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Stories this week at WFU

By Jacob McConnico
336.758.5237
May 3, 2006

MEDIA INFO FOR MARK WARNER'S COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS — Members of the media are invited to cover Wake Forest University's commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. May 15, featuring former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner as speaker. Information about media arrangements will be distributed this week. Wake Forest News Service-issued parking passes and media credentials will be required to enter campus the day of the event. To request parking passes for your news staff, contact the News Service as soon as possible.

Contact: Jake McConnico, mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

GRADUATE CARRIES ON WAKE FOREST FAMILY TRADITION — Being one of more than eight people in his family to attend Wake Forest, Chris Nilan, a finance major from Raleigh, has come to appreciate history and tradition a little more during his four years at the university. On his mother's side of the family, Nilan has a great-great-great-great-grandfather who taught at Wake Forest, a great-great-great-grandfather who was a member of the class of 1867, a great-great-grandfather who was a member of the class of 1887, a great-grandfather who was a member of the class of 1912, a great-uncle who was a member of the class of 1942, and at least two cousins who attended Wake Forest. Nilan's grandfather, Frank Hancock Pruette, a member of the class of 1947, attended Wake Forest and left to serve in the military during World War II. Pruette held on to his father's Wake Forest class ring from 1912 and presented it to Nilan as a gift this past Christmas. Pruette and several of Nilan's family members plan to attend graduation May 15. Nilan will be working in investment banking for Bank of America in Charlotte after graduation.

Contact: Jake McConnico, mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

MBA STUDENT TAKES VOLUNTEER FOCUS INTO CORPORATE WORLD — Dan McCabe, a degree candidate in the Babcock Graduate School of Management from Miami, Fla., became an MBA student after working for almost five years as executive director of Break Away: The Alternative Break Connection Inc. Break Away, a small, national nonprofit organization, focused on training college students to become lifelong active citizens, uses spring break volunteer projects or "alternative breaks" to stress the importance of community involvement to students. While a student at Wake Forest, McCabe has created a technology tutoring project for students at Mineral Springs Elementary School, organized a committee in the Babcock School to respond to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, coordinated a community plunge project that attracted 56 students and staff for a half-day volunteer opportunity that benefited six different agencies and participated in or organized several other volunteer opportunities. McCabe will work for Home Depot in its Atlanta headquarters after graduation. He says one of his primary focuses is to bridge the divide between the for-profit and the not-for-profit sectors. "I want to explore the feasibility of more strategic corporate social responsibility initiatives and to understand how they play a role in the sustainability of firms and the progress of social change," McCabe said. He is launching an alternative break program for MBA students and faculty that takes them to do pro bono consulting with community businesses in underprivileged areas. He plans to lead a team of nine faculty and students on an 11-day trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, this month to consult with two different communities trying to start or improve businesses — a women's weaving cooperative in Teotitlán and a restaurant in Oaxaca City. Consulting will include the development of marketing plans, export strategies and business plans. He said he hopes to continue building the pro bono consulting program for years to come.

Contact: Jake McConnico, mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

SENIORS WILL KEEP MAGIC ALIVE AFTER COMMENCEMENT — Theatre majors Matt Gutschick and Ben Whiting, who founded MagicMouth Productions, a nonprofit, educational theatre company they created while students at Wake Forest, will be able to devote themselves to further developing their company without having to worry about supporting themselves after graduation thanks to the university's Fifth Year Student Institute in Entrepreneurship. Offered by Wake Forest's Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts, the program allows graduating seniors to remain at the university for an extra year, during which they continue to develop the ventures they began as undergraduates with assistance and resources from the Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts. "This will allow us to work on MagicMouth full time while taking business classes to learn how to manage our venture more effectively," Gutschick said. "We will be creating our second show, strengthening our education programs with the development of workshops featuring magic and acting, and pursuing contract bookings for 'Awakening,'" Gutschick said. Gutshick is from Barrington, Ill., and Whiting is from Eatonton, Ga. Their first show, "Awakening," an original performance incorporating magic, illusion and drama, debuted in February. It was the first student-produced performance to be held in Wake Forest's MainStage Theatre.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

POLITICAL SCIENCE MAJOR PLANS TO WORK FOR HIMSELF — While many graduating college seniors will begin careers this summer working for long established corporations, Scott Hurff, a senior at Wake Forest, said he and some fellow graduating seniors will work full time for themselves running Groupvine, an Internet campus organization service they co-founded and launched this year. Hurff, a political science major and chairman of Wake Forest's College Republicans, said he and classmates Josh Hemphill and Charles Beck came up with the idea for Groupvine after experiencing the frustrations of running a campus group. "People abuse e-mail lists, there's too much paperwork to fill out, meetings rarely get people on the same page and important files get lost," said Hurff, who is originally from Dublin, Ohio. According to Groupvine's Web site, http://www.thegroupvine.com, the service can assign to-do lists, keep track of events, archive important documents, store messages and collaborate with other campus groups. So far, the College Republican Federation of Virginia and a newspaper at the University of Pennsylvania have purchased Groupvine programs. Hurff is optimistic about the venture's future as he and his Groupvine colleagues are in the process of discussing opportunities with investors. Hurff, Hemphill and Beck launched Groupvine with help from the university's Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

