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Parent to address black experience at Founders' Day Convocation


February 2, 2009

Anthony Parent, professor of history at Wake Forest University, will deliver Wake Forest’s 2009 Founders’ Day Convocation address during a ceremony at 4 p.m. Feb. 26 in Wait Chapel.  The event is free and open to the public.  A public reception will be held afterward in the Scales Fine Arts Center lobby outside the Charlotte & Philip Hanes Art Gallery.

In his talk titled “Weathering Wake, The African American Experience,” Parent will examine black history at Wake Forest since the 1960s.  He will highlight prominent individuals, pivotal moments, major events and social trends as Wake Forest addressed desegregation.  He will also discuss the success of black students and graduates and their contributions to the university. 

Parent joined the Wake Forest faculty in 1989.  He teaches courses on African American history, world civilizations, colonial America and the civil rights movement.  He earned his doctorate and master’s degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and his bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University. 

He is the author of “Foul Means: The Formation of a Slave Society in Virginia, 1660-1740” and the co-author of “Old Dominion, New Commonwealth, A History of Virginia, 1607-2007,” both of which have been adopted as texts in universities and colleges in Virginia and across the nation.  “Foul Means” notes his discovery of the largest slave rebellion in American history 100 years before Nat Turner. In that 1730 rebellion, which he named the Chesapeake Rebellion, more than 300 Africans escaped from Virginia into the Great Dismal Swamp, located between Norfolk, Va. and Elizabeth City, N.C. 

During convocation, the Medallion of Merit, Wake Forest’s highest award for service to the university, will be presented to Dr. Richard H. Dean and Marvin D. Gentry.

Dean is president emeritus of Wake Forest University Health Sciences.  After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Military Institute and a medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia, he began his career as a surgeon and became one of the preeminent vascular surgeons in America.  In 1987, he came to the Wake Forest University School of Medicine as chair of the department of surgery and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center as chief of surgery. 

During his career, he has authored or co-authored more than 300 articles in scientific journals and chapters in medical texts and has edited five textbooks of general and vascular surgery. In 1997 Dean became the University’s senior vice president for health affairs, and in 2001 he became the first president and chief executive officer of Wake Forest University Health Sciences.  During his tenure, the clinical and research missions at the Medical Center grew substantially, and he led an effort that included acquisition of land and expansion of the Piedmont Triad Research Park in Winston-Salem. 

Gentry is the former president, chief executive officer and chair of the board at Fortis Homes, one of the region’s largest home builders.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1957 from Wake Forest and graduated from Columbia University’s Executive Management Program in 1982.  He is a lifetime member of the Wake Forest Board of Trustees, having served on the Health Affairs Committee since 1995 and as its chair since 1997.  Since 1998, he served on the board of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, including several times as chair, and was instrumental in leading efforts to integrate the School of Medicine and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. 

Gentry has also served in numerous volunteer roles in the community, including leadership positions with the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, the Winston-Salem Transportation Committee and the YMCA. Among his many volunteer activities, he co-chaired the capital campaign to build a YMCA facility in King and served on the boards of the Forsyth Technical Community College Foundation and the School of Pastoral Care, now known as the Division of Pastoral Care at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Several annual teaching, research and service awards will also be presented, including the Kulynych Family Omicron Delta Kappa Award, for contribution to student life; 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.

New student members of Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa, both national honor societies, will be recognized during the ceremony, and special recognitions will pay tribute to Wake Forest’s successful fall athletic programs.

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237


Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


Professor Anthony Parent will give the Founder's Day Convocation address at 4 p.m. Feb. 26.
Professor Anthony Parent will give the Founder's Day Convocation address at 4 p.m. Feb. 26.
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Dr. Richard H. Dean will receive Wake Forest's prestigious Medallion of Merit at convocation.
Dr. Richard H. Dean will receive Wake Forest's prestigious Medallion of Merit at convocation.
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