A group of Wake Forest University Trustees and their spouses gathered over dinner on June 22, 2017, on the University campus to discuss leadership and character.

We recognized that demonstrating character “is like breathing air” for some, though it takes many forms. Stories about transcending suffering to help others, giving of oneself despite limited resources, and rallying a community behind a common cause filled our table with awe and inspiration. Who could have imagined that two of us would lift up the same woman, whose faith provided her and her husband the assurance to “drink fully” from life’s cup despite incredible odds for their new baby?

Naturally our conversation about overcoming adversity led to a discussion about whether character can be taught. We explored the intersections of virtues and character in a lively exchange.