Remembering Lu Leake

'She was a trailblazer. We stand on her shoulders.'

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Lula M. (Lu) Leake, associate vice president for academic affairs emerita, died April 13 in Winston-Salem. Leake joined Wake Forest as dean of women in 1964. Before retiring in 1997, she held several other positions at the University including assistant vice president for planning and dean of the summer school. In 1996 she received the Medallion of Merit, the University’s highest award. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 18 in Wait Chapel, where visitation with the family will follow. Many of our Facebook followers shared their memories of Leake:

Bonnie McCarson: “She was at Meredith before Wake Forest. I remember her from my years there.”

Celia Hooper: “I got to spoof her in a 1970 dorm skit … because I had “the glasses.” She was in loco parentis when none of us wanted that. But what a WFU treasure.”

Linda Carter Brinson: “I was the Old Gold & Black crusader campaigning in print against her rules for coeds. Her office was in the opposite wing of Reynolda Hall from ours, and I was up and down those halls a lot. I’m sure she found me trying at times. In the spring of senior year, she invited me and a few others to her apartment for dinner. She was a lovely, wise, visionary lady.”

Linda Keiner: “She lived next door to me in Stringfield Dorm at Meredith my freshman year. That was 1958 and she was an assistant dean of something.”

Anna Caldwell Edwards: “ I remember her helping me pick classes my first two years. Neat lady!”


Lu Leake, former dean of women, kept a volume of Emily Post's "Etiquette" on her desk.

Frank Johnson: “I got to know her my senior year. I liked her. We talked about a lot of things. The friendship lasted. RIP”

Bob Mills: “Like a lot of my male friends when I was a student, I had a very wrong impression about Lu that was based on all the things she wanted to keep college boys from doing. Once we became colleagues, I understood what a wise and modern woman she was. I will miss my friend.”

Ronda Bryant: “I remember her fondly!!!”

Laura Thomson Hemphill: “She was a friend long ago. So sorry she is gone.”

Linda M. Bridges: “She was a trail blazer. We stand on her shoulders. Thank you, Dean Leake.”

Tamara Smith-Williams: “She was a special lady.”

Lisa De Maio Brewer: “Many memories of this independent trailblazer. Her niece was my freshman year roommate.”

Ruth Smith: “What wonderful lady I loved getting to know Lou when I came to Wake.”

Dana Key Hutchens: “What a great lady!! She opened many doors for women at WFU and I was honored to be able to call her friend.”

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