Over the course of the next several months, members of the Board of Directors’ Communications Committee will be contributing original columns, where they share updates on various Board of Directors and Deacon Club happenings. Be sure to read this special section each month to stay in the know with all of the latest news.
My love of Wake Forest Athletics began when my high school sweetheart, Homer Brookshire, became a scholarship athlete on the football team in the fall of 1964. I had actually planned to attend Wake Forest myself, but at the last minute, the Reynolds Foundation created the Katherine Smith Reynolds scholarships at UNC-Greensboro, and my parents made sure I did not turn down that opportunity when it was offered! Since I was attending a university that was close by with many women that wanted to date Wake Forest students, I was the source of many blind dates for Homer’s friends, teammates and fraternity brothers.
My high school sweetheart soon became my college fiancée and we were married in the summer before Homer’s senior year, after my graduation. That year we lived on Student Drive (now a parking lot!) just off Polo Road, on the edge of campus. I taught math at the “new” Mt. Tabor High School and in the evenings, as a part-time job, I tutored Wake Forest student-athletes. On Sunday mornings during football season, I went in very early to “key punch” the football scouting reports that the assistant coaches had prepared from their late night film exchanges with other schools (they still spooled through actual film in those days). After football season was over, we attended every home basketball game; I can still remember grading papers during the freshman game, as you had to be there early to get a good seat in the student section! After Homer’s graduation, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps for almost seven years, including time in Vietnam and Okinawa. We then began our journey through corporate America with stops in the Washington, D.C. area, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, various locations in North Carolina and, finally, Texas.
Homer always felt that he should pay back his scholarship and help other student-athletes, so we made regular contributions to the Deacon Club. In addition, we always kept season tickets for football, although we often attended only one or two games each year, due to the distance. When the new Deacon Tower, now McCreary Tower, first opened, we became joint-suite holders with other Wake Forest friends who had played football with Homer or been in his fraternity. Along the way, we also became supporters of the Wake Forest golf programs. After we retired to the Winston-Salem area in 2010, in addition to football, we could once again attend basketball, baseball and other events such as golf tournaments for both the men’s and women’s teams, including the annual ACC championship rounds. Homer served on the Deacon Club Board of Directors for several years and enjoyed it immensely. In June after his death in early 2016, I was asked to join the Deacon Club Board. I was surprised, but honored!
Serving on the Board of Directors provides you with the opportunity to learn even more about what makes Wake Forest Athletics something we can all admire. We have supporters that are willing to ensure that our student-athletes have the very best facilities, which are a must in today’s fast-paced, technology-enhanced recruiting environment. We know today’s student-athletes have many options. With that said, our facilities are quickly becoming exceptional in all sports; it is easy to see the correlation between excellent facilities, enhanced recruiting and top-tier teams. We have so much to be proud of at Wake Forest – outstanding academics, high standards for coaches and student-athletes, and a desire to develop champions, not only on the field of play, but also for the field of life.
As a member of the Communications Committee, my assignment is to help support the Endowment and Planned Giving effort. The goal of this committee is to fully endow the Athletic Department by 2040. Due to the cost of private education today, this is a lofty goal. However, although there are many ways that Deacon Club members can give to our athletic programs, we want to make sure that our supporters go beyond annual giving and also remember the Deacon Club through planned gifts, either made today to generate income during retirement or through estate planning and will bequests.
Wake Forest may be the smallest school in our conference, but we have exceptional fans that appreciate the wins when they come. It is my privilege to serve on a board that is doing everything it can to ensure that there are more championships in our future.