Scholarships Provide a Path to Leadership

Thanks to six donors, Wake Forest's Leadership & Character program welcomed its inaugural class of scholars

Fall 2019


Six donors have endowed scholarships for first-year students in the inaugural class of Leadership and Character Scholars.

The students received full scholarships and will have opportunities for leadership and character development during the next four years, including personal mentoring, workshops and discussion groups and summer stipends to pursue service, internships and research. The University hopes to eventually enroll 40 Leadership and Character Scholars, 10 in each class. The scholarships are part of the University’s Program for Leadership and Character.

“Our society is facing a crisis of leadership,” says President Nathan O. Hatch. “Ultimately, this crisis of leadership reflects a crisis of character.”

“One of my highest priorities is making Wake Forest a place that develops students into leaders of character.”

Steve Jenkins (P ’21) and Carole Jenkins (P ’21), members of the Wake Forest Parents’ Council, were some of the earliest supporters of the Leadership and Character program and gave $1.5 million to endow a scholarship. Their youngest son, Stephen, is a junior studying in the Wake Washington program this fall.

The Jenkinses say they were impressed with the vision and commitment of Hatch and Michael Lamb to integrate character into leadership development. Lamb is director of the Program for Leadership and Character and an assistant professor of politics, ethics and interdisciplinary humanities.

Wake Forest is well-suited to lead on character and leadership because of the University’s culture and commitment to educating the whole person, the Jenkinses say. “These scholarships will give young men and women an opportunity to come to Wake Forest and be exposed to a culture and a group of people that will meaningfully change their life,” Steve Jenkins says. “How do we deliver a message to them about the importance of character?”

Steve Jenkins is chairman of Pharmaceutical Associates, a second-generation family business started by his father and based in Tampa, Florida. He sees the need to prepare young people to lead with ethical values in today’s often divisive culture.

“I think a lot of what we see in business today is management can lose sight of important core values,” he says. “We offer many educational opportunities that focus on returns and asset value. We are excited to support an initiative with an approach to management with a focus on character and interpersonal relationships. If we are able to plant these seeds early — for character, civility, humility, a duty for service to others — we will more fully prepare our future leaders for a challenging world.”

Leading the Way

The following donors have endowed Leadership and Character Scholarships:
  • First Citizens Bank
  • Darren Alcus (P ’21) and Mary Pat Alcus (P ’21), Potomac, Maryland
  • Tom Irwin (’68), Boerne, Texas (three scholarships)
  • Steve Jenkins (P ’21) and Carole Jenkins (P ’21), Tampa, Florida
  • Mike Smith (’89, P ’21) and Mary Dee Andrews Smith (’93, P ’21), Raleigh
For more information on the Leadership and Character Scholars, visit

Staff Favorites

Weaving Hope

by Kelly Greene ('91)

Read More

Exit Smiling

by Maria Henson ('82)

Read More

A Writing Promise

by Katherine Laws Waters ('20)

Read More

Restoring the Coastline

by Kelly Greene ('91)

Read More