Wake Forest offers apology for historic tie to slavery

President Hatch

At Founders’ Day Convocation on Feb. 20, President Nathan O. Hatch offered an apology for how Wake Forest benefitted from the labor and sale of enslaved people in the 19th Century.

“It is important and overdue that, on behalf of Wake Forest University, I unequivocally apologize for participating in and benefitting from the institution of slavery,” the president told those gathered in Wait Chapel for convocation.

Following Hatch’s remarks, Dean of the School of Divinity Jonathan L. Walton delivered a keynote address focused on both remembering history and taking responsibility for the present.

“We must acknowledge that our history at Wake Forest is both beautiful and terrible.  Nobel and tragic.  Honorable and despicable,” Walton said.

Also, during convocation, two extraordinary alumni—Dr. Larry Hopkins and Lou Bissette—were presented the Medallion of Merit, the highest honor given by the University.

Read more:

Wake Forest apologizes for benefitting from enslaved people

Founders’ Day program honors Medallion Merit winners

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Reminder: Staff Advisory Council seeking nominations

The following message was emailed to staff on Feb. 21 by Wake Forest Communications and External Relations:

Dear WFU Staff,

The Staff Advisory Council (SAC) is soliciting nominations for new members!

 The SAC, formed in 2006 by President Hatch, is an advisory body tasked with strengthening communication between the Staff and Administration at Wake Forest University. For more information on the role of the SAC, please visit the SAC website.

Your voice is important! Nominate one of your colleagues today! Click here to submit your nomination.

Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:

  • Candidates: May be nominated by another staff member, or they may self-nominate.
  • Nominations: Any staff member nominating another employee should inform the nominee of this intent, and determine if that employee is interested in serving on the council. You may nominate more than one person.
  • Eligibility Requirements: Employed full-time for a minimum of one year of service, and in good standing.
  • Deadline for Nominations: 5:00 pm on February 28th.

Detailed nomination and election rules are located in the SAC By-Laws, located here.

For more information visit, reply to this email or contact a member of the SAC Membership Committee:

Sandy Lail,, x3846
Michelle Fender,, x3245
Suzanne Hawks,
Leigh Myers,, x2578
Ellie Shannon,, x6504
Sarah Zakaria,, x6276


Staff Advisory Council Membership Committee

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Categories: Guest PostInside WFU

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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‘ReVision’ to be the focus of TEDXWakeForestU

This guest post was written and shared by news intern Caroline Wilson (’21):

Wake Forest University will host TEDxWakeForestU, an independently organized event licensed by TED, on Saturday, Feb. 22 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Wait Chapel. Poster for TEDxWakeForestU event 2020

‘Revision,’ the theme of Wake Forest’s TEDx event this year, poses the opportunity for our speakers to reflect on their past decisions and how they have impacted their future. The event is free for students, faculty and staff with a valid WFU ID. Tickets are $10 for the general public. Register here.

2020 Speakers

  • Katie Koestner, internationally recognized author, activist and educator around technology, safety and healthy relationships. She is widely acknowledged to be the first woman in history to speak out against the concept of “date rape.”
  • Isra Hirsi, a high school student who is also a climate and racial justice advocate. She is the co-founder and co-executive director of the US Youth Climate Strike.
  • Nathan Atkinson, director of business development for Village Juice Company and president of H.O.P.E. of Winston Salem, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing local food insecurity and eradicating childhood hunger.
  • Diya Abdo, associate professor of English at Guilford College and the director of the Center for New North Carolinians at UNCG. She is also the founder of the Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR) movement.
  • Khalil Rafati, speaker, author, and health and wellness entrepreneur. Owner of Malibu Beach Yoga and SunLife Organics, as well as the founder of Riviera Recovery.
  • Sarah Dashew, singer-songwriter who has managed multiple critically-praised albums and singles, successful tours and television spots.
  • James Ford, award-winning educator and consultant on issues of equity in education. He was recently appointed by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper to serve as a member of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
  • Justus Harris, artist and educator based in Chicago. At age 14 he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He combined his artistic training, patient experiences, and educational skills to found MedSculp in 2016.

For more information, visit TEDxWakeForestU, like the Facebook page and follow @TEDxWakeForestU and #TEDxWakeForestU on Twitter and Instagram.

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Categories: EventsGuest PostInside WFU

TechX 2020

Logo for TechX 2020 event

TechX will take place Feb. 25 between 12-3 p.m. in Room 401 of the Benson University Center. Drop by to see how your colleagues and other campus community members are using technology in a number of creative endeavors across our campus! Click here to mark your calendar!

Be sure to catch one or more of our keynote speakers:

12:15 p.m.
The Canvas Experience
Brian Calhoun, Associate Professor, Education
Frank Whitworth, student, B.S. Computer Science, MESA minor
Laura Brewer, Manager, Learning Platforms, Academic Technology

1:15 p.m. 
Strategy Strikes Back – Utilizing a Podcast for Storytelling
Melissa Ringhisen, Military Science
Brianna Derr, Manager, Advanced Learning Projects, Academic Technology

2:15 p.m.
Isn’t That The Old Student Health Building??
Steve Nedvidek, Adjunct Lecturer, Entrepreneurship
Paul Whitener, Assistant Director, Digital Fabrication & Maker Education, Academic Technology

Register to win a door prize and enjoy light refreshments. Check out the TechX web page for more information about the event and details about the keynote speakers!

We look forward to seeing you!

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Categories: EventsGuest PostInside WFU