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About Mary

Mary Tribble joined Wake Forest University in 2014 as Senior Advisor for Engagement Strategies where she is responsible for creating meaningful experiences for approximately 70,000 members of the alumni family. Tribble graduated from Wake Forest in 1982 with a degree in Art History and completed her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies in 2019. A fifth generation Wake Forester, Tribble wrote her thesis on the untold story of her great-great-great-great grandmother Sarah (“Sally”) Merriam Wait, wife of Wake Forest’s first president Samuel Wait. She also oversees the Wake Forest Historical Museum at the site of the original campus in Wake Forest, N.C. and is a member of the steering committee of the Slavery, Race and Memory Project, an initiative to reexamine the university’s history with regard to slavery and its legacies. Prior to her return to Wake Forest, Tribble owned an event marketing firm in Charlotte for 25 years and earned national and regional recognition including Business Woman of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year, before helping to plan the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Follow Mary on Twitter and Instagram @marytribble.


“The Waits, Women, and Slavery,” To Stand With and For Humanity: Essays from the Wake Forest University Slavery, Race and Memory Project, ed. Corey Walker (Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University, May 2020)

“Sally Wait: Piety and Courage in the Pursuit of Purpose” American Baptist Quarterly, Volume XXXVII, No. 3, Fall 2017


Honorable Mention, Robert G. Torbet Essay Prize, American Baptist Historical Society, Fall 2017

Scholarly Presentations

“To Stand with and For Humanity: A Public Conversation” Slavery, Race and Memory Project Virtual Panel, Wake Forest University, November 19, 2020

“Pious Ambitions: Sally Wait’s Mission South,” Virtual Conference, Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs, October 9-10, 2020

“Complicity and Complexity: Facing Unbearable Truths in North Carolina, Universities Studying Slavery Webinar Panel, October 1, 2020

“Pious Ambitions: Sally Wait’s Mission South,” Guest Lecture, Introduction to Religion, Wake Forest Dept of Religion, April 20, 2020

“Sally Wait, Slavery, and Wake Forest College,” Guest Lecture, Bio Colonial Architecture, Wake Forest University Art Department, February 4, 2020

“Soon Fades the Flower: The Courtship of Sarah Merriam and Samuel Wait in the Second Great Awakening,” Z. Smith Reynolds Library Lecture Series, Wake Forest University September 14, 2017  For more information, contact archives@wfu.edu.

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Community Presentations

“Sally Wait: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How One Woman Shaped the Founding of Wake Forest, Virtual Homecoming Back to the Classroom Lecture, October 19, 2020

“Sally Wait: North Carolina Bound,” SalemTowne Retirement Community, Winston-Salem, N.C., October 10, 2019

“Who Do You Think You Are: Researching Family History,” Wake Women’s Weekend, Wake Forest University, March 1, 2019

“Sally Wait: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How One Woman Shaped the Founding of Wake Forest, Wake Forest Alumni Community, Nashville, TN, January 23, 2019

“Books, Bonnets, and Balls: Mrs. Wait Goes to Washington,” SalemTowne Retirement Community, Winston-Salem, NC, September 19, 2018

“Sally Wait: Piety and Purpose in the Pursuit of Passion,” SalemTowne Retirement Community, Winston-Salem, NC, August 16, 2017

“Being Baptist: One 19th Century Woman’s Story,” 60th Anniversary of Knollwood Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC, November 29, 2016