Stories this week at Wake Forest University

MEDIA INVITED TO COVER EDELMAN’S ADDRESS MAY 19— Marian Wright Edelman will deliver the baccalaureate address at 11 a.m. May 19 in Wait Chapel. Seats are reserved for graduates and their guests only. To arrange coverage of the event, contact Sarah Mansell in advance at or 336-758-5237.

MCCAIN WILL DELIVER COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS— John McCain, U.S. senator from Arizona and decorated Navy veteran, will deliver Wake Forest’s 160th commencement address May 20. The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on University Plaza.

MORE THAN 1,500 GRADUATES TO RECEIVE DIPLOMAS— Approximately 1,521 undergraduate and graduate students will graduate on May 20. An estimated 835 undergraduate students will receive bachelor’s degrees during commencement and a combined total of 686 graduate students from the Divinity School, Babcock Graduate School of Management, School of Medicine, School of Law, and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will receive degrees.

WAKE FOREST TO HONOR PORT AUTHORITY OFFICER— Wake Forest will recognize and honor Officer Susan Keane of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey during its commencement ceremony May 20. Keane was one of the first officers to respond to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and is featured in one of many books written about the day. Wake Forest President Thomas K. Hearn Jr. will present Keane with the American flag that was flying over the Wake Forest campus on Sept. 11.

FORMER U.S. SURGEON GENERAL AMONG HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENTS— Wake Forest will award five honorary degrees during commencement weekend. Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher will receive an honorary doctor of science degree. Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, will receive an honorary doctor of humanities degree. The university will present honorary doctor of laws degrees to U.S. Senator John McCain, commencement speaker; F.M. Kirby II, president and founder of the F.M. Kirby Foundation; and Floyd Abrams, one of the country’s leading First Amendment attorneys and partner with the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

The entire commencement ceremony, including Senator John McCain’s speech, will be broadcast live on the Internet beginning at 9 a.m. at In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved to Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum and will not be available on the Internet. If moved to the coliseum, the ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m.

MAKING THE QUAD A COMMENCEMENT STAGE— Dozens of ferns and yellow mums, more than 10,000 chairs, and a 50-by-100 foot yellow and white tent will transform the lush ground of University Plaza (the Quad) into a commencement stage this weekend. More than 12,500 friends and family of graduates are expected on commencement morning.

GRADUATION EXTRA SPECIAL FOR ONE WAKE FOREST STUDENT— Graduating senior Hillary Heard remembers being recognized by a couple of young girls as Sarah, a deaf character she portrayed in Wake Forest’s 2000 production of “Children of a Lesser God.” The girls were at a statewide event for deaf and hearing-impaired children in Winston-Salem, months after the production had ended. For Heard, who is hearing impaired, the recognition was especially poignant. “They said they loved it and it had been their favorite play,” says Heard. “Knowing I could be at least a glimpse of a role model for them let me know I had to keep pursuing the things I love.” Heard, who is majoring in English and theater, says dealing with her disability in a college environment has been a lesson in increased independence. Because much of her comprehension depends on lip-reading, she asked her professors to always talk facing the class and avoid covering their mouths with their hands. A classmate often helped with note taking, so Heard could concentrate on following the class discussion. Lights in her residence hall room alerted her to fire alarms and phone calls, and a vibrating alarm clock took the place of most students’ clock radio. “I know where my passions and interests lie,” Heard says. “I’m excited to see where they take me.” To arrange an interview with Heard, contact Sarah Mansell at or 336-758-5237.

MANY DIVINITY GRADS CALL NORTH CAROLINA HOME— Twenty students will make history May 20 when they become the first graduates of Wake Forest Divinity School. The students are from six states and represent seven denominations. Thirteen of the students are from North Carolina. They will use their master of divinity degrees for various types of ministry including congregational ministry, social work and chaplaincy. The Divinity School opened in 1999 as the first university-affiliated theological program without an official denominational tie. To arrange an interview with a student or for more information, contact Vanessa Willis at or 336-758-5237.

Categories: Athletics, Commencement, Events, Recognition, Speakers, University Announcement