Shoaf receives Distinguished Alumni Award
Posted May 1, 2012
Forrest Shoaf, a 1968 graduate of The Webb School, recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award during the school’s annual reunion. Created in 1990 by the Alumni Association Board of Directors, this award recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers and in their communities.
Shoaf was introduced by his former Webb teacher, Dr. Lucas Boyd.
“We were taught here to be truthful,” Shoaf said after receiving the award. “So when I tell you today that this is the most significant honor ever bestowed on me, you can take it to the bank.” In addition to thanking the alumni association for the honor, Shoaf also expressed appreciation to the Webb faculty for “not only teaching me how to be a good student, but how to be a good man.”
Shoaf related that he began writing his congressman in fifth grade about a possible appointment to West Point when he graduated from high school. The congressman advised Shoaf’s mother that if that was his goal, to enroll him in a good prep school. She sent him to Webb as a scholarship student. When Shoaf asked his mother why she chose Webb over other prep schools, she told him it was because the leading citizen in their town, a judge, well known for his integrity and knowledge of the law, was a Webb alumnus. “My mother told me, ‘I knew that if you could be like him, you’d have a fighting chance at West Point.’”
Later in life, Shoaf encountered someone else who had formed an opinion about The Webb School based on the life of a well-respected citizen in her Alabama community. Speaking of Shoaf’s higher education, she told him that the other schools “taught you how to make a living, but Webb taught you how to live,” and that they “made you what you are, but Webb made you who you are.”
Shoaf said he never forgot that and told those attending the ceremony, “Whether you know it or not, people are watching not only what you are doing but how you are doing it. You represent this school.” He closed encouraging the alumni to uphold the values that were instilled at Webb.
Shoaf was born and reared in rural West Tennessee. After graduation from West Point, he served 12 years active duty with the 101st Airborne Division and the 2nd Infantry Division and as a member of the West Point English Department faculty. He practiced law in Nashville, as a member of Bass, Berry & Sims. Later, he was a managing director in the J.C. Bradford Corporate Finance Department. He recently resigned as the chief legal officer and chief financial officer of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Storeâ restaurant chain.
Shoaf is an Airborne Ranger and a graduate of the Army General Staff College and the Air Force War College. He also holds an M.A. in literature from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Melissa, reside in Lebanon.