There is some sad news to report from campus about the passing of a legendary alumnus, Porter Byrum (JD ’42). He was a graduate of our law school and one of the most devoted Wake Foresters ever. He was also Wake Forest’s largest benefactor, a passionate advocate for Wake Forest, and an exceptionally enthusiastic Deacon sports fan.
Unless you are a parent or family member in the Charlotte area, you might not have had any reason to know Mr. Byrum, but you might have indirectly known him in this way: when you and your students came to campus for admissions visits and interviews, you would have felt his warmth and hospitality – because his generosity enabled Wake Forest to build the Porter B. Byrum Welcome Center, where our admissions team is so beautifully housed. Perhaps your students have felt Mr. Byrum’s impact as well, either as recipients of scholarships he funded, or because they have friends and classmates who received scholarships that made a Wake Forest education possible for them.
I did not know him personally, only by being at a couple of events we jointly attended, but he seemed to me to be a lovely, lovely older gentleman. From those in the office who knew him well, they speak of Mr. Byrum in the highest possible terms. He came from the Old Campus, where the motto of “Friendliness and Honor” was the guiding principle. And he helped Wake Forest have the resources to become a better version of itself, and to better support our students – and for that I will be forever grateful.
There is a tribute web site that celebrates his life and allows you to leave comments if you wish.
Rest in peace, Mr. Byrum.