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Alumni, So Dear

Dining with the Deacs

image (10)On Sunday, March 22nd, Dr. Dan Beavers (’01) and his family hosted a group of 7 seniors in their home for a “Dining with the Deacs”! Throughout the schoolyear, Wake Forest alumni partner with the Office of Alumni Engagement in hosting students in their homes for a wonderful meal and meaningful conversation. Each dinner provides a way for students to learn from the wisdom and experience of each alumnus, as they share about their journey from college to career and more.

Daniel Headshot“When I learned about Dining with the Deacs, I knew I wanted to be involved because it would be a great chance to give back to the Wake Forest community that was so generous to me when I was a student, and I am so blessed to be in a position where I can pay it forward. These seniors are all about to enter a very exciting phase of life, and it was great hearing their plans and imparting a bit of wisdom my wife and I have. I absolutely recommend being a Dining with the Deacs host, and we hope to do it again in the future!” – Dr. Dan Beavers (’01)

Some feedback from two students on the value of “Dining with the Deacs”:

Olivia Headshot“As both the daughter of an alumnus (Dan Whitener ’84) and being a student over 9 hours away from home, I welcome opportunities to connect with alumni and grow my local family (not to mention the amazing home-cooked meal!). Having timeto gather with fellow seniors, some of whom I met freshman year and others I had only seen walking across the Quad, to discuss life after graduation was encouraging and nostalgic. It was amazing to hear the various paths the other students are headed on, but also comforting to hear from our hosts that we do not have it all figured out right now! The Beavers were an excellent example of encouraging one another in personal and professional interests, an embodiment of the Deacon spirit.” – Olivia Whitener (’15)

Chester Headshot“Attending Dining with the Deacs gives students a great opportunity to talk with older Deacs about life after college. Connecting with alumni who live in Winston-Salem is also a chance for students to get off campus and connect, as students love being welcomed into a home, which is pretty unusual to find while classes are in session, and I am not back in Florida with my family (my mom, Cindy Bedell ’78, got me hooked on the Deacs). The Beavers were such great hosts, and we enjoyed hearing about their loves and what they love about Wake Forest!” – Chester Bedell (’15)

Thanks to our gracious hosts for this event! We couldn’t do it without you, and the impact these dinners have on students cannot be measured. Interested in being a “Dining with the Deacs” host for the 2015-2016 school year? Please reach out to Stephen Edwards.

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Darling Deacon: Charlie Winter

pennantIn the Alumni Office, we love seeing the demon deacon children of alumni! (Or pictures of alumni when they were little deacons themselves.)

And we figured we weren’t the only ones. We will be featuring “darling deacons” here on Alumni, So Dear. It’s a chance for alumni parents to share with the Wake Forest community pictures of their children in all of their Black & Gold gear. We’re happy for alumni to take a walk down memory lane and send in any childhood Wake Forest photos of themselves, too.

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This week’s Darling Deacon is seven-month-old Charlie Winter, son of Aaron Winter (’02) and Susannah Rosenblatt (’03) and grandson of Faye Setzer Rosenblatt (’67).  Charlie proudly sports his old gold and black and looks forward to making his first visit to campus soon with his parents!

We are excited to share another darling deacon soon.

Would you like to be considered for darling deacon of the week? Email your photo and the names of those pictured, your name and class year, and any other related information to alumni@nullwfu.edu. Photos should incorporate Wake Forest in some way for publication.

The Junior Juncture: Navigating Decisions

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On Wednesday, March 18th, seven Wake Forest alumni joined together on campus to be a part of a new initiative put on by the Office of Alumni Engagement. The intent of The Junior Juncture: Navigating What’s Next was to help over 40 juniors navigate the important “juncture” of junior  year, where decisions about internships and career path can feel super daunting! This dinner provides a supportive environment of caring alumni in seven career paths that were eager to invest in these students both personally and professionally. We could not have pulled off this impactful program without these alumni volunteers:

