February 7, 2008
Wake Forest University presented the Medallion of Merit to Winston-Salem lawyer Murray C. Greason Jr. at the university’s annual Founders’ Day Convocation Feb. 7. The Medallion of Merit, Wake Forest’s highest award for service to the university, was one of many honors bestowed during the event recognizing alumni, faculty members, and students for service, teaching, research, scholarship and athletic accomplishments.
President Nathan O. Hatch presented the award to Greason during a late-afternoon ceremony in Wait Chapel that featured an address on the history and development of Wake Forest by Herman E. Eure, professor of biology and associate dean of the undergraduate College. Eure joined the faculty in 1974 shortly after earning his doctorate at Wake Forest.
Greason, a prominent attorney with the law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice, has a lifelong association with Wake Forest. His father coached the men’s basketball team for 23 years, and his mother worked in the office of the dean of the College. They moved the family to Winston-Salem in 1956, when the university relocated from Wake County.
“For him, Wake Forest and home are synonymous,” Hatch said of Greason, “and the service rendered to his alma mater reflects his devotion as a proud son of this university.”
Greason earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Wake Forest in 1959, graduating magna cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa. He earned his law degree from Wake Forest School of Law in 1962, again graduating magna cum laude while maintaining the top class ranking all three years.
After law school, Greason served three years in the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General Corps, attaining the rank of captain. He then entered private practice with Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice, specializing in corporate law and mergers and acquisitions. He was managing partner of the firm from 1987 to 1996. Throughout his career, Greason has been active in the bar at the national, state and local levels. He served as president of the Forsyth County Bar Association in 1986-1987 and received the I. Beverly Lake Public Service Award from the N.C. Bar Association in 2005.
At the local, regional and state levels, Greason has served in leadership roles on numerous boards, including the United Way of Forsyth County, the YMCA of Greater Winston-Salem, the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, the North Carolina Railroad Co. and the Rail Advisory Council of the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Greason’s distinguished record of service to Wake Forest includes membership on its board of trustees from 1991 to the present. He served as vice chair from 1997 to 2002 and as chair from 2003 to 2005, during which he led the search for the university’s 13th president. Greason has also served on the Wake Forest School of Law Board of Visitors, the Wake Forest University Health Sciences Board of Directors, the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Board of Directors and the Wake Forest College Birthplace Society. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994.
Hatch said Greason’s counsel has been invaluable to two administrations and noted that he has inspired others to volunteer their talents and become donors to the university’s priorities.
Several annual teaching and research awards were also presented. Jenny Puckett, instructor in Romance languages,was awarded the Kulynych Family Omicron Delta Kappa Award for Contribution to Student Life. The Reid-Doyle Prize for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Paul Thacker, assistant professor of anthropology. The Award for Excellence in Research was presented to Miles Silman, associate professor of biology.
Two faculty awards went to professors in the Babcock Graduate School of Management. The Kienzle Teaching Award was presented to Ram Baliga, John B. McKinnon Professor of Management, and Sherry Moss, associate professor of organizational studies, was awarded the Cowan Faculty Research Prize. One award went to a member of the Wake Forest School of Law faculty. Robert M. Chesney, associate professor of law, received the Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award.
New student members of the national honor societies Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa were also recognized during the ceremony. Special recognitions paid tribute to Wake Forest’s field hockey team, which reached the NCAA Final Four and placed seven athletes on the National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-Region lists; the football team, which won the Meineke Car Care Bowl Dec. 29; and the men’s soccer team, which won the 2007 NCAA College Cup Dec. 16. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines issued a proclamation declaring Feb. 7 “Wake Forest University Men’s Soccer Team Day” in recognition of the national championship performance.