School receives $2 million for scholarships

by C. Mark Batten
, Office of Communications

Living Compassionately: A Model for Generations to Come

The Wake Forest University School of Divinity has a received a $2 million gift from Jeanette Wallace Hyde, a life trustee who served as a U.S. Ambassador, to support student scholarships and financial aid. It is the largest commitment to scholarships by an individual in the School of Divinity’s history.

“The School of Divinity is a place that unites personal faith with leadership,” said Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch. “We celebrate a truly historic gift from a remarkable individual who has been a steadfast supporter of Wake Forest and the School of Divinity.”

From 1994 to 1997, Hyde served as the U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and areas of the West Indies. She has served on the Boards of Directors for several organizations, including the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute and International Trade Commission. She has also received several civilian awards for her legacy in working for justice from the United States Coast Guard, Department of Defense, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Hyde, originally from Hamptonville, N.C., credits her home congregation of Flat Rock Baptist Church and her father for instilling in her a strong commitment to the church.

“I love Wake Forest University and am very proud of its accomplishments,” said Hyde, a longtime advocate of the University. “The Divinity School is preparing students for lives of service and I am pleased by the good work they are doing.”

Hyde served on the Board of Trustees for 12 years and was elected a Life Trustee in 2008. In addition to her gift to the School of Divinity, she has established other scholarships at the University, including the Jeanette Wallace Hyde Scholarship Fund for undergraduates established in 1986.

“Her investment in the education of young people has provided meaningful assistance for many students,” Hatch said.

Hyde’s gift makes it possible for more young people to follow her example by leading lives of purpose, said School of Divinity Dean Gail R. O’Day.  “She is ever vigilant for the care of the underserved, calling all of us to be our better selves, to live not for ourselves alone, but to share the gifts we have received for the betterment of the whole society.”

Rachel Revelle, first year School of Divinity student named the first Jeanette W. Hyde Scholar, expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to pursue graduate theological studies at the School of Divinity. “My biggest thanks is for the ministry that Ambassador Hyde has provided by making space for me to be here,” Revelle said. “Each class is invigorating, each conversation with faculty or fellow student enriching, and the topics of study are developing in a translucent web that extends with each successive day.”

Rachel, who is from Murfreesboro, NC, says her passion is centered in the theological frameworks for community engagement and relationship building between various layers of society. “We are to be agents in the church and world, taking action that leads to reaction and transformation.” Thanking Hyde, Revelle said, “I’m sure you also had this in mind in wanting to cultivate a religious leader, based on your own commitment to leadership in the public sphere.”


Gail R. O’Day, Dean of the School of Divinity, Jeanette Wallace Hyde, and Rachel Revelle (MDiv ’16)


Categories: Advancement, News