— Non-Profit Sector: Katie Wolf (’13), Assistant Director at Hanes Art Gallery
— Technology: Jon Wright (’08), Project Manager at Beacon Technologies
— Financial Services: Walt Reece (’12), LDP Associate at BB&T Banking
— Medicine/Healthcare: Dr. Locke Glenn (’05), Assistant Medical Director at Novant Health
— Law/Government: Chad Brown (’01, JD ’06), Partner at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice
— Marketing/Advertising: Meg Miles (’13), Account Executive at CCL Branding
— Entrepreneurship: Becca Atchison (’03), Owner at Rebecca Rose Events

“As a recent graduate, I vividly remember the pressure I felt as a Junior to find the perfect summer internship and the stress that the process placed on my already academically loaded shoulders. During my search, I found that some of the best advice (regarding both internships and surviving the search) came from my older peers; knowing they had successfully navigated the waters gave me permission to take a deep breath and remember that in one way or another, things would work out. It was my hope that by participating in the event, I would be able to provide the same reassurance to the students at my table! As an alum who has remained in the Winston-Salem area, I cherish opportunities such as this to give back to University that gave me so much during my time there.” – Meg Miles (’13)

Some Feedback from Students about the impact of connecting with alumni:

  • It definitely made me feel a lot more confident in my job search and career process. I also think that it made me a lot more appreciative of Wake Forest and its alumni because alumni really want to help you succeed. I think this is unique and would not necessarily happen at a big state school.  – Class of 2016 participant
  • I appreciated the idea of just focusing on the very next step. Junior year can be overwhelming with options and future planning, but just focusing on the next step helps keep perspective and moving forward. – Class of 2016 participant
  • I expected to network with alumni and be given advice, but I didn’t expect the alums to be so personable! They gave extremely relevant advice since they were undergrads not too long ago, and they answered all of our questions honestly.  – Class of 2016 participant

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image4The Junior Juncture will continue to be a program that connects current students with alumni around a particular career track.

If you would be interested in serving as an on campus alumni contributor in the 2015-2016 school year, or bringing something like this to your local alumni club, please reach out to Stephen Edwards.

 

Darling Deacons: Lilly and Anna Grace McCullough

pennantIn the Alumni Office, we love seeing the demon deacon children of alumni! (Or pictures of alumni when they were little deacons themselves.)

And we figured we weren’t the only ones. We will be featuring “darling deacons” here on Alumni, So Dear. It’s a chance for alumni parents to share with the Wake Forest community pictures of their children in all of their Black & Gold gear. We’re happy for alumni to take a walk down memory lane and send in any childhood Wake Forest photos of themselves, too.

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This week’s Darling Deacons are 2 1/2 years old Lilly and three-month-old Anna Grace McCullough, daughters of Devin (’02) and Claire Boyette (’03) McCullough .  Lilly and Anna’s grandfather is Douglas Boyette (MD ’75).  We are happy to see them already embracing their Wake Forest roots and look forward to them continuing to cheer on the Deacs in black and gold!

We are excited to share another darling deacon soon.

Would you like to be considered for darling deacon of the week? Email your photo and the names of those pictured, your name and class year, and any other related information to alumni@nullwfu.edu. Photos should incorporate Wake Forest in some way for publication.

Darling Deacon: Liam Mancuso

pennantIn the Alumni Office, we love seeing the demon deacon children of alumni! (Or pictures of alumni when they were little deacons themselves.)

And we figured we weren’t the only ones. We will be featuring “darling deacons” here on Alumni, So Dear. It’s a chance for alumni parents to share with the Wake Forest community pictures of their children in all of their Black & Gold gear. We’re happy for alumni to take a walk down memory lane and send in any childhood Wake Forest photos of themselves, too.

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This week’s Darling Deacon is four-month-old Liam, son of Patrick and Jenny Darneille (’03) Mancuso.  Liam is pictured in his Wake Forest finest with his mom and fellow alumna Eve Tannery (’03).  We hope he is always surrounded by fellow Demon Deacons!

We are excited to share another darling deacon soon.

Would you like to be considered for darling deacon of the week? Email your photo and the names of those pictured, your name and class year, and any other related information to alumni@nullwfu.edu. Photos should incorporate Wake Forest in some way for publication.

