The value of diversity

Wake Forest is an intellectually and culturally diverse place where interfaith programs, the new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Queer (LGBTQ) Center and a variety of guest artists and speakers reflect the University’s commitment to cultivating an environment which fosters the inclusion and engagement of everyone, regardless of individual differences.

“If we can promote being part of a rich Wake Forest culture and enjoy a more inclusive and diverse campus, while still maintaining our own identities and culture, then we will have lived up to the University’s motto of Pro Humanitate,” said Kevin Smith, who graduated from Wake Forest in May.

Khalid Griggs

During the 2011-2012 academic year, Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life Khalid Griggs led an interfaith journey to the Holy Land. As the students visited sites in Israel and looked at them from Christian, Jewish and Islamic perspectives, Griggs said he saw many of them become energized about interfaith work. “Nowhere else in the world is the message clearer of why interfaith cooperation is so important,” he said. Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, emphasized the importance of bringing together people of all religious identities to form a bridge from religious intolerance and misunderstanding to a new reality focused on the common good during a Voices of our Time lecture on campus.

Angela Mazaris

Angela Mazaris was named the first director of Wake Forest’s LGBTQ Center in September. This spring, political science and law professors provided background information and analysis regarding the vote on North Carolina’s same-sex marriage amendment.

In February, Wake Forest’s Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Barbee Oakes was nationally recognized for her personal interest in and steadfast commitment to initiatives that promote pluralism and foster community. Diverse Issues in Higher Education named Oakes one of the “25 Women Making a Difference.” This spring, Wake Forest kicked off a yearlong celebration, “Faces of Courage,” that will run through the 2012-2013 academic year. The initiative marks the 50th anniversary of Wake Forest’s historic decision to integrate and how it shaped the University.

The following highlights from the year provide a glimpse at the people and programs showing ways Wake Forest embraces diversity:

Student Storyteller: Forum for black male students
May 2, 2012

Kevin Smith, a senior from Wilson, N.C., shares his experience with M4, a group that brings together male African-American students to talk about contemporary issues.

Faces of Courage kickoff
April 25, 2012

Audience at Faces of Courage eventOn April 27, 1962, trustees voted to end racial segregation at Wake Forest and the University became the first major private college in the South to integrate. Fifty years later, Wake Forest kicks off “Faces of Courage,” a yearlong celebration of the historic decision and how it has shaped the University.

Building bridges of faith
March 2, 2012

Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, emphasized the importance of bringing together people of all religious identities to form a bridge from religious intolerance and misunderstanding to a new reality focused on the common good.

Oakes receives Top 25 honor
March 1, 2012

Barbee OakesAs head of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Barbee Myers Oakes long has been known in the Wake Forest community for selflessly going above and beyond. Now she has received national recognition for her personal interest in and steadfast commitment to initiatives that promote pluralism and foster community.

Statement by Melissa Rogers regarding White House accommodation of religious concerns on contraceptive mandate
February 10, 2012

Following is a statement by Melissa Rogers, the director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and a nonresident senior fellow in the Governance Studies program of The Brookings Institution. Rogers previously served as the chair of President Obama’s inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Interfaith pilgrimage
February 3, 2012

School of Divinity and undergraduate students led by Associate Professor Neal Walls and Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life Khalid Griggs spent two weeks exploring the history and religious traditions of Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities during Wake Forest’s Interfaith Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Chaplain joins the U.S. Army
November 11, 2011

Rabbi Michael GisserTwo years ago, Rabbi Michael Gisser exchanged his Canadian citizenship for U.S. citizenship – step one towards fulfilling his lifelong dream. On Veterans Day, Gisser – the associate chaplain for Jewish life at Wake Forest – takes step two. He’ll be installed as a chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserve.

WFU establishes LGBTQ Center
September 1st, 2011

Angela Mazaris has been selected by Wake Forest to establish a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Queer (LGBTQ) Center at the Reynolda Campus. The center will be a source of educational programming, support and advocacy for the entire campus community.

Categories: For Alumni, For Parents, Top Stories, Valuing Diversity