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Betsy Chapman

Five Senses of Farrell Living Room

Tomorrow is an academic and administrative holiday.  If you have a concern about a student (either after normal business hours or on a holiday), University Police is our 24/7 contact.  You can call them at 336-758-5591 (non-emergencies) or 336-758-5911 (emergencies) and they will contact the appropriate on-call staff.

Yesterday I went over to Farrell Hall a little bit before a 2 pm meeting so I could take in the scene and bring you one of our “Five Senses” blog posts.  Here you go, Deac families!

I see…

- a giant blue crane on one end of the Living Room and an orange platform/people lifter on the other.  It is not clear to me what they are doing, but there are 2 men on one cherry-picker and 3 on the ground observing.  Yellow tape is roping off the equipment.

- half of the tables and comfy chairs in the middle of the Living Room are occupied.  It appears to be a mix of students individually studying or eating lunch, and some in clusters or groups.

- cold weather clothes.  It is chilly today, and most are in sweaters, sweatshirts, or fleece jackets (or have them nearby)

- lots of laptops, both at tables with just one student, as well as the groups of students

- a couple of students I know; one with a delightful accent comes up to talk to me

- administrators and faculty walking through the Living Room, occasionally talking to students they know or each other


I hear…

- the sound of the equipment moving up and down; rather a drill-like sound

- jingling keys

- the ice machine at Einstein’s Bagels

- people ordering from same

- laughter

- snippets of conversations.  I am near two girls who erupt into periodic giggles.  They appear to be rehashing someone’s escapades.


I feel…

- the nubby fabric of the chair at my table

- the very smooth and pleasantly cool marble-like/solid surface of the table.  The patterns of the tables reminds me a bit of a good French pate.

- the occasional breeze as doors open


I smell….

- cinnamon raisin bagels from Einstein’s

- hazelnut.  Einstein’s has a hazelnut-vanilla blend that is aromatic


I taste….

- a cup of that hazelnut coffee (couldn’t resist!)


And that, my friends, was the Five Senses of the Farrell Living Room at nearly 2 pm on Wednesday.  Hope you felt like you were there with me!

Phi Beta Kappa Induction

phi beta kappaYesterday I had the pleasure of attending the induction ceremony of the newest members of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society.   About twenty juniors and around 50 seniors were invited to join this year.  It was a wonderful event for them and for the many proud family members, faculty, and staff in attendance.  And as an alumna of WFU and a member of PBK as well, I was proud to see these exceptional young men and women being honored.  I knew a few of them and they are terrific.

In addition to celebrating the students, a member of the faculty was given an honorary membership as well.  The professor was Mary Foskett of the Religion department.  I have worked with Mary for many years and she is an exceptional teacher-scholar and has such a heart for both students and scholarship – a most deserving recipient of this honor.

The keynote speaker at the event was Blake Morant, dean of the School of Law (and a PBK member as well.)  Dean Morant opened by asking the audience if we knew some of the most famous members of Phi Beta Kappa (see list here).  He then shared a story about his first job following law school.  He had been on an Army ROTC scholarship and then was part of the JAG Corps (Judge Advocate General).

Disclaimer: Dean Morant is a phenomenal speaker and a very charismatic storyteller, so I can not do his live performance justice.  But it was a good story.

In his first JAG Corps assignment, he was at Fort Bragg here in NC and was working on general contract law, which is evidently one of the most complicated forms of law to practice.  His commanding officer assigned him to work on a contract for a particular piece of equipment – a tank – that the 3 star general of the base wanted to purchase.

Dean Morant researched this exhaustively and found that there was an endangered species of bird on base that was protected by new EPA rules that applied to military bases (as well as the general population) and that the general could not get this tank because of the risk to this endangered bird.

He presented his masterfully written briefing memo to his commanding officer, basically saying the general could not get the tank.  The officer read it and said it was one of the most thorough and well-developed briefings ever – and that Dean Morant would have to be the one to meet the general to tell him no in person.  Evidently the general was a real Patton-style guy and not used to hearing the word “no.”  The prospect of having to break this bad news to the general was fearsome indeed.

Being extremely well rounded in his own liberal arts undergraduate experience at the University of Virginia, Dean Morant relied on his critical thinking skills and tried to think outside of the box (or base as it were) to find other solutions.   He drove all around the base to see if there were other areas that did not have this bird in residence, but would also meet the needs of the general and would allow him to get the tank.  He was able to find a different section of land that had no endangered birds and room for the types of tank drills required.

He amended the briefing memo to show that the general could both safeguard the endangered bird and get him the tank he wanted.  A win for everyone.  But especially for Dean Morant, who had the academic training to think creatively and problem-solve.  He credited his undergraduate experience for helping him develop those skills.

After this story, Dean Morant urged the students to let this induction into Phi Beta Kappa be the *beginning* of a life of great things, not the crowning achievement.  Hard work and a firm grounding in the liberal arts can make anything possible – and he stressed that now more than ever, we need people with liberal arts backgrounds to help look into the problems of the world and find solutions.

