A Grande Dame in WFU History

Yesterday the Wake Forest family lost a much-beloved member, Lu Leake.  Lu came to Wake Forest in 1964 as dean of women, and she had held many different titles, including assistant vice president for planning and dean of the summer school, before retiring in 1997 as associate vice president for academic affairs.  In 1996, she received the Medallion of Merit, Wake Forest’s highest award.

Of course your students would likely never have met Lu Leake or known who she was.  But she was a powerhouse at Wake Forest for decades, and at least for me, I think of Lu as a pioneer for female administrators on the Reynolda Campus and one who helped pave the way for the next generation of us to come.  She was smart, dedicated, and respected.  She changed the lives of many a student, and her praises will be sung in the coming days by people who knew her far better than I did.

20090917students0050 Your students might not have known Lu, but every time they go to the Mag Room for lunch and sling their backpacks on the big table, I wonder if they realize they are in the Lu Leake Lounge (the area outside the Mag Room).  Her portrait was hung in the LLL many years ago.   Below I have some pictures of Lu in the lounge.

Universities are shaped and changed in big and small ways by the people who dedicate their lives to them.  Lu was one of those people, and your students’ experience here is better because of her.  Even if they never knew her, or realized they were sitting in her lounge.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in Wait Chapel.

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— by Betsy Chapman

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