Dr. Paul Ribisl, Professor and former-chair of the Department of Health and Exercise Science has been named the winner of the 2008 Schoonmaker Faculty Prize for Community Service. The concept for this award grew out of the Alumni Council’s study of the needs of the faculty in 1988. The alumni leadership recognized that faculty members at Wake Forest are expected to be outstanding in their teaching, research, and community service. Through this award, the Alumni Council seeks to honor faculty members whose records for community service are exemplary. Community service for this award is defined as service to the greater community, the University community or a combination of the two. In the summer of 1993, the award was named in memory of the late Don Schoonmaker ’60, Professor of Politics and the 1993 recipient of the Faculty Prize for Community Service.
Dr. Ribisl began his career at Wake Forest in 1973 and is currently the Charles E. Taylor Professor of Health and Exercise Science. Dr. Ribisl is among an elite group of University faculty members who have exhibited an outstanding level of service both to Wake Forest and the surrounding community.
Dr. Ribisl has repeatedly given unselfishly to serve Wake Forest and the surrounding community as evidenced by his willingness to serve on numerous university committees. These include chairing The Committee on Nominations, chairing The College Curriculum Committee numerous times, and serving on The Committee on Capital Planning. In addition, Dr. Ribisl has served on selection committees for past Provosts and Head Football Coaches. He has represented the Wake Forest College on the University Senate twice, has served as Coordinator for the Arts Council Campaign and chaired the Review Committee for the Department of Sociology.
In 2006, Dr. Ribisl chaired the University’s most successful United Way Campaign. Thanks to Dr. Ribisl’s leadership, the University raised $225,000 and reversed a downward slide in giving at Wake Forest since the previous high of $206,000 in 2001. In addition to serving as Chair of the United Way campaign, Dr. Ribisl also served on the University Strategic Planning Council and the College Strategic Planning Committee to develop the current strategic plan for the University and College.
Dr. Ribisl’s service on the University and College planning committees places him in a unique position among other faculty on this campus. He is the only faculty member to have served on three University strategic planning committees. One of the most important and significant contributions that Dr. Ribisl has made to the Wake Forest community has been his service as Vice-Chair of the Plan for the Class of 2000 Committee. As Vice-Chair, Dr. Ribisl was instrumental in the development and implementation of this plan. The Plan for the Class of 2000 outlined the academic goals for the University as it entered into the new millennium. This comprehensive Academic Plan now serves as the blueprint for undergraduate education at Wake Forest.
In addition to his service to the Wake Forest community, Dr. Ribisl has served Winston-Salem and the surrounding communities. He was instrumental in the planning and development of the Wake Forest University Cardiac Rehabilitation Program which is a service-based program that has touched the lives of over 4,000 cardiac patients who live in Winston-Salem and the surrounding communities. Specifically, in 1975, Dr. Ribisl, in conjunction with colleagues from the medical school, obtained a seed grant for the development of a model cardiac rehabilitation program from the North Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. The effect that this program has had on the health and well being of the surrounding community is astounding. Other service to the Winston-Salem community includes service as Past President of the Forsyth County Heart Association and Chair of the Associated Photographers National Photo Exhibition.
During his 34 years of service to Wake Forest and the surrounding communities, Dr. Paul Ribisl has touched the lives of many on this campus and the neighboring community and has been instrumental in shaping the future of this great University. For this, we say thank you and offer a hearty congratulations.