Support for WFU’s Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life

Dear Wake Forest Alumni,

Many of you recently received a confusing email from Wake Forest alumnus Donald Woodsmall outlining his concerns about an associate chaplain at Wake Forest. Mr. Woodsmall has been waging a campaign against Imam Khalid Griggs since soon after the University hired Imam Griggs as the Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life five years ago.

We have discussed the situation with University administrators, and can share with you that they fully support Imam Griggs and his unwavering efforts to promote a broader dialogue among people of different faith traditions. During previous interactions with Mr. Woodsmall, University administrators and trustees made it clear that they will not give him the platform he wants to hold a debate on Shariah Law. University leaders have found his allegations unmerited and his methods inappropriate. Wake Forest has held many academic events to further understanding of Islam and will continue to do so.

Imam Griggs has written to us from a desire to ease concern among alumni. We share the following message with his permission.

Unfortunately, we may hear from Mr. Woodsmall again. If we do, we encourage you to rally around a good man working to make Wake Forest a better place, as many students have recently done.

Most sincerely,

2014-2015 Alumni Council Executive Committee
Wake Forest University


 

Dear Alumni Council Leaders,

With the hope of promoting peace, greater understanding and reassurance, I write to you from a place of personal turmoil and concern for the wellbeing of Wake Forest University’s Muslim students. While Muslim students have been supported on campus, fear and anger have been directed against me, and those who share my faith. I have remained silent in the face of unrelenting, libelous attacks on my character and worldview simply because I felt that the University’s interest would be better served if I refused to dignify these accusations with a response. I now feel it necessary to set the record straight through this open letter and communicate directly with alumni about who I am and what I believe.

When I accepted the position of Associate Chaplain at Wake Forest in 2010, I could not have imagined that Islam, and the ethos of the overwhelming majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, would be so maligned and attacked as it has been. Unspeakable acts of extremist elements accompanied by corresponding media frenzy fuel fear in our society every day. Regrettably, Ms. Clare Lopez, of the Clarion Project, and a Wake Forest alumnus named Donald Woodsmall have distorted my background and character to the point I do not recognize the man they describe, and I feel compelled to respond.

Among the many terms used by Ms. Lopez and Mr. Woodsmall to malign my character and provoke fear, “Shariah supremacist” is one unknown to Muslims for the 1,400 plus years of the history of Islam. I support the constitutional government of the United States and have never advocated, nor would I ever support, violence against it. Shariah Law is simply the laws of Muslim society based on the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (Prophetic Traditions) of Muhammad ibn Abdullah. Shariah Law covers prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, charity, beliefs, and every aspect of Islamic belief and practice. Actions by groups purporting to enforce Shariah Law through violence are actually carrying out outrages that are the antithesis of Shariah Law.

Another term used by Ms. Lopez and Mr. Woodsmall to suggest I am a danger to society is the term “jihad.” “Jihad” means “struggle” as defined in the Islamic faith but it has been co-opted by terrorists as the justification for their violence. In truth, properly understood, it has a more personal meaning. The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, said that the greatest jihad (or “struggle”) was conquering one’s desires to do things that God forbids. The distorted stereotype of jihad as “warfare against non-Muslims” is inconsistent with the Qur’an and Prophetic Traditions on which my faith is based. I want people to know that I have repeatedly and publicly denounced violent acts in the name of Islam and decry a tendency to blame all Muslims for the extremist actions of a few.

I have lived a very public life since embracing the religion of Islam in 1972 as a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Over the years, I have been a member of some large Muslim organizations comprised of members with disparate views. I have been the Imam of the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem since 1984. During this period, neither I nor any member of the mosque has ever been accused, charged or convicted of any anti-government plot, speech, or action in over 30 years. From this position, I have been an active social justice and human rights advocate, locally and nationally.

I hope that what I have shared will ease any fears that I would bring ill against the Wake Forest community I have grown to love. I am grateful for the support I have received from people of all faith traditions in the Wake Forest University community. It is my pleasure to serve the students, faculty, staff and alumni of Wake Forest University in the pursuit of peace and understanding. It is my understanding of Pro Humanitate that we each seek to use our given talents to make the world a better place. And there could be no higher truth in my faith tradition or yours.

Peace,

Imam Khalid Griggs