Dr. Maya Angelou’s family has arranged a private memorial service in Wake Forest University’s Wait Chapel on Saturday, June 7 at 10 a.m.
Due to limited seating capacity, the family has decided to have a closed service for family and friends only. Wake Forest University will livestream the service for the public at go.wfu.edu/angeloumemorial.
The family will be planning additional celebrations of her life in other cities across the country. Her son, Guy B. Johnson, will release information about these destinations at a later date.
Despite her larger than life reputation and international acclaim, Dr. Angelou touched the lives of Wake Forest students in a personal and profound way. For more than 30 years, she inspired them to be courageous and embrace life fully.
Five of her former students reflected on their time in the classroom with Dr. Angelou and the transformative lessons they learned. More reflections are available in the guest book on Dr. Angelou’s remembrance page.
“Dr. Angelou said we can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike. She taught me I am a human being. I am capable of every single thing. It doesn’t make me better or worse than anyone else. It just makes me human. This powerful message resonated deeply and validated my pursuits to a selfless venture.” — Bentrice Jusu (’13), founder and executive director of the nonprofit Both Hands: The Artlet in Trendon, N.J.
“It was an absolute privilege to share that special time with Dr. Angelou and my fellow classmates. She taught me how to be a better human being in contemporary America and helped me to understand my responsibilities to others and to my communities as an emerging adult. I remember her both for her wisdom and remarkable intelligence – as well as her generosity of spirit.” — Matt Imboden (’06), director of integrative academic and student services at the Wake Forest University School of Business
“In class, Dr. Angelou made us learn each other’s names. She wanted us to understand how you feel when someone calls your name across the room. She wanted us to experience what it meant to have your chest swell with pride because someone remembered your name. Sometimes she asked us to share what was going on in our lives. She listened. In those moments, she was studying us and what we could contribute to the group and to society at large.” — Nicole Little (’13), program coordinator with the art-based nonprofit, Authoring Action
“I will be forever grateful for the wisdom she so carefully and unselfishly poured into us. There were countless moments that I will cherish, but the theme of the course, ‘I am a human being, nothing human will be alien to me’ is something I carry with me daily.” — Matt Williams (’09), associate director of marketing and communications for Wake Forest’s Office of Personal and Career Development
“It was so amazing as a student to be sitting at the table with Dr. Angelou in her own home. I think the biggest thing I took away from her as a person was her sense of elegance and class. I also found her poetry to be captivating. She obviously went through some very hard things in her lifetime but was nevertheless always looking at the world glass-half-full. She broke a lot of barriers as both a women and a writer, and I am so happy we will always have her work which really and truly embodies her spirit.” — Amanda Finney (’13), a first grade teacher with Teach for America in New Orleans, LA.