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Stories this week at Wake Forest University

February 14, 2007

DEATH PENALTY OPPONENT TO SPEAK AT WAKE FOREST – Sister Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking,” will speak at Wake Forest University at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 in Brendle Recital Hall.  Prejean’s lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session and booksigning.  The event is hosted by President Nathan O. Hatch as part of the new “Voices of Our Time” speaker series and is free and open to the public.  Media interested in covering the event must arrive by 6:45 p.m.  A limited number of audio connections are available.  Cameras may set up in the back of the hall and to either side of the stairs near the stage as long as they do not block any audience views.

Contact:  Pam Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

STUDENTS HOST JAZZ CONCERT TO HELP MAKE A DREAM REALITY – Five Wake Forest students want to raise $25,000 so they can help build an art and music center for children in Ouidah, Benin, West Africa.  The center will be the first of its kind in Benin.  The students are kicking off their fundraising efforts with a benefit concert featuring internationally-renowned jazz vocalist Lisa Henry at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 in Wait Chapel.  All proceeds will be used to purchase construction supplies.  After construction, the students also hope to involve Wake Forest students and faculty and professional musicians to equip Beninese teachers to incorporate art and music classes in their curriculum.

Contact:  Pam Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

HOTEL RWANDA’ HERO TO DELIVER CONVOCATION ADDRESS Paul Rusesabagina, whose story is chronicled in the film “Hotel Rwanda,” will deliver the Founders’ Day Convocation address “Hotel Rwanda:  A Lesson Yet to be Learned” at Wake Forest at 11 a.m. Feb. 22 in the university’s Wait Chapel.  The event is free and open to the public.  Rusesabagina is unavailable for advance interviews and a formal press conference will not be held during his visit.  However, Rusesabagina will speak at a luncheon held in the university’s Benson University Center immediately after the convocation ceremony.  During the luncheon, Rusesabagina will receive the Ralph Bunche Medal, a bronze medal named for the first American and first person of color to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.  The medal honors those who have demonstrated a commitment to the pursuit of human rights.  Past recipients include Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa.  The medal is hand-crafted by Alex Shagan, the metal sculptor who designed the Moscow Olympic Medal.  Any members of the media who would like to attend the luncheon are asked to contact Maggie Barrett in the News Service.

Contact:  Maggie Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

BETH TWITTY TO EDUCATE STUDENTS ON TRAVEL SAFETY – Beth Twitty, the mother of Natalee Holloway, will speak to Wake Forest students about spring break safety at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in Pugh Auditorium in Benson University Center.  The event is free and open to the public.  Holloway, who disappeared in May 2005 while on a high school graduation trip to Aruba, remains officially missing, although Aruban authorities believe she is dead.  In response to her daughter’s disappearance, Twitty established the International Safe Travels Foundation to educate and inform the public about safe international travel.  Her nationwide safety campaign, SAFE TRAVELS, is endorsed by the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of School Resource Officers.

Contact:  Pam Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

WAKE FOREST IN FOOD FIGHT WITH OTHER BIG FOUR SCHOOLS – From Feb. 1 to March 3, Wake Forest will participate with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and North Carolina State University in the annual “Big 4 Food Fight,” a friendly competition between the schools to help feed the hungry.  Each school will be collecting food and money to support the America’s Second Harvest Food Banks in their area.  Wake Forest Student Government will be collecting Food & Funds for the Second Harvest Food Bank at home games Feb. 14, 17 and March 3.  Donations can also be made online at  For the purposes of this campaign, every $1 donated will equal 5 pounds of food.  The university that collects the most donations (per capita) will be deemed the winner at the March 3 game when the Deacons face Virginia.  The winner of the drawing also will be announced at the game.  You do not need to be present to win.

Contact:  Jacob McConnico, or (336) 758-5237.

1930S-STYLE MOVIE PALACE PREMIERS AT WFU EXHIBIT “The Alvin Shalimar,” a carefully preserved, 1930s-style, private working theater is available for public viewing for the first time ever in Wake Forest’s Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery.  The theater has been the hidden jewel and private sanctuary of 91-year-old, self-taught artist Gordon Brinckle for more than 50 years.  Now, a portion of The Shalimar is part of the multimedia exhibition “The Projectionist” created by photographer and filmmaker Kendall Messick.  The exhibit also features 40 photographs by Messick, a 30-minute documentary on Brinckle’s life shown on the actual Shalimar screen, original theater drawings and designs by Brinckle, and historical photographic documentation.  The exhibit will run through March 18.

Contact:  Pam Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, BARRIER ISLANDS A report released last week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that hotter temperatures and rises in sea level will “continue for centuries.”  In addition, the report blamed man-made emissions of greenhouse gases for an increase in hurricane and tropical storm strength, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean.  Because warming will bring a greater frequency of more intense storms and the sea level is predicted to rise, William K. Smith, Babcock Professor of Botany, is investigating the effects of extreme events on barrier islands.  He is leading a National Science Foundation-funded study group focused on developing a strategic plan for sustaining barrier island ecosystems in a changing global environment.  Group members represent a broad spectrum of research interests such as economics, human ecology, geology, ecology, anthropology and archaeology.  They are looking at the Gulf-area Chandeleur Islands as well as North Carolina’s Bald Head Island and four other coastal sites in the South.  The group first met in April 2006, and will bring together “knowledge of geology, hydrology, ecology and economics into a unified management plan for preserving what appears to be highly vulnerable ecosystems that also play a vital role in the preservation of coastal landscapes worldwide,” Smith said.  “We are thinking of ways to coordinate human development with ecosystem sustainability,” said Smith.  “We are even getting into the more progressive ideas of how to use native vegetation for greater stabilization of these transient, dynamic islands.”

Contact:  Cheryl V. Walker, or (336) 758-5237.

SUDANESE SLAVERY SURVIVOR TO TELL HIS STORY – Simon Deng, a former Sudanese slave and an activist for ending genocide and slavery in Sudan, will speak at Wake Forest University Feb. 20.  Deng will speak at 7 p.m. in Carswell Hall’s Annenberg Forum.  The free, public lecture is sponsored by the Wake Forest chapter of Amnesty International and is part of the Black Student Alliance’s Black History Month program.  As a child, Deng was abducted from his village and forced to serve as a slave in northern Sudan.  Now a U.S. citizen, Deng speaks around the country as an associate of the American Anti-Slavery Group. In March 2006, Deng launched the Sudan Freedom Walk, a 300-mile walk between New York City and Washington, D.C., to call attention to slavery and genocide in Sudan.  Deng has criticized the United Nations for not doing more to end slavery and genocide in his home country and has testified before the U.N. Human Rights Commission. 

Contact:  Cheryl V. Walker, or 336-758-5237.

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