Opening Convocation 2009

Wake Forest will celebrate the University’s 175th anniversary and its long tradition of service to humanity during Opening Convocation on Thursday.

The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Wait Chapel beginning at 4 p.m. Following Convocation, a picnic will be held for students, and faculty and staff and their families. Because of the weather, the picnic, originally slated for Hearn Plaza, will be held in various locations in Reynolda Hall (Magnolia Room, Little Magnolia Room, Autumn Room, Green Room and the Fresh Food Company).

The Convocation program will center around the University’s commitment to public engagement. Local representatives from some of the community agencies that the University partners with — including Habitat for Humanity, Second Harvest Food Bank, American Red Cross, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and the Arts Council — will be honored.

About 2,000 students who have engaged in civic leadership through service, internships, coursework and research over the past year have been given t-shirts — with “Engaging Minds, Building Communities” printed on the back — to wear to Convocation to recognize their commitment to public engagement.

Professor of Law Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) will give the Convocation address, “Inquiring Minds and Open Hearts: Wake Forest and Public Engagement.” Reynolds, who joined the law faculty in 1981, ran for the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2008 and is widely respected for her scholarship and teaching about family law and for her public service. A new video on public engagement at Wake Forest, “Engaging Minds, Empowering Communities,” will be shown also.

“In a world facing a whole host of new challenges, our commitment to Pro Humanitate has never been more important,” said Provost Jill Tiefenthaler, who will announce a major new initiative on public engagement during the program. “Today, our world calls for bold thoughts and actions to solve the crises and dilemmas that confront humankind in our own backyard and around the globe.”

About two-thirds of the student body volunteers in the community, and faculty across the University engage in research that benefits the community; nearly 60 faculty members have been trained in teaching methods that incorporate service learning and community work. More than 50 courses incorporate a community service component or community-based research. The University has about 150 community partners and agencies at the local, national and international levels.

Also during Convocation, new faculty members will be recognized.

Several annual faculty awards will be presented, including the Donald O. Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service, the Jon Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching and the new Divinity School Distinguished Service Award.

The Marcellus E. Waddill Excellence in Teaching Award will be presented to two alumni school teachers. Students serving on the Judicial Council, the Honor and Ethics Council and the Board of Investigators and Advisors will also be recognized.

Categories: Provost, Uncategorized