This past Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the Distinguished Alumni Awards gala, where three Wake Forest alumni were honored. The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to alumni whose achievements and recognition have reflected honor on Wake Forest. There are several criteria for selection: we look for alumni who embody the values and core principals of the University and who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the University, their field, humanity, or society. This year’s award recipients were: Porter Byrum (JD ’42), Don Leonard (’65) and Sylvia Rousseau (’68).
Mr. Byrum is an attorney and has had significant involvement in real estate in the Charlotte, NC area; he is a major benefactor of a school in the area and has impacted countless children through their education.
Mr. Leonard has been instrumental in the development of the Myrtle Beach, SC area and state transportation; his generosity to the football program here helped make the renovations to BB&T Field and Deacon Tower a reality.
To learn more about the work and accomplishments of these remarkable alumni, you can view videos about each of them. These are short videos and well worth your time. As you look at them, you might see glimpses of what your students’ futures could be.
We all know that Wake Forest students are bright and amazing young people, and that they will go on to do remarkable things for our world, both global and local. While on campus, we strive to instill in our students the desire to take the knowledge they gain here and turn it into productive work for the good of all humanity. Seeing the work of these three alumni, they are living our “Pro Humanitate” (for humanity) motto. You might even want to share these videos with your students.
When you talk to your students, you may want to ask them about their dreams for the future. We talk about the ‘big questions’ a lot with students: Who are they? Who do they want to be? To what do they want to devote their talents? How will they get there? If they want help focusing on those questions, you can help them, and so can we. Any student can come to the resources available here on campus – faculty, staff, chaplains, the Office of Career Services, trusted advisors and mentors. It’s one of the greatest blessings of being a Wake Forest administrator or faculty member to help students think about their futures. Their possibilities are endless.
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