GOLD RUSH: Melanie and Westin Galloway Profile
March 25, 2015 This article was originally published in the April 2015 issue of Gold Rush
By Katharine Williams, External Communications
Melanie, a soccer standout from Peachtree City, was drawn to Wake Forest by the strong academic reputation and the women's soccer coaching staff.
"The reason I fell in love with Wake Forest was the opportunity to get an amazing education while playing soccer," said Melanie. "Tony da Luz really believed in me and I think that was what resonated with me at the time, the feeling that the coaching staff would really support me and push me. The Pro Humanitate motto also really appealed to me and the importance placed on giving back and being involved in the community."
Westin, on the other hand, did have a history with the University through his grandfather, a Wake Forest alum. Despite this connection, the University was not a given when he began the college search.
"My grandfather attended Wake Forest on the Old Campus and was president of the alumni association for several years while I was growing up, so I certainly was aware of the University and would go to events from time to time, like when the basketball team would travel to Atlanta. I didn't really know that much about the school, however," said Westin.
"When it came time for me to talk about colleges, Wake Forest was always in the conversation, but it wasn't until I went on a visit that I really understood what the University was all about. When I met with the track and field team, faculty and students on campus, they really made me feel at home."
That strong sense of community became even more apparent for Westin as a member of the track and field team.
"Some of my favorite memories from my time at Wake Forest are going on longer trips with the track team. We went to Oregon one time and we went up to Penn State... it's the memories of the `trials and tribulations' with the team that are lasting, becoming closer with your teammates and bonding. That was an invaluable experience, traveling the country and competing in what you love doing," said Westin. "Those trips really made you appreciate all that the University was doing for us as student-athletes."
Melanie also enjoyed the sense of camaraderie among her soccer teammates.
"The most valuable things I gained at Wake Forest were the friendships that I still have with my teammates," said Melanie. "There's something about that bond that you have with someone, when you are running in the middle of the summer and it's 100 degrees out. It's a special bond that's created when you have to pull strength from such a deep place."
The Galloways now live in the greater Los Angeles area, and admit that the relative scarcity of alumni prompts them to be even more enthusiastic when they come into contact with fellow Demon Deacons.
"When you live in a place where there aren't as many Wake Forest alumni, I think you find that bond to be a strong one. Whether it's seeing a bumper sticker in traffic or sprinting across the pool to talk to a guy wearing a Wake Forest Athletics t-shirt, there's a common bond and shared love for the University," said Melanie.
The Galloways stay connected to the University by "going crazy watching games on TV," sharing a passion for their alma mater. They also have enjoyed staying connected by attending events hosted in their area.
"Some of the coolest things that we've done since we've moved to the West Coast have been the events that we've been invited to that help us continue to feel connected with Wake Forest. We've had a chance to meet current students, alumni, and other supporters. Everyone is equally passionate in their support of the Deacs, and that's something I'm not sure you get at other schools," said Melanie.
As past of their goal to continue supporting the University from afar, the Galloways have made a five-year commitment to the Deacon Club Annual Fund as well as the 110% Campaign. In addition, they have made a three-year pledge in support of the Sports Performance Center project.
"I have always felt compelled to support the programs that supported me as a student-athlete," said Melanie. "I know many of our friends, whether they attended Wake Forest or went elsewhere, graduated with student loans, and since Westin and I were lucky enough to graduate with little debt, we were very motivated to contribute to the Wake Will campaign. I feel like we were given such a gift in the opportunity to go to Wake Forest, get a great education and have such a great experience as student-athletes. I really want everyone who wants it to have that same opportunity."
In their support of the Wake Will campaign and the Sports Performance Center project, the Galloways view the potential impact as truly transformative and broad reaching.
"We wanted to help increase awareness of the University both across the country and worldwide, and the campaign is definitely helping achieve that higher level of recognition," said Westin.
"Whether it's through new facilities that help us recruit future student-athletes or train our current athletes and help us compete better, Wake Will was something that we wanted to be a part of. Living on the West Coast, we run into people that are not familiar with Wake Forest, but because of our ambassadors, specifically in the professional sports realm such as Tim Duncan and Chris Paul, they have heard of us. It definitely makes a difference, and having the appropriate facilities to attract the next generation of Demon Deacon ambassadors, whether they go on to a career in professional sports or not, is critically important."
In looking to the future, the Galloways are excited to visit campus again, which they haven't been able to do in almost six years, and see the changes on campus with their own eyes.
"It is going to be really exciting to come back and see all of the great changes that have been happening first-hand," said Melanie. "We're really looking forward to returning and seeing the impact of the campaign. We hope others are encouraged to do the same and support the athletic program no matter how big or small of a gift. Every dollar really counts and you don't have to be a major gift donor to take ownership of the future of the athletic program."
About the Deacon Club
The Deacon Club is the fundraising unit for Wake Forest Athletics. In an effort to support the athletic department's mission of Developing Champions, the Deacon Club is driven by three primary objectives: to provide scholarships for academically deserving student-athletes; to equip student-athletes with first-class facilities; and to develop programs to further engage members with Wake Forest Athletics. For more information, please visit WakeForestSports.com/deaconclub.
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