The Plan, the Year of the Arts,
Prestige, Tragedy, and the Gates
In talking about the tragedy of student and other deaths during the year: “It has been a
year of lamentation. What did we learn that we must recall even on this day when the
door of hope is open wide? These truths, often shielded from the young, are at all times
for all people. Life is infinitely precious, and our grasp on it is but frail. Death is ever
present and powerful. Love is strong, and the grief we saw and felt is testimony to the
intensity of the love lost. Life does not mete out justice according to merit. Life’s blessings
are not given or gotten according to our just desserts.
Thomas K. Hearn Jr., May 19, 1997;
Charge to the Graduates, Wake Forest University Commencement
he Plan for the Class of 2000 began implementation in 1996–1997 with the
first class that would graduate under it. It was a huge, multidimensional
but the most publicized part was the technology initiative.
All first-year students were given an IBM ThinkPad 365XD laptop computer, and the
infrastructure to support computer-aided education was in place.
In addition, first-year seminars (FYS) were now basic requirements for gradu-
ation. The sixty-three classes covering fifty-eight topics, with about fifteen students
in each, were scheduled for the fall and spring. President Hearn and Sam Gladding
(President’s Office) co-taught Leadership in American Life, designed to provide
insights into practical leadership and to instill the ideal of ethical leadership. President
Hearn wanted to demonstrate his personal interest in first-year seminars and instruc-
tional technology: “What better way than to teach the former using the latter?” he
said, when asked why he was co-teaching the course. Provost David G. Brown taught
The Economist’s Way of Thinking completely without paper, relying on LotusNotes
groupware for class discussions and to review individual and team student writings.