A Very Special Birthday

20040721F_tedford9200On Saturday, there was a very special Wake Forest event: a combination birthday party and campaign launch to name the Main Stage Theatre after Harold C. Tedford, former chair of the department.  Dr. T, as he is affectionately known, came to Wake Forest in 1965 and retired in 1998.  In that 30 year career, he created a large, extended family of colleagues, students, former students, friends of his children, and more.  There were some 250+ who came to wish him a happy 80th birthday and to celebrate an unparalleled career.

Dr. T touched lives in countless ways: as a professor, as director of plays, as the sherpa who guided students during Winter Breaks to London to see a large number of theatre productions in a very short time, as the professor in residence at some of Wake’s study abroad houses, as a member of the audience at any artistic production taking place on campus, and as an ongoing mentor and connector for alumni following graduation.

He and his lovely wife Josie lived in the Faculty Drive neighborhood and were gracious hosts to students, other faculty, and others in parties one might refer to as legendary.   They have three daughters, two of whom work at Wake (and who helped plan the entertainment at this event).  A true Wake Forest family through and through.

Saturday’s party/campaign launch was a wonderful affair, full of all sorts of theatrical zaniness, including:

dr t singalonga sing-along section a la Gilbert and Sullivan

an original poem that captured Dr. T’s warp-speed conversations

a medley of his least favorite Broadway showtunes

Shakespeare soliloquies

Tributes and jokes from acclaimed alumni, colleagues, and friends

dr t cakeA fantastic cake, that had layers representing the complete works of Shakespeare, the Globe theatre, and a theatre curtain

It was an amazing gathering that paid tribute to not just this man, but his entire family – all of whom have been important parts of life at Wake Forest.

I laughed. I cried.  It was better than “Cats.”

Happy 80th, Dr. T!

 

 

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