Following the induction ceremony, the new members, their families, and faculty and staff celebrated the success of these great students.  It was a great night for all.

Congratulations to all our new members!

Focus on the Forest

Some of the most positive feedback we get at the Daily Deac is from parents and family members who appreciate seeing photos of things that are happening on campus, and also the “five senses” posts where we set up camp somewhere around the campus and just observe for 30 minutes and chronicle what we see.  Today the weather is supposed to be awful – 100% chance of rain for a good part of the day, although right now (9:20 am) it is still dry.

photoblog_tree_header1We’ll try to get a “five senses” post in sometime this week, but for now I want to draw your attention to a wonderful photo resource.  It’s called Focus on the Forest, and it is a Tumblr site maintained by Ken Bennett, our award-winning University Photographer.   He is taking pictures all the time, to document campus events as well as get shots of campus and students that can be used on the website, in publications, and more.  There are over 70,000 photos in our archive, dating back from late 90s or early 2000s.  Ken puts some of the best of them up on Focus on the Forest, and if you want a visual treat, you should check out the site.

For another look at campus any time, there is the Quad Cam.  If you are viewing it from your PC or laptop, it should work fine.  We are having a little hitch with it coming through on smartphones, and our IS and web teams are working on that.  So know that if you try it on your phone, you might not get it, but the issue has been reported and is being addressed, but it is a complicated issue and will take some time to fix.  Apologies to all.

One time I’d recommend you check out the Quad Cam is on April 25th – that will be our second Campus Day for Accepted Students.  There will be a lot of activity at the following times:

7:30-8:45 am – when people check in to register at Wait Chapel

9:30-10 am – when the first program in Wait Chapel ends and they all depart en masse for other sessions

2:00ish-4ish – students will begin setting up the Student Involvement Fair during the 2:00 time frame, as the admitted students and families are in their last program in Wait Chapel.  Once that finishes, the Demon Deacon leads the students out of the chapel and on to the Quad, where the band, cheerleaders, and dance team are waiting.  You’ll see a ton of prospective students and parents walking around to visit the tables at the Student Involvement Fair (student organizations set up tables to promote their groups)

Monday Morning News

Good Monday morning, Deac families!  Here’s a little bit of news from everywhere to help you start your week.

This weekend was perhaps the most beautiful one we have had all spring.  It was sunny all weekend, highs in the mid-70s, and all of the flowers and flowering trees seem to be exploding with blooms all at once.  It is hard to imagine a prettier time at Mother So Dear.

On Friday we had the first of two Campus Days for Accepted Students, with about 400 families (1,000 people total) attending.  These events are for students who have been admitted into the Class of 2018.  Some have already committed to WFU, others are kicking the tires between their final top choices.  It is a wonderful day for students and families to experience all Wake has to offer.  One new feature this year was a version of the Campus Involvement Fair at the end of the day, when student organizations manned tables around the Quad to feature the work of their organizations.  Many thanks to all the students who were there to greet the new families, and also to the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black and cheerleaders and dance team.  And of c0urse, our Demon Deacon!  I had also seen a great “Did You Know?” about some of Wake’s points of pride.  Did you know we did all this?  Did You Know

Friday we received an announcement that alumna Melissa Harris-Perry (’94) will return to campus as a chaired professor in the department of Politics and International Affairs.  This is a big get for Wake Forest.  Dr. Harris-Perry is an award-winning scholar and author who has taught at Tulane, University of Chicago, and Princeton. Her first book, “Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought,” won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.  Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary black Americans and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African Americans respond to these challenges.  She spoke on campus a couple of years ago and she is dynamic , interesting, and passionate.  She is going to be someone who engages students deeply in the classroom, and she will bring with her a wealth of knowledge and connections through her journalism career.

We also learned late last week of a $3 million gift from Blue Cross Blue Shield NC (BCBSNC) to support the University’s well-being initiative.  The $3 million gift from BCBSNC will help us create a campus community dedicated to well-being and support initiatives across eight dimensions: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, intellectual, financial, occupational, and environmental.  It will support the transformation of Reynolds Gym into a comprehensive center for well-being, fund a new director of well-being position, provide seed grants for faculty research on health and well-being, and support new well-being programs on campus.  This is big news too and very exciting.

Finally, residence hall selection has taken place.  As happens every year, there are some students who did not select a room (for a various of reasons).  If your student is in the Yet to Be Assigned group, here is some information about that process and how it plays out over the summer.

As always, big things are happening at Wake Forest.  And your students are the beneficiaries!



Campus Day for Accepted Students

20100409campusday0173Today is the first of two Campus Days for Accepted Students.  These days are some of the happiest of our year – when we get a chance to meet potential members of the Class of 2018 and their parents.

If you are a coming to Campus Day, we hope you will stop by the Parent Programs table during Registration (outside Wait Chapel between 7:30-8:30 am) and say hello.  We’ll have some great Wake Forest parent buttons, copies of one of the best issues of the Wake Forest Magazine, and more.

And if you’re a reader of the Daily Deac, be sure to tell us that too!  We love to meet our Deac families!

The First Job Advice Letter