The Distinguished Alumni Awards are conferred annually at a signature event that celebrates the achievements of each recipient. The 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner was held Friday, April 26, in the Sutton Center on Wake Forest’s Reynolda Campus. The 2019 honorees are Buck Cochran (‘82), Donna Edwards (’80) and Anil Rai Gupta (MBA ’92, LLD ’17).
The Reverend Buck Cochran is an ordained Presbyterian minister who, after working as associate pastor at a Greensboro Church, found a unique and meaningful way to serve others. When Buck recognized the need for a supportive living and working community for special-needs adults, he co-founded Peacehaven Community Farm in Whitsett, North Carolina. The sustainable working farm offers residents as well as community volunteers meaningful work and mutually nurturing relationships. To help fulfill his vision, Buck partners with nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity and AmeriCorps VISTA program. Buck has dedicated his life to honoring the Pro Humanitate principles, ideals and values he learned as a student at Wake Forest.
The Honorable Donna Edwards is an inspirational public servant who served four terms as a U.S. Representative of Maryland. As a congresswoman and director of nonprofits like the Arca Foundation and the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Donna has been a tireless advocate for the disadvantaged, underserved and marginalized. A champion of diversity and inclusion in all spheres of society, Donna’s Pro Humanitate principles are the foundation of her life of service. Donna has challenged the status quo since her time as one of 12 African American women in her class at Wake Forest, and she now serves as a University trustee.
Anil Rai Gupta is a gifted entrepreneur who transformed a small electrical product company into a global powerhouse. Under Anil’s leadership as chairman and managing director, Havells India Limited has adopted corporate social responsibility initiatives that reflect Anil’s Pro Humanitate values. Programs like a daily meal program for thousands of schoolchildren and sustainability efforts that repurpose Havells waste wood are just two of the ways Anil gives back to the community. He also takes Wake Forest’s mission to educate the whole person across the globe as co-founder of New Delhi’s Ashoka University, India’s only liberal arts institution.