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'Hotel Rwanda' hero to deliver WFU convocation address, university to honor Christman

February 22, 2007

Paul Rusesabagina, whose story is chronicled in the film “Hotel Rwanda,” will deliver the Founders’ Day Convocation address at Wake Forest University at 11 a.m. Feb. 22 in the university’s Wait Chapel. 

The event is free and open to the public and is part of the university’s “Voices of Our Time” speaker series, which brings distinguished speakers to campus to discuss issues relevant to current events.  Rusesabagina’s address is titled, “Hotel Rwanda:  A Lesson Yet to Be Learned.”   

During the ceremony, Edgar D. “Ed” Christman will receive the Medallion of Merit, Wake Forest’s highest award for service to the university. 

Christman has had a strong affiliation with the university for more than 50 years.  He served as the university’s chaplain from 1969 until he retired in 2003 and was assistant chaplain at Wake Forest from 1956 to 1969.  A student at the university’s original campus in Wake Forest, N.C., Christman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the university in 1950 and a law degree in 1953. 

Christman also received the Bachelor of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Master of Sacred Theology degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Teaching and research awards will be presented to faculty during convocation.  They include the Kulynych Family Omicron Delta Kappa Award, the Reid-Doyle Prize for Excellence in Teaching, the Award for Excellence in Research, the Kienzle Teaching Award, the Cowan Faculty Research Prize and the Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award. 

Wake Forest senior Michelle Sikes will be recognized.  Sikes, captain of the women's track and cross country teams at Wake Forest, was recently named a 2007 Rhodes Scholar.  New members of the Wake Forest chapters of Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa, both national honor societies, will be recognized during the ceremony as well.  

During a private luncheon held after the convocation ceremony, 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, not awarded by Wake Forest, honors those who have demonstrated a commitment to the pursuit of human rights.  Past recipients include Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa.

Rusesabagina’s lecture is also part of “For Whose Humanity?,” a film and speaker series funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment that features renowned speakers whose work has raised questions regarding how we serve humanity.  The film “Hotel Rwanda” was shown at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 in Pugh Auditorium.

Press Contacts:

Maggie Barrett
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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