. Her freshman advisor had a house on Royall Drive and hosted a dinner for students during Orientation.

“I had this very idealized feeling about that neighborhood and how wonderful it would be to live there,” Allman said.

In 2001, Allman and her husband moved their two young daughters into a yellow house on Faculty Drive. Their neighbors include a “Who’s Who” list of WFU administrators, professors, and staff members who also enjoy living on campus, walking to work, and hosting students in their homes.

The Historic Wake Forest Neighborhood was started the same year WFU moved its campus to Winston-Salem as a place for faculty who had relocated to live. It has since grown into a tight-knit community where dozens of university employees have raised their children just down the street from Wait Chapel for more than 50 years.

“Over here faculty members are our next-door neighbors, and the fact that one faculty member was a historian, another one was a psychologist, another one was a physicist, that’s tremendously important,” said Ed Wilson, the longtime English professor and Provost who is affectionately known as Mr. Wake Forest.

“And of course it made our children grow up with the idea that it was important to go to college, and if they could, it was important to do well.”

Wilson still lives in the same four-bedroom house that he and his wife, Emily, built on Timberlake Lane in 1964. He raised his three children there. He can still remember the different routes he used to walk every day to reach his favorite spots on campus, including his office in Tribble Hall.

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Categories: Inside WFU

Dean Gillespie to speak at Oct. 19 Staff Advisory Council meeting

Dean of the College Michele Gillespie will speak at the Oct. 19 meeting of the Staff Advisory Council.

All staff are invited to the meeting, which will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library.

The meetings and events schedule for the Staff Advisory Council (SAC) can be found on its website.

The SAC may be contacted at sac@nullwfu.edu.

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Categories: EventsStaff News

Wake Forest recognizes excellence in teaching, research, service

25127346235_a52caa9a80_mWake Forest students, faculty and staff community gathered in Wait Chapel on Feb. 18 to celebrate 182 years since the University’s founding and the accomplishments of faculty and alumni in teaching, research and service.

The following awards were presented during the annual celebration. Photos are available in this gallery.

Medallion of Merit: The University’s highest honor, the Medallion of Merit, is presented to someone who has rendered distinguished service to the University, including past presidents, trustees, benefactors, alumni, and retired faculty and administrators.

This year it was awarded to two members of the Wake Forest community, Jenny Robinson Puckett (‘71 P ‘00), retired Spanish instructor and historian, and James T. “Jim” Williams (’62, JD ’66, P ’89, P ’92, P ‘96), life trustee and benefactor, for their outstanding achievements.

URECA Faculty Awards for Excellence in Mentorship in Research and Creative Work: Each year, the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA) Center recognizes faculty members who engage Wake Forest undergraduates outside the classroom and inspire, guide, and support the students’ intellectual and creative endeavors.

Professor of Mathematics Ken Berenhaut received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentored Scholarship in the Sciences.
Assistant Professor of English Laura Aull received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentored Scholarship in the Arts and Humanities.

Jon Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching: Associate Professor of Romance Languages Linda Howe received the Jon Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching, which recognizes an experienced faculty member who exemplifies the ideals of a liberal arts education.

Reid-Doyle Prize for Excellence in Teaching: Assistant Professor of German Tina Boyer received the Reid-Doyle Prize for Excellence in Teaching, which is awarded to outstanding faculty members in the early part of their careers.

Award for Excellence in Research: Jeffrey Katula, Associate Professor of Health & Exercise Science, won this award presented to a member of the faculty who is an outstanding scholar at an early stage of his or her career.

Donald O. Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service: Professor of Music and Associate Dean for Faculty Governance David Levy won this award, which recognizes extraordinary community service by a teacher-scholar.

Kulynych Family Omicron Delta Kappa Award: This award recognizes an outstanding faculty member who bridges the gap between classroom and student life. This year’s recipient was Michele Gillespie, Dean of Wake Forest College and Presidential Endowed Professor of Southern History. 

Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award: Professor of Law and Associate Dean Jonathan Cardi received the Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award, which is presented to a member of the School of Law who exemplifies teaching and service to the legal profession.

Additional information about Founders’ Day is available here. 

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