RHODES, MARSHALL SCHOLARS PREPARE FOR GRADUATE STUDIES IN ENGLAND — Wake Forest seniors Lakshmi Krishnan and Blake Brandes will start their graduate studies in England next fall as a Rhodes Scholar and a Marshall Scholar, respectively. Krishnan, a senior from Sugar Land, Texas, is majoring in English and German at Wake Forest. She plans on pursuing a master's degree in English literature at Oxford University. The tenth Wake Forest student to be named a Rhodes Scholar, Krishnan said her ultimate goal is to go to medical school after completing her studies at Oxford. While at Wake Forest, Krishnan was president of the university's chapter of Amnesty International, as well as an intern with the nonprofit organization, Physicians for Human Rights. Brandes, a senior from Hickory majoring in English and French, will study at the University of Kent where he will specialize in post-colonial studies. Brandes has traveled abroad to study various topics related to Arabic language and culture. A hip-hop performer whose lyrics address social issues, he founded the Hip-Hop Culture Club at Wake Forest, and runs his own DJ services and production company. He said he hopes to use the Marshall Scholarship to address social and political issues related to urban youth, specifically in regards to the connections between hip-hop, youth culture and political and social identity. Brandes is the first Wake Forest student to win a Marshall Scholarship since 2001, and the third Marshall Scholarship winner in university history.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

LAW STUDENT EARNS DEGREE DESPITE YEAR OF ACTIVE DUTY — When Mike Soto graduates, he will not only take away a law degree but also the confidence that he can overcome any challenge. A former staff sergeant in the Army Reserve, whose term of service ended in 2005, Soto was called to active duty the second semester of his first year at law school and served in Operation Enduring Freedom for one year. He said he originally joined the Army to pay for his education and re-enlisted because of a sense of duty. "I think everyone should give back to their country, whether it's in their community, through the military or some other way," he said. Returning to law school after a year's absence was extremely difficult for the 32-year-old. He said he could barely remember what legal writing was, and his confidence was shaken. Fortunately, he had been assigned to the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAGC) office at Ft. Eustis, Va. He said the experience of working with real attorneys, along with the encouragement of his wife, friends and legal writing professor Christine Coughlin, is what saw him through. While at Wake Forest, Soto started the Hispanic/Latino Law Student Organization and was recognized for helping an elderly woman at the Elder Law Clinic recover more than $39,000 she had lost in a sales scam. He will join the law firm Hedrick, Eatman, Gardner and Kincheloe in Charlotte as a worker's compensation and civil defense attorney.

Contact: Jake McConnico, mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

MORE SENIOR STORIES — Emily Leonhardt, a computer science and English major from Cincinnati, has been an active volunteer while studying at Wake Forest. She is co-chair of the university's Volunteer Service Corps and was in charge of the "Lighting of the Quad" event during the holidays. Leonhardt was named a 2005 national Barry M. Goldwater scholar. She plans to work in the Information Risk Management division of the company KPMG in Charlotte after graduation. Leonhardt's classmate, Jennifer Barker, a political science and Spanish major from Charleston, W.Va., has studied in Chile and Spain during her four years at Wake Forest. She has an interest in public policy and has served the local community by volunteering with Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Winston-Salem Voting Rights Coalition. Barker, a Guy T. Carswell Scholarship recipient at Wake Forest, plans to attend law school at William and Mary. Anis Ragland, an economics major who is also earning a minor in Japanese, grew up around the world, spending a large portion of his youth in South Africa. Since coming to Wake Forest, Ragland has participated in a summer language program at Waseda University in Tokyo and served as a student leader for Mission of Good Hope, a program that takes college students to Western Cape, South Africa to provide computer literacy courses to economically underprivileged black South Africans to teach marketable job skills. Ragland has not finalized his post-graduation plans, but says he is considering teaching English in Japan, joining the Peace Corp or trying to find a public policy internship. In addition to these exceptional graduates, others of interest include D. J. Champlin of Richmond, Va., a business major and religion minor who will work at the Embassy Suites at the Twin City Quarter in Winston-Salem; Jeannetta Craigwell-Graham of Goldsboro, a political science and Eastern Asian languages minor who plans to attend Boston University School of Law to study international law; and Kelly McManus of Greenville, N.C., who will be a Teach for America volunteer. These students will be among the more than 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students receiving diplomas during this year's commencement.

Contact: Jake McConnico, mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

END OF SPRING SEMESTER — Classes ended April 26 and final exams for the spring 2006 semester will be completed May 4.


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