Burr to deliver WFU convocation address, university to honor Hearn and Worrell

By Maggie Barrett
February 3, 2006

Sen. Richard Burr, a graduate of Wake Forest University, will deliver the Founders' Day Convocation address at Wake Forest at 11 a.m. Feb. 21 in the university's Wait Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Sen. Richard Burr

Burr served five terms representing the 5th Congressional District of North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

During the ceremony, Wake Forest will present the Medallion of Merit, its highest award for service to the university. This year, the award will go to Thomas K. Hearn Jr., Wake Forest president emeritus, and T. Eugene Worrell, Wake Forest alumnus and benefactor.

Hearn began his 22-year tenure as Wake Forest's 12th president in 1983. Regarded a visionary in higher education, Hearn is credited with helping to elevate Wake Forest from a highly-regarded regional university to one of the top 30 national universities in the United States. Hearn retired from office on June 30, 2005. The Wake Forest Board of Trustees honored him by changing the name of University Plaza, the lawn that stretches from Wait Chapel to Reynolda Hall, to Thomas K. Hearn Jr. Plaza.

Hearn came to Wake Forest from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he had been a senior vice president and a philosophy professor. Previously, he had been a philosophy professor at the College of William and Mary. He earned a bachelor's degree in English and philosophy from Birmingham-Southern College, a bachelor of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate in philosophy from Vanderbilt University.

A native of Alabama, Hearn lives in Winston-Salem with his wife, Laura.

Worrell, a 1940 graduate of Wake Forest, has made a number of gifts to the university. The university named the Worrell Professional Center for Law and Management and Worrell House, a residential study center in London for Wake Forest students, in his honor. The Worrell Professorship of Anglo-American Studies is also named for him.

Worrell is a life trustee at the university. He devoted much of his career to developing a chain of media outlets, including newspapers, and radio and television stations.

He lives in Charlottesville, Va., with his wife, Anne.

Other faculty awards, including university awards for teaching and research, will also be presented to faculty during convocation. Rhodes Scholar Lakshmi Krishnan and Marshall Scholarship recipient Blake Brandes will also be recognized during the ceremony.

Founders' Day Convocation is held annually in the spring semester and is dedicated to honoring the university's early founders, including Wake Forest's first president, Samuel Wait.