Dean Gillespie, Presidential Endowed Chair of Southern History, was appointed Dean of the College, with academic oversight for the undergraduate school of arts and sciences, on July 1, 2015. She joined the Wake Forest faculty in 1999. She was named Kahle Family Professor of History in 2003 and served as associate provost for academic initiatives from 2007-2010. In 2013, Gillespie was the first Wake Forest faculty member to be honored with an endowed Presidential chair, which recognizes and supports faculty who excel in both academic leadership and outstanding scholarship.
A noted teacher, scholar, historian and author, Gillespie balances academic rigor with integrating community engagement into her work and her classes. In 2010, she was honored as a pioneer in the national service-learning field with North Carolina’s Robert L. Sigmon Service Learning Award. In 2016, she received Wake Forest’s Kulynych Omicron Delta Kappa Award, which recognizes an outstanding faculty member who bridges the gap between classroom and student life, for her work with history honors students on providing St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church in Winston-Salem with 30 oral histories of parishioners and a history of the church to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
Gillespie teaches courses on the American South and U.S. history. She has published two award-winning books as well as articles and book chapters, and co-edited ten collections. Her most recent book, “Katharine and R.J. Reynolds: Partners of Fortune in the Making of the New South,” presents 10 years of in-depth research on industry titan R.J. Reynolds and his progressive wife Katharine Reynolds, on whose 300 acres of property Wake Forest now stands. Gillespie earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University and a B.A. from Rice University.