Faces of Courage

Faces of Courage

Planning Committee

Below is a list of the members of the Faces of Courage planning committee. They each shared a quote that represents their personal commitment to diversity and inclusion.


Barbee Myers Oakes, Ph.D. | Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion

Barbee Myers Oakes“As the architect of the university’s strategy to ensure diversity and inclusive excellence remain central to the WF mission; I believe we will maintain our relevance only if we are intentional in our efforts to weave a global mindset into the very fabric of our institutional culture”

J. Matthew Williams | Assistant Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Matt Williams“Love is the guide for my life – that is love for humanity and myself. Because of this, I am able to welcome perspectives and life experiences different from my own and truly enrich my world. This is a gift I want others to enjoy.”

Committee Members

Mary Pugel | Chief of Staff, Office of the President

Mary Pugel“In the end, a culture which seeks to understand and accept our differences only enhances and enriches our common experience as
human beings.”

Celina Alexander | Program Coordinator, Office of Multicultural Affairs

Celina Alexander
“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”  — Pablo Casals

Kathy Arnett | Director, Student Union

Kathy Arnett
“To build a stronger community, we must all sit at the same table.”

Patricia Boone | Assistant Director, Alumni Programs

Pat Boone
“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” — Maya Angelou

James O’Connell | Student Trustee, Wake Forest University

Jim O'Connell
“We cannot let the world happen to us. Instead, we must happen to the world. Through hard work and dedication, we can realize the dream of a truly inclusive community.”

Trè Easton | Student Body President, Wake Forest University

Tre Easton
“A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, avoid trouble.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Shayla Herndon-Edmunds | Manager of Diversity Education; Office of Diversity and Inclusion/Human Resources

Shayla Herndon-Edmunds“At the core of my commitment to diversity and inclusion is my belief that we are all a part of the same family — humanity. As in any family, our differences serve as unique depictions of the beauty, strength, and complexity of the human race to which we ALL belong.  It is my desire and responsibility to live and teach this truth.”

Derek Hicks | Luce Diversity Fellow & Faculty | Wake Forest Divinity School

Derek Hicks
“At its best, I liken diversity and inclusion to a good pot of gumbo — a complex brew of flavors oddly coming together to form an exquisite experience of taste.”

Steve Hirst | Director, Student Leadership and Organizations

Steve Hirst“I believe part of what makes a campus community so interesting and exciting to our students is the diversity of interests and cultures. As student development practitioners, we are committed to inspiring students to engage with people and ideas that challenge preconceived notions and broaden perspective.”

Norma M. Isakow | Associate Director, Institute for Public Engagement

Norma M. Isakow
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” — Nelson Mandela

Sonia Kuguru | Student Leader, Wake Forest University

Sonia Kuguru“Diversity here at Wake Forest is of extreme importance because it fosters unity, the education of compassion and allows the individual to develop themselves in all aspects of their lives – socially, spiritually and intellectually. This creates a society of well informed and empathetic world leaders.”

Dwight Lewis | Associate Athletic Director, Wake Forest Athletics

Dwight Lewis
“I believe that every mind should have the opportunity to fully participate and contribute to society.”

Matthew Simari | former Student Trustee, Wake Forest University *

Matthew Simari“My experience at Wake Forest largely shaped my commitment to diversity. Wake Forest demonstrated that in celebrating our diversities, greater learning, maturity, and friendships can take form for every member of the community. The growth I witnessed not only within myself but others has made me committed to diversity and inclusion for years to come.”

Shelley Sizemore | Assistant Director, Campus Life and Service

Shelley Sizemore
“I know there is strength in the differences between us; I know there is comfort where we overlap.” — Ani Difranco

Cheryl Walker | Senior Public Relations Specialist, Wake Forest Communications and External Relations

Cheryl Walker
“By seeking to understand different viewpoints and to connect rather than divide, we make Wake Forest and the world a better place.”

Hubert Womack | Associate Librarian, Instruction and Outreach

Hu Womack“Creating a community that allows everyone to be their true selves without fear of retaliation or judgment creates a stronger, more vibrant, community for us all. By embracing our differences and recognizing our similarities we approach our true potential. Working together, we accomplish far more than the sum of our individual efforts.”

* NOTE: Simari, a former Student Trustee, served on the committee during Spring 2012. Upon his graduation in May 2012, he is no longer is a member.