A group of Wake Foresters gathered over dinner at the Winston-Salem home of alumni on October 5, 2017, to discuss leadership and character.

As our conversation about what signifies character unfolded, one phrase members of our group repeated at least nine times was “doing the right thing.” Another thread woven throughout our group’s discussion was that character is learned from those around you – often family members, but also friends and mentors.

We shared snapshots of character and leadership through stories of fathers, grandparents, wives, friends, ministers and presidents. We agreed that character is doing the right thing, regardless of praise and often at a sacrifice. We discussed the idea of “resumé” virtues versus “eulogy” virtues. We also spent some time thoughtfully considering a few Wake Forest heroes who have led lives of character: Porter Byrum, Chris Paul and Coach Tom Walter.

When asked what advice our group might give current Wake Forest students, there was enthusiastic agreement around the table that students should be encouraged to get involved, savor the time, build relationships with all types of people and “live fearlessly in pursuit of yourself.”