Wake Forest celebrates Father’s Day

Father’s Day brings a flood of memories ranging from barbecues to steak dinners, new ties to new tool sets, and Hallmark cards to homemade cards. With so many assumptions and stereotypes surrounding Father’s Day, it is easy to lose touch with what the holiday is really about – honoring fathers for their contributions to the lives of their children.

Members of the Wake Forest community remind us why Father’s Day is an important holiday and why we honor our fathers.

Linda Nielsen

Gone But Not Forgotten: Dad’s Legacy Lives On In “Fathers To Daughters” Class

Father’s Day is often difficult to celebrate after one’s father has passed away and the responsibility of filling his shoes can be daunting. This is exactly what Mike Bevan (’12), did when his father died unexpectedly. He quickly assumed the leadership role in his family, assisting his mother with everything from handling insurance policies to winterizing the lawn equipment.

Helping his sister proved more difficult. Bevan, who was a senior at the time, enrolled in a course called “Fathers and Daughters,” the only known college class in the country devoted exclusively to dad-daughter relationships taught by Linda Nielsen, to learn how to help his sister cope with their loss.

“I’m the next male role model in her life,” said Bevan, who followed in his father’s military footsteps by commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the Army. “I’m thankful that he taught me how to solve problems and become financially independent. I want to help my sister with that as best I can.”

Bevan’s selfless dedication to helping his family cope with his father’s death is perhaps the ultimate honor of his dad’s legacy.

Read about other students’ experiences in the “Fathers and Daughters” class.

Andrew Smiler

Retire the Necktie: Give the Gift Of Time, Anytime

Everyone knows dads are impossible to shop for, especially around Father’s Day. Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Andrew Smiler, an expert in men and masculinity, has some tips about what dads are really looking for this Father’s Day.

What’s one way to give dad that perfect present? Smiler says, just do it! Because our culture measures men by what they do, not how they feel or what they think, he encourages giving experiential gifts that match Dad’s interests, or perhaps that you can share together.

“Saying ‘I love you’ really is important, but if you really want to let your dad know you’re thinking about him, you’ll need to do something to show him,” said Smiler.

Smiler, author of Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of Promiscuous Young Male Sexuality, (Fall 2012) has also weighed in on the evolving role of fathers in today’s modern family.

Check out Smiler’s most recent column in The Huffington Post: The Father’s Day Gift Guide Dad Wants You to Read.

Giving Generously So Others Can Learn

In January 2012, Timothy Lam (’60), donated 550 pieces of Chinese pottery to the Wake Forest University Museum of Anthropology — a collection he spent more than 25 years building. Lam, who knew he was nearing the end of a lengthy battle with cancer, died just two months after making the gift to his alma mater.

“This Father’s Day stirs up many emotional memories of my beloved dad,” says his son Marcus Lam (’98). “One of the fondest would be his decision to donate his Tang Dynasty collection to Wake Forest. I grew up with his sprawling collection of Chinese history literally all around me, and I’m proud that this important part of my dad’s legacy is now a part of Wake Forest.”

Each piece of pottery has a story. How was it meant to be used? How do the decorations on the piece reflect the broader social, economic and political life of China during this period? These are things that can be learned by studying these pieces.

A version of the Museum of Anthropology’s exhibition will travel to other museums and galleries, and everywhere the exhibition goes, Tim Lam’s name will be remembered for preserving ceramics from this era of Chinese history.

“I always believed that my dad’s many antique collections would one day end up in a proper museum. After all, such rich history and culture should be shared with the world,” says Tim Lam Jr., (’93). “I imagine Dad smiling at the prospect of so many people now being able to examine firsthand these inspiring works. As I remember him this Father’s Day, his many lessons of generosity and hospitality will never be lost on me.”

Read more about Lam’s gift of Chinese culture.

Paúl Pauca

More Than Words: A Father’s Quest To Give His Son The Gift Of Speech

Victor Pauca is a happy, social six-year-old with Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that has delayed his development and speech, but not his spirit. His father, Paúl Pauca, an associate professor of computer science and a team of students created “Verbal Victor,” an iPhone/iPad app, to provide an affordable alternative to expensive communication devices.

Since its debut, Verbal Victor has been downloaded 3,000 times and has enabled children to communicate in a way that was not affordable before. Pauca has received positive feedback from grateful parents across the globe.

“I have received emails from Korea, India, Switzerland and other countries,” he said. “Hearing from so many people has created a huge desire to make this kind of application a big aspect of my research. It has become a calling. Because of my son, I have found my mission to help give a voice to those without one.”

Pauca’s success with Verbal Victor has fueled new research, which will undoubtedly make life better for children with disabilities. His determination to help his son demonstrates the power of human spirit and what great lengths a father will go to in order to change the life of not only his son but those of countless others.

Learn more about Verbal Victor or read Pauca’s Q&A with USA Today.

Categories: Community, For Alumni, For Parents, Top Stories