Site Content

2011 July

National Black Theatre Festival

It’s a shame that only our summer school students are here right now, because next week the National Black Theatre Festival is coming to town next week. Here’s a snippet from their web site:

The 2011 National Black Theatre Festival will be held in Winston-Salem, NC, August 1 – August 6. Festival highlights will include the Opening Night Gala, Celebrity Receptions,  Readers’ Theatre of New Works, National Black Film Fest, the Youth Celebrity Project, Midnight Poetry Jam, TeenTastic (Collaborative Teen Initiative), International Colloquium, International Vendor’s Market,  NBTF Fringe, Author’s Pavilion, Artists Networking Showcase,  Workshops and Seminars, the Larry Leon Hamlin Solo Performance Series, and 35 Black theatre companies from across the country and abroad offering over 100  performances.  More than 50 celebrities of stage, screen and television are expected to attend.”

This festival reportedly brings about 65,000 people to Winston-Salem.  It’s a cultural event of great magnitude here.  Our own Dr. Maya Angelou was the first festival chairperson in 1989, and the NBTF celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2009.

If your students are in town, or if you are local or will be visiting Winston-Salem next week, you may want to check out some of the performances and activities.  This is a world-class event.

Around Campus this Morning

This morning I had to run some errands on the main part of campus.  It’s a balmy morning here, coolish under the shade of the trees, but you can tell it’s going to be another hot one.  Here are some observations from this mornings wanderings:

  • There are two Quad trees rolled, closest to the entrance to the Quad by Kitchin and Poteat dorms.  Not a clue why they are rolled, but I wonder if it had anything to do with the anniversary of Coach Prosser’s death.  There had a been a righteous big rolling when he died, and every year on the unofficial WFU sports message board there is talk of rolling it in his honor.
  • Went into Reynolda Hall to try and get a sneak peek at the renovation of the second floor, where the Office of Personal and Career Development will be located.  That group is expected to move in to their new space this weekend.  There was a lot of move-related stuff – boxes and boxes of desk chairs blocked my view, but when I poked my head in the corner I saw a very pretty glassed area, and a red wall.  It looks like it will be a very vibrant place.  Can’t wait to get the official tour and post some pictures.
  • The pit where Farrell Hall will be is growing bigger by the day.  Think of the old Gone with the Wind line about “the red earth of Tara” – huge mounds of red clay everywhere.  Except I suppose it’s “the red earth of Farrell” now.
  • It appears that a couple of trees on the Quad have been taken down and replaced.  We’ve struggled with tree issues since the late 80s.  Back then, it was Dutch Elm Disease that made all the trees sick and had to be cut down.  We’re in the situation now where we’ve planted and grown some big replacement trees, and some others are not thriving, so they are carefully tended and new ones moved in if needed.
  • Starbucks in the library is quiet and empty.  I saw a handful of summer school students grabbing a pre-class coffee, and a couple of faculty-staff folks too.  Not anywhere near as busy as it is when school is in session.  As always, the staff there is incredible – if you’re a regular, they get to know you and you get to the point where you don’t have to order, they just look at you and say ‘the usual?’

That’s today’s campus report.

WFU Year in Review

Our News Service has put together some of the best stories from the 2010-11 academic year.  From the lifechanging gift of a kidney, to advances in health research, to the completion of one new building and the groundbreaking on another – it’s been a remarkable year at Wake Forest.

Enjoy looking back at some of these great moments and know that our faculty – and your students – are going to make even greater contributions this coming year.  This is what makes university life so exciting – the discoveries are endless!

Remembering Skip Prosser

In late July 2007, the Wake Forest family lost one of its own in George Edward “Skip” Prosser, our beloved basketball coach.  He’d gone on a midday run, came back to his office, and was stricken with a massive heart attack, which was fatal.

Coach Prosser had been a tremendous force on campus.  He had winning ways on and off the court.  He was one of the smartest guys I’d ever met – driven, a voracious reader, a student of history, and one of the quickest wits I’ve had the privilege to be near.  His press conferences were like a prep for the SATs or GREs – peppered with literary allusions, references to historical figures – with some fantastic zingers and one liners thrown in for good measure.

It was my good fortune to have invited him to speak on several occasions to groups on campus.  Even as a busy ACC head coach, he was unfailingly polite, kind, warm.  He was as nice to the waiter who brought his food as he was to the president of the university.  He just understood how to treat everyone with respect and decency, and was not interested in any sort of caste system.

His players loved him.  The campus loved him.  When he died, there was the Quad Rolling to end all Quad Rolling.  All of us wept at his passing and his funeral was one of the most beautiful – and most sad – ones I’ve been to.

Some intrepid soul on YouTube has compiled a wonderful tribute video – watch it here.  Whether you are a new Deac or an alumni parent who wants to remember, here’s our Skip.

Dr. Hatch’s “The Story of Wake Forest”

In late June, Wake Forest gathered its leadership, both administrative and volunteer, for the Summer Leadership Conference.  This meeting of administrators and the various boards and councils of the University (Trustees, Boards of Visitors, Alumni and Parents’ Councils, etc.) is a wonderful event where we share information and dream big about Wake Forest.

President Hatch delivered a terrific speech there, “The Story of Wake Forest,” where he describes the history of our institution, what he feels are our core strengths, and gives an update on some of the major events taking place today and in our near future.  I highly recommend it; the speech is available to read online.  Here is one small excerpt:

“The story of Wake Forest is one of opportunity and courage.  Wake Forest was never handed its future on a silver platter.  It is an institution premised on hard work and making the most of opportunities as they presented themselves.  What I find most compelling about this story are the common threads:  a deep commitment to students and their formation, a consistent linking of intellectual and moral virtues, and the building of a community that is human in scale.”

The Library of the Future

One of the special points of pride at Wake Forest in recent years is the ZSR Library.  They won the ‘Superbowl of library awards‘ this past year and have an impressive staff of engaged, enthusiastic and helpful librarians to assist our students.  The library has been the intellectual hub of campus, and with the addition of the campus Starbucks a couple of years ago, it is also a social hub.  From “Wake the Library” events during finals week and other activities, ZSR is really the place to be.

A colleague forwarded me an interesting article about the concept of the “Bookless Library” (full article here).  Parents and families, I offer this article to you as a thought-provoker.  Think about your time in college or graduate/professional school, and the role of your library.  How does that differ from your students’ experience in high school or college?  What does the future hold?

Leadership at Wake Forest

Deac families, I hope you are already tuned into the Office of Personal and Career Development, which is here to help your students make the transition from college to career.  They have a wonderful mission – and I am paraphrasing here –  it’s not just to get students a job, but to help them discover their talents and passions so that they can undertake their career search with purpose and clarity, so that in the end they have a path that fulfills their needs (emotional and financial), as opposed to blindly taking a job in whatever they can get, without having thought through whether they’d enjoy that or not.  If you have not checked out their year by year calendar of what students should be doing on the path from college to career, please do so (and make sure your students get started!)

Andy Chan is our Vice President for Career Development, and he has a great blog about issues related to higher ed, career searches, and more.  He posted on his blog recently about Evelyn Williams, who has been hired to teach leadership to our students (both undergrad and graduate).  Worth a read for sure.  The blog entry is here, and the full story about Evelyn is here.

And if you aren’t following Andy’s blog, here’s where to find it.

The Barn

Amidst all the construction on campus this summer, one item is pretty much complete: The Barn.  This new social space will be used this fall for on campus concerts, parties, and student organization activities.

Your students will be able to visit The Barn on September 1st, per this entry on the University Calendar:

Date: Thursday, September 1, 2011
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: The Barn
Description: The Barn, our newest building on campus, will be open to all of campus for a short program, tours and reception this afternoon.

First Year Students Get Roommate Assignment

One of my colleagues sent me an email telling me that housing and roommate information will be available on line sometime this week.  It sounds like first year students will receive an email (on their WFU account), saying they should log in (w/ their username and password) to the Housing site where they will receive their dorm assignment and name and contact information of their roommate.

This is always an exciting – and scary – part of the process for new students.  On the one hand, you’re excited to finally be able to put a face and a name to that person with whom you’ll share a room; on the other hand, you worry if you don’t get along.  Having been around the block a number of times on this one, let me share just a few tips:

  • Contact your new roommate promptly and establish good communications.  Be friendly, try to get to know your roommate via phone/text/IM/Skype, whatever is most comfortable to you.
  • If you must look at them on Facebook or Google, don’t put too much stock in what you see.  For example, some students look online at their new roommate and get worried about what they might be like based on their Facebook profile, what people post on their walls, what they look like, which music or movies they seem into.  And while those things do tell you something about your new roommate, they cannot adequately capture the full range of their personality.  So if you see something online you don’t like, don’t panic.
  • Start talking now about who brings what – that way you don’t have 2 TVs, 2 Xboxes, etc.  This will eliminate frustration on move in day – for you and your families.
  • And speaking of families, try to remain neutral on any potential concerns or conflicts and let the roommates work it out for themselves. Learning to navigate interpersonal relationships and managing conflict are some of the great ‘outside the classroom’ learning moments of college.  So try to declare yourselves Switzerland in the case of any roommate issues and let them find their own answers.

Embrace the excitement of new things and help encourage your student to be open to new people and new experiences.  Some roommates form lifelong bonds as freshmen, others just peacefully coexist.  But this is the beginning of a great adventure – enjoy it!

Student Artwork

To close out this week, Deac families, I stumbled across this lovely painting of Wait Chapel by junior Mary Alyce McCullough (’13).  If you or your student are missing the beautiful blue skies of sunny North Carolina, enjoy this!