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2011 June

The Last Day of the Fiscal Year

It’s been a slow blog week, WF families.  We’re at the end of the fiscal year for the University, which means that we are all scurrying to finish up final projects, meet end of year goals and deadlines, and more.  Faculty are teaching summer school and are prepping for fall classes, there are some big construction projects in Reynolda Hall – most notably a new and very much improved space for the Office of Personal and Career Development which will feature innovative and creative collaboration space.

Today the Parent Programs office emailed a communications survey to current Wake Forest families.  We have just completed the first full year of our new-and-improved Parents’ Page, and we want to get your feedback on it and on parent communications in general.  It’s a very short survey but your responses will be very valuable to us.

Finally, as we close this fiscal and academic year, we want to thank you for all you have done to support Wake Forest this year.  From proudly wearing WFU apparel, to displaying WFU items in your home or office, to sending excellent prospective students our way, to making gifts to the parents’ campaign, you have helped advance the mission of Wake Forest.

A Wake Wedding

There is nothing quite like viral videos to make you smile.  This clip below was sent to me – showing a very proud WFU alumnus, David James (’98), and a promise he made to his beloved when they got engaged.

I won’t say more. Watch for yourselves.

Tell Us Your Story!

Parents and families, we want to say a resounding THANK YOU to all of you who have made a gift to the parents’ campaign of the Wake Forest Fund this year.  Our fiscal year will close on June 30th, so we are in the final stretch of our campaign.

To date, we’ve received gifts from 2,561 current and past Wake Forest families – which is a record for parent participation.  You believe in Wake Forest, and believe in the work we are doing to educate your sons and daughters so they can leave here as adults and head off for lives of purpose and meaning and to change our world for the better.

We are still looking for 60 WFU families to make a gift so we can reach our goal of 2,621 donor families.  If you haven’t made a gift yet, you can make a gift securely online, or mail a check (must be dated/postmarked by June 30th) to: Parents’ Campaign, P O Box 7227, Winston-Salem, NC 27109.

Finally, we want to hear from parents and families who have made a gift.  We are featuring donor families this week – so whether you’ve given $10 or $1 million, we want to talk to you and hear why you believe in Wake Forest.  If you’d like to be featured, email the Parent Programs office at so we can set up a time to connect with you.


Are these aliens?

No, this picture is not of some alien takeover – its biology professor Susan Fahrbach, who is working with one of her students and a beekeeper at one of their field research sites in Winston-Salem.  Dr. Fahrbach studies the neurology and behavior of honeybees.   This is a wonderful example of how undergraduate students can participate in research projects with their professors, gaining valuable field experience and learning about what it’s like to conduct academic research.

If your student is considering graduate school, or simply wants to have a more hands-on academic experience, urge him or her to talk to the faculy about ways to be involved in their research projects.  Faculty frequently need assistance in their labs and with research projects and this is a wonderful way for your students to have a faculty mentor in an area of shared interest.

Did You See WF in USA Today?

On June 20th, Wake Forest was featured in USA Today for the story of computer science professor Paul Pauca, who built a program called “Verbal Victor” to help children who have difficulty communicating.

“Paul Pauca is well-aware of these challenges. His 6-year old son Victor suffers from a rare genetic disorder that causes breathing problems and poor motor control, and as a result, has been hospitalized several times over these years.

Yet despite these struggles, Pauca, a computer science professor at Wake Forest University, has focused on ‘the better’ by providing his son with the best care possible. And thanks to these efforts, his son has flourished….

Now, with a little help from his Wake Forest students, Pauca has created ‘VerbalVictor,’ a smartphone app that not only helps his own son overcome any communication challenges he faces but one that is already helping other children and their parents as well.”

Another story of Wake Foresters doing well – and doing good – at the same time.  Enjoy it!
Read the full story online.

Summer projects

While most of our students are home for the summer, there are some here in summer school, and still others doing summer projects.  For anthropology students, summer means the opportunity to go on a dig at a local site.

In this photo, you see anthropology professor Eric Jones with undergraduates in a field site along the Yadkin River in Surry County, NC.  These students, all anthropology majors, are spending the summer exploring settlements from the Late Woodland era (AD 1000-1600.)

P is for Parent

I hope that our Wake Forest families have been enjoying the recent issue of the Wake Forest magazine.  There are a lot of wonderful stories within, and certainly among the top is “The Gift” – the story of Coach Walter, our amazing baseball coach who donated a kidney to his player, Kevin Jordan.  It’s one of the best stories of Pro Humanitate that I have ever seen.

Some readers have had a question about why do they see certain names in the magazine, or on the Wake Forest website, that have a P’ after them.  That P is for Parent, and the number afterwards indicates what year their student is at WFU.  So if you see George Emerson P ’13, it means he has a child who is in the Class of 2013 here.

We started listing parent years in our publications several years ago because parents wanted to have a way to be recognized on a name tag or in a publication as being the proud parent of a current WFU student.   Many of our Deacon parents are just as energetic about the University as their student, and I frequently have parents tell me they wish their own undergraduate experience was as fulfilling as their student’s time at Wake Forest.  Adding that P’ year just makes them feel a little more a part of our community – so that’s why we do it!

Progress on Farrell Hall

There is construction all over campus, it seems.  The road from the Polo entrance is closed, and the construction crews are tearing up the ground, crushing up former streets, and have even extended the demolition of the road to the Parent Programs Office’s new home (what had been the former IS building).  There are excavators, big piles of dirt, big piles of concrete, and construction fencing everywhere.  On the south side of campus, there is work going on too – near Kirby and Greene halls.

For those not familiar with the red clay of the South, you can see a lot of it these days at dear old Wake Forest!

For new students: Deacon Camp!

Pre-school orientation programs have been a staple on the WFU campus for generations.  These camps allow first- year students to arrive a few days before official orientation and meet a smaller group of their classmates around some sort of shared experience.  Perhaps the oldest pre-school camp was a faith-based one sponsored by Campus Ministries, but in recent years there have been others that have emerged, most notably around service projects/volunteerism and also sustainability/green issues.

My colleagues in Campus Life just let me know of a new program they are offering this year, which should be of interest to students who are (or want to be) rabid Deacon fans and are filled with school spirit.  It might appeal especially to alumni families.  Details about Deacon Camp are below:

“Deacon Camp is a four day crash course in what it means to be a Demon Deacon. Your son or daughter will get insiders access to places where few of their classmates may ever go: President Hatch’s residence, Wake Forest’s original campus, and special access parts of our athletic venues. Not only will he or she learn about the great traditions that make our campus such a wonderful place, but they will make friendships that will last throughout the next four years.”

There is even a YouTube video – check it out!

Happy Father’s Day!

The Office of Parent Programs wants to wish all Demon Deacon men a Happy Father’s Day.  Whether you are a WFU dad, stepdad, grandfather, or any older male role model for one of our students, we honor you and wish you a wonderful weekend.

There is a great story on the web about some very talented and special Wake Forest dads: “For Father’s Day, three Wake Forest dads talk about the gifts their children have given to them – as well as the world.”

There is also the remarkable story “The Gift” in the Wake Forest Magazine about our Coach Walter donating his kidney to ailing player Kevin Jordan.  Have tissues nearby as you read.

Some Wake Foresters will be enjoying the annual Father’s Day Father-Son basketball camp with Coach Jeff Bzdelik this weekend.  Campers arrive this evening, will spend the night in South residence hall, and will be put through drills and activities with Coach Bzdelik and his staff.  For many Deac Dads, this is a cherished yearly tradition.

Enjoy these stories, and enjoy your Wake Forest students this weekend!  Happy Father’s Day to all!