The Deacon Blog

A magazine staff blog with news of alumni and the WFU community

Wake Forest Magazine

Happiness is recognition from our peers

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Wake Forest Magazine has been honored by its peer institutions in the 2014-15 District III (Southeast) competition of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

“An Artful Friendship,” written by Editor Maria Henson (’82) and published in the Spring 2014 issue, received an Award of Excellence in feature writing. The touching story is about college roommates Dick Peterson (’67) and Charlie Stott (’67), who reunited after many years apart and re-established their friendship through art.

artful-friendship“When I moved back to Winston-Salem it was Charlie, the painter, who put a brush in my hand and said, ‘Why don’t you come over and paint with me?’ I had never painted before, but Charlie gave me a gift that has greatly enhanced my life and deepened our friendship through art,” Dick said.

Editor Maria Henson ('82)

Editor Maria Henson (’82)

Charlie said of the article, “Beyond the obvious story, you recognized that there was something more to our friendship. As I went missing for three months of cancer treatments, you told the story of how cancer has impacted our friendship. It’s a story that has resonated with many others.”

The alumni magazine, which is published three times a year in print and year-round online, won an Award of Excellence in print/digital publications. In addition to Henson the magazine staff includes Cherin C. Poovey (P ’08), managing editor; Kerry M. King (’85), senior editor; and Janet M. Williamson (P ’00, ’03), deputy editor. Members of Wake Forest’s creative group on the magazine production team are Hayes Henderson, creative director; Jill Carson and Kris Hendershott, graphic designers; Gretta Kohler, project manager; and Ken Bennett, University photographer. Julie Helsabeck, a freelance designer, is also part of the team.

— Cherin C. Poovey (P ’08)

A familiar sight in a faraway place

Last month Joyce and Douglas Boyette (MD ’75, P ’03) were part of a 35-member medical mission team serving in Barahona, Dominican Republic, when Joyce spotted something familiar. A young child, hundreds of miles from the Wake Forest campus, was wearing a T-shirt that read “I may be little but I’m a BIG Demon Deacon fan.”

“It really made my day to be in a foreign country and find a WFU T-shirt,” wrote Joyce, who shared her photo with the magazine. “As one can see, we were in a very poor place in the mountains of Dominican Republic.”

A little Deacon fan, photographed by Joyce Boyette.

A little Deacon fan, photo by Joyce Boyette.

The medical mission team included surgical and clinical groups, she said. The former, including Wake alum Dale Williams (MD ’82), performed 63 surgeries during the week. The clinical group saw 618 patients.

“Each year, there is a January group from mostly Greensboro and Shelby. In February, there’s a group from Winston Salem and in March, a group from Asheboro goes down,” she wrote. “I would suspect that someone from Winston-Salem donated clothes in the past and thus, the WFU shirt.”

Thanks to the Boyettes for sharing this story and for reminding us that the spirit of Pro Humanitate is far-reaching, as is the community of Deacon fans.

— Cherin C. Poovey (P ’08)

More reasons to give thanks

Amy WhiteWe first brought you the story of Amy Bannister White (’90) at Thanksgiving two years ago. In the true spirit of Pro Humanitate, 10 years ago White founded a faith-based organization, Community of Hope Ministries, to help those in need in her hometown of Garner, North Carolina.

For the last five years, Community of Hope has partnered with Butterball LLC to provide turkeys to more than 200 families in need at Thanksgiving. When I checked in with White last week, she was overflowing with enthusiasm and thankfulness.

Butterball, which is based in Garner, donated 225 turkeys this year. Highland Baptist Church in Garner donated another 40, and a real estate office donated 10. Several other North Carolina companies stepped up to help this year, too. “We worked hard to bring some additional partners to help Community of Hope provide not only the turkeys, but also the side dishes to go with them,” White told me.

Alco Custom Cabinets in Garner provided cranberry sauce and pumpkin pies. The Village of Aversboro, a retirement community, hosted a food drive to collect green beans and stuffing mix. Nash Produce, one of North Carolina’s largest sweet potato producers, donated more than 1,000 pounds of potatoes.

“I can’t imagine not doing this Thanksgiving outreach,” White told me. “I love the story of cooperation in the children’s story “Stone Soup” where hungry travelers make soup in the town square. The townspeople “donate” the ingredients to make a soup that is shared by all. Our take on that story is that we ask several partners to work together to make Thanksgiving dinner a joyful reality for all of those who would not otherwise have one.”

White is a former teacher who started Community of Hope to tutor some elementary-school kids struggling in reading and math. That led to one thing and then another. Today, Community of Hope serves about 200 families a month through an after-school enrichment program and a summer camp for at-risk youth; a home-repair service for seniors and the disabled; a benevolence ministry that provides monetary help for things like rent and transportation; and a food pantry that has provided 137,000 meals this year. The nonprofit is supported by First Baptist Church of Garner, other churches and individuals and businesses.

White had more good news to share as she told me about two new programs: a 16-week job readiness program to teach unemployed and underemployed individuals the skills necessary to find and keep a stable job, and a community garden to provide fresh vegetables for Community of Hope’s food pantry.

If you don’t believe that one person can change the world, White is the perfect example of one who’s made her little corner of the world a little better. Her husband, Kyle Alan White (’88, MAEd ’94), even put together a video set to Carrie Underwood’s “Change the World” that’s worth watching to drive home that point.

White shared one final message that we want to pass along to the loyal readers of Wake Forest Magazine: “Blessings to you for a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.”

— Kerry M. King (’85)

Our man in Bahrain

Roebuck-at-HearingAfter serving in some of the hottest spots in the world — Libya, Iraq, Syria and Israel — William Roebuck’s (’78, MA ’82) next posting might seem like a day at the beach for the career diplomat.

In July, President Obama nominated Roebuck as the next U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, an archipelago in the Persian Gulf with about 1.3 million people. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Roebuck’s nomination last month, but he still awaits confirmation by the full Senate. (Bill Roebuck was confirmed by the Senate in November and began his posting in Bahrain on Jan. 8, 2015.)

Testifying before the foreign relations committee, Roebeck summed up his impressive 20-year career: “I have spent most of my career posted in the Middle East … fostering political dialogue, providing support for elections, helping governments address the threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism, promoting and protecting human rights, and encouraging regional security efforts between neighbors.”

Roebuck follows in the footsteps of at least two other alumni. Jeannette Wallace Hyde (’58) was ambassador to Barbados and areas of the West Indies from 1994 to 1997. The late Graham Martin (’32) was a career diplomat who served as ambassador to Thailand and Italy and was the last U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam before the country’s fall to North Vietnam in 1975.

“Bill” Roebuck, 58, grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and received a George Foster Hankins Scholarship to Wake Forest. He wrote for the Old Gold & Black and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in English literature.

As reported on the news site, AllGov.com, and in his State Department biography, Roebuck served in Côte D’Ivoire during a stint with the Peace Corps and taught English in Saudi Arabia. After earning a law degree from the University of Georgia, he joined the Foreign Service in 1992. In the two decades since, he’s become a well-traveled and respected diplomat.

He was a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv for several years before moving to Damascus, Syria, where he served as acting deputy chief of mission. After a short stint in Washington, he went back to the Middle East as deputy political counselor at the embassy in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.

Roebuck was sent to Tripoli, Libya, in early 2013 as chargé d’affaires — the top U.S. diplomat in the country in the absence of an ambassador — several months after Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Most recently, he was deputy assistant secretary of state of Egypt and Maghreb Affairs, based in Washington.

While Bahrain doesn’t attract the headlines of its Middle East neighbors, Roebuck isn’t likely to have much time to spend at the beach. He’s sure to be tested as he and the U.S. government push back against the Bahrain government’s human-rights record and targeting of opposition groups.

Fitting for one who spent his college days studying literature, Roebuck occasionally writes poetry for the Foreign Service Journal. Bahrain’s leading English newspaper, the Daily Tribune, even described the “new amby” as a poet. Roebuck once penned a moving tribute to his late friend, Chris Stevens, which reads, in part:

“I think back to that long night last September: the frantic phone calls,
 The unreliable shards of information, the series of urgent plans drawn up and discarded, The crushing news, And no time to mourn, then or later.”

— Kerry M. King (’85)