Veteran Charlotte event planner takes post with Wake Forest

Mary Tribble, whose long career as a Charlotte event planner included overseeing galas for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, has accepted a new post at Wake Forest University.

Tribble, 53, has joined Wake’s University Advancement office as a senior adviser for engagement strategies. Her new role, which will allow her to remain in Charlotte, focuses on deepening the school’s relationships with its nearly 65,000 alumni.

“It’s really, really exciting,” she said. “I feel like everything I’ve done has prepared me for this.”

She’ll be charged with focusing the school’s alumni engagement efforts on the university’s motto, “Pro Humanitate.”

The Latin phrase means “for humanity.” The school interprets it as a desire to look outside oneself and affect the world in a positive way.

“It just speaks to me in terms of my own career journey,” said Tribble, a Wake Forest graduate and descendant of Samuel Wait, the school’s founder and first president.

Tribble said she has always sought to have a fulfilling career and personal life while also being a positive force in the broader world – “doing good and doing well,” as she put it.

Prospective Wake Forest students have to write an essay on what “Pro Humanitate” means to them before they can win admission, she said. With her hiring, the school is stepping up its effort to carry the motto over into the alumni experience.

In her new role, she will, among other things, seek to rally graduates around community service projects and volunteer opportunities. She will work from Wake’s Charlotte Center in uptown, with regular trips to the main campus in Winston-Salem.

She’ll be bringing people together for a cause – familiar territory for Tribble.

During the DNC, she served as chief of events planning for the city’s convention host committee. Before that, she’d been an event planner in Charlotte for 2 1/2 decades, staging galas tied to everything from the 1991 NBA All-Star weekend to 1994’s NCAA Final Four basketball tournament. She has also organized extravaganzas for the city’s key business and philanthropic players.

After the DNC, she took a year off and went to Costa Rica to write a book. She said she is glad to be back in Charlotte and to be able to take on a new role without having to relocate.

“I’ve always been so honored by the things I’ve been able to be a part of. I’ve felt like in a way I’ve gotten a chance to grow up with Charlotte,” she said.

The new role, she added, “is just a natural progression of what I’ve been doing.”