michael lamb profile
Dr. Michael Lamb
Kenneth Townsend, J.D.

Dear friends,

In the midst of trying times, St. Augustine emphasized the importance of living our values:

“Bad times, hard times––this is what people keep saying; but let us live well, and times shall be good. We are the times; such as we are, such are the times.”

As we inhabit our own difficult times, Augustine’s words are a call to character and a reminder of the need to inspire emerging leaders to be the times they hope to bring into being. This spirit animates the Program for Leadership and Character as we seek to inspire, educate, and empower leaders of character to serve humanity at Wake Forest and beyond. 

The last year has been a period of major transformation for our Program. In addition to sustaining and enhancing our work at Wake Forest, our Program has expanded in two key areas.

First, our work in the professional schools, especially in Law and Medicine, has increased significantly. Thanks to a grant from the Kern Family Foundation, we are partnering with faculty to design new courses and curricula to integrate character; transforming co-curricular programming through leadership trainings, cohort programs, and the launch of a new Center for Personal and Professional Development in the School of Medicine; and advancing public engagement by convening interested scholars and professionals and generating accessible and timely scholarship. These efforts are critical to equipping wise and trustworthy professionals to restore our social fabric and advance the common good

Second, we have launched the Educating Character Initiative to create a national network of colleges and universities focused on educating character. Through the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc., we will be hosting conferences and convenings, producing resources and research, and offering $15 million in grants to advance character education in diverse institutional contexts. This initiative will catalyze a broader community of character in higher education and enable us to live out our motto of Pro Humanitate

Even amidst such significant progress, we are reminded of urgent opportunities and challenges. Declining levels of social trust in institutions, debates about the role and value of higher education, and ongoing mental health crises among many young adults make efforts to educate character all the more important. We are excited about how our work at Wake Forest and beyond will enable us to serve our students and society in these demanding times. 

Thank you for supporting this urgent work and helping us to make our times even better. 


Michael Lamb                                               

Executive Director of the Program for Leadership and Character

Kenneth Townsend

Executive Director of Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools