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Wake Forest has long felt like home, a place that always stays with you, to
Deborah Dixon Lambert ('78, P '13) and Gary Lambert ('77, P '13). Watching
their son, Robert ('13) have his own Wake Forest experience reminded Debbie
and Gary of their time at Wake Forest when, much like their son, they felt
the sense of community, developed lifelong friendships, worked alongside
other ambitious and energetic students, and met the love of their life.
They were thrilled when their son recently married his Wake Forest
sweetheart, Shannon Langella Lambert ('13) and look forward to continuing
to watch Robert and Shannon's life-long Wake Forest journey.
Both Debbie and Gary were accounting majors who headed into the work force
and became financial professionals. As a young married couple they
established a pattern of giving back. "We got into the habit of giving
shortly after graduation," remarked Debbie. "We gave a little even when we
didn't have any money." Their philanthropy since has spanned nearly every
area of the University, including restricted gifts, unrestricted gifts, and
two endowments - one for faculty and one for students.
Inspired by the work of the accountancy professors Thomas Taylor and Jack
Wilkerson, the Deborah and Gary Lambert Family Accounting Faculty Fund
encourages faculty to supplement opportunities for creativity and
innovation that may extend outside the routine classroom experience. "The
faculty fund honors not only the quality of the education we received at
Wake Forest but how the faculty served as tremendous role models and
lifelong mentors," Debbie stated. They also endowed the Deborah and Gary
Lambert Family Athletic Scholarship. It is designed to provide students
with scholarship support in athletics, combining the Lamberts' desire to
make sure Wake Forest remains accessible to all while at the same time
recognizing their appreciation for the contribution ACC athletics makes to
the Wake Forest experience.
Throughout their years of association with Wake Forest, the Lamberts have
been consistent donors. "We have been steady," Gary explained, "but we have
periodically raised the bar on our giving." The Lamberts have included Wake
Forest in their estate plans, continuing their reliable contribution to
this community. "It came naturally," stated Debbie. "You hope you can have
an impact while you're here, but this is a way to leave a lasting impact on
"Leaving a legacy gift was a way to make a contribution that we could not
prudently give right now but that we can leave when we're gone," Gary
reiterated. "It was a way to give back that allowed us to do even more than
we are right now."
The Lamberts have not only invested money in Wake Forest, they have given
of their time and energy. "We have a passion for Wake Forest; we believe in
Wake Forest," Debbie commented. "Our involvement with the University is a
very fun and satisfying outlet. We have the opportunity to meet people and
form friendships. It all comes back to believing in the mission of Wake
Forest and wanting others to have that same experience."
Debbie, a partner at the CPA firm Johnson Lambert LLP and member of several
corporate boards, and Gary, who held various financial positions prior to
his retirement, serve as co-chairs of the Samuel Wait Legacy Society. The
Samuel Wait Legacy Society is the giving society celebrating those who
contribute to the University through their estate plans. Debbie has served
multiple terms on the Wake Forest Board of Trustees, where she has chaired
several different committees. Debbie previously served as chair of the
Calloway School Board of Visitors. Gary served as President of the Alumni
Association, as chair of the Wake Forest College Fund, as a member of the
Calloway School Board of Visitors, and as a member of the Deacon Club Board
of Directors. Both Debbie and Gary have served as co-chairs for their class
"Wake Forest is our extended family," Gary commented. "Each year, the
specialness of Wake Forest has deepened. We didn't know how good the
experience was when we were there."
The Lamberts have faithfully contributed to the well-being of the
institution through their gifts, enthusiasm, and example. Their steadfast
support and gracious generosity does not just make a difference but leaves
behind resources to help the future generations of this extended family.
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