The End and Start of an Era
My two decades plus at Wake Forest have passed like a mere season or so. There was
always something important to do, some issue crying for our time and attention. I have
given myself across the years mostly to those objects of concern. Our basic need has
been to establish ourselves as a national rather than a regional institution. I believe that
ambition has been largely realized . . . . I urge you to practice this art of community
if your groups are to succeed. That too is a part of this message of Pro Humanitate.
We must grasp to the very ends of our collective reaches. We can—as we already have—
accomplish what seems beyond our reach. Achieving more than we thought possible or
probable has become a Wake Forest metaphor.
Thomas K. Hearn Jr., May 16, 2005;
Charge to the Graduates, Wake Forest University Commencement
he major story of 2004–2005 was the change of the top leader at the University.
Thomas Hearn retired June 30, 2005. His twenty-two year service as President
the longest of any Wake Forest President except Washington Manly Wing-
ate, who served from 1854 to 1879. At a formal retirement dinner for the president
and his wife, Laura, on April 15, Murray Greason, Chair of the Board of Trustees,
announced that the broad green lawn stretching from Wait Chapel to Reynolda Hall
would now be called Thomas K. Hearn Jr. Plaza.
On April 25, the Department of Music presented a Gilbert and Sullivan Gala in
honor of the President. It surprised and pleased him, and featured the Wake Forest
orchestra directed by David Hagy and student performers taught and coached by
Teresa Radomski and Jim Dodding. In another marker event, the University cele-
brated commencement on May 16, announcing that it had met its $600 million capi-
tal campaign goal thirteen months ahead of schedule, thanks in part to a major gift
from the Hearns. The total raised was $617 million at the time of the announcement,