Wake Forest University graduate Wade Murphy (’00) is donating $1 million to support the Humanities Institute, extending the reach and impact of humanities and the liberal arts. Murphy is the youngest person in the University’s history to make such a large gift.
“Wade’s generous support underscores the critical role that the humanities play in the education and preparation of today’s students,” said Mary Foskett, professor of religion and director of the Humanities Institute. “The humanities are rooted in intellectual traditions that empower students to engage the world. Today’s graduates must be prepared to interpret complex information, understand diverse cultures and create solutions that serve the common good. Wake Forest provides a rigorous liberal arts education, where the humanities are central, and where faculty and students confront big questions in innovative ways.”
Murphy, the executive vice president of Marmik Oil in El Dorado, Ark., graduated in 2000 with a major in history. He earned an MBA from American University in 2007. He has served as a member of the Wake Forest Young Alumni Development Board and currently serves on the Wake Forest College Board of Visitors.
“Wake Forest is and always has been a place that teaches students how to identify and pursue that which is good, beautiful and true,” said Murphy. “One of the prevailing reasons I want to support the Humanities Institute is that it will go a long way to ensuring that these ideals are carried forward.”
The Humanities Institute was launched in October of 2010 to foster interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarship and explore creative ways to use knowledge to solve real-world problems.
With Murphy’s support, the Institute will continue to build partnerships that contribute to the common good. One example of this kind of work is Humanities Matters, a program funding “The Imagination Project: Artists of the Holocaust” — a collaboration among professors and students that aims to educate audiences about anti-Semitism and promote understanding, tolerance and respect.
In December 2010, the National Endowment for the Humanities offered the Institute a challenge grant of $500,000 with Wake Forest raising $1.5 million by July 2015 to establish an endowment that will help sustain the Humanities Institute and its mission for years to come. With Murphy’s gift, the Institute has exceeded the challenge amount more than two years earlier than required.
“Not only has Wade given us the needed funds, he has made it clear that Wake Forest University values the liberal arts,” said President Nathan O. Hatch. “It is comforting to know that the next generation of Wake Forest stewards is stepping forward in leadership and acting definitively toward preserving the very best of the Wake Forest education.”
Based on his experience as a Wake Forest student, Murphy wants to affirm the central place the humanities have played in shaping his life.
“We cannot expect to continue to build a Wake Forest for future generations without appreciating and honoring the Wake Forest that was provided for us by those who embodied the Pro Humanitate model,” said Murphy. “I fervently believe that the Humanities Institute will help us carry that spirit forward for many generations of Wake Foresters to come.”