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Stories this week at Wake Forest University

May 2, 2007

ABSHER AND ABSHER, FATHER AND SON TO GET LAW DEGREES TOGETHER—Alton L. Absher Jr. and Alton L. Absher III , father and son, started at Wake Forest School of Law three years ago and will graduate together May 21.  They are from North Wilkesboro, but have both moved to Winston-Salem.  “It was Dad’s idea,” said Alton Absher III.  He said his father had always wanted to be an attorney.  When he retired early from an information technology job, he started thinking about it more.  After a year, he called up his son and asked him what he thought of the two of them starting law school together.  With a growing family and a job he liked, he first said no.  Then, before long, they had signed up to take the LSAT, applied to Wake Forest law school, been accepted and then enrolled as first-year law students.   The younger Absher plans to work in the area of patent law at Kilpatrick Stockton in Winston-Salem.  His father plans to practice estate law part-time.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker at or 336-758-5237.

GOING TO HOLLYWOOD – Most young people who aspire to careers in film are drawn to the glamour of acting or directing.  But, for Alex Creswick, a graduating Wake Forest senior from Columbia, S.C., it’s the behind-the-scenes and key role of producing that has captivated her.  Creswick is one of 15 students in the country (out of several hundred applicants) who have been accepted into the graduate-level producing program at the prestigious UCLA School of Film in Los Angeles for this coming year.

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


Jonathan Barry, a senior from Tennessee, started a program to help disabled children called HOPE (Helping to Overcome Physical Expectations).  HOPE is a volunteer liaison organization and mentoring program between Wake Forest students and students at The Children’s Center and the Special Children’s School.  More than 170 student volunteers provide weekly one-on-one mentoring for children to promote the academic, social and emotional development of each child.  He also started KidsFest, an annual campus-wide community service event which provides age- and ability-appropriate activities to children with disabilities and their families.  Barry plans to study for a Master of Science in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a Rotary Scholar.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker at or 336-758-5237.



Erika Harris, a Wake Forest senior who developed viral meningocephalitis when she was a junior, has overcome great challenges to graduate with her class on May 21.  She spent weeks in the intensive care unit at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and nearly died.   As her long recovery began, many thought she would not walk again.   Over many months, she gradually recovered. Now, she is healthy and will march in the commencement processional to receive her diploma.   While she was in the ICU, Dr. William Applegate, dean of the Wake Forest School of Medicine, promised her parents they would sit together at commencement to watch their daughters graduate.   Applegate’s daughter will also graduate from Wake Forest this month and the families plan to sit together at the ceremony.

Contact: Cheryl Walker at or 336-758-5237.

RHODES SCHOLAR HEADS TO OXFORD AFTER GRADUATION – Michelle Sikes, captain of the women’s track and cross country teams, is Wake Forest’s latest Rhodes Scholar.  Sikes is the 11th Wake Forest student to be named a Rhodes Scholar since 1986.  Among 32 Americans chosen by the Rhodes Trust to study at England’s Oxford University, she plans to pursue a Master of Science in Global Health Science. At Wake Forest, she is majoring in mathematical economics with a minor in health policy and administration.  At Wake Forest, Sikes holds an athletic scholarship and an academic scholarship, the Carswell scholarship.  “As a runner, my goal is to qualify for the Olympics,” said Sikes, who recently broke ACC records in the 10,000 meter and 5,000 meter runs at the ACC Outdoor Championships.  She has also been named an NCAA Track and Field All-American. “As a student, I want to use the Oxford education as a springboard into a career devoted to solving the health problems within disadvantaged populations.”   She would like to work for the World Health Organization and design public health policy.

Contact: Cheryl Walker at or 336-758-5237.

JOB OUTLOOK SUNNY FOR GRADUATES — William Currin, director of career services, said the number of recruiters coming to campus is up 14 percent this year. “It has been a very good year,” Currin said. “2006 was the best year we’ve had in over a decade and this year is keeping track with last year.” Last year, 96 percent of graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate or professional school six months after graduation, he said. Seniors are getting jobs in every field from public relations to real estate. Among the top five areas are education, financial services, accounting, consulting and general management. About 30 percent of Wake Forest graduates go directly to law school, medical school or other graduate and professional school programs.

Contact: Cheryl Walker at or 336-758-5237.

SENIOR FOUNDS NON-PROFIT FOR LOW-INCOME PREGNANT WOMEN – Laura Bullins, an anthropology major with minors in women’s and gender studies and theatre, researched the Mayan birth practices in Mexico while a student at Wake Forest.  She then organized a non-profit corporation in Winston-Salem called Woman to Woman Hand in Hand, which provides free doula support to low-income women as well as community education and doula training.  The word  “doula” comes from ancient Greek and is now used to refer to someone experienced in childbirth who provides physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.

Contact: Cheryl Walker at or 336-758-5237.

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST DAVID BROOKS TO DELIVER COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS – David Brooks, a columnist for The New York Times and a regular analyst on “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” will deliver Wake Forest’s 165th commencement address and receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at 9 a.m. May 21. Brooks will address Wake Forest’s approximately 1,500 graduates during an outdoor ceremony on Hearn Plaza (the Quad).  The ceremony is not open to the public.  The Wake Forest News Service will be distributing information regarding media arrangements for commencement soon.  Parking passes and media credentials will be required for all members of the media.  To arrange coverage of the event by your organization, contact Cheryl Walker at or 336-758-5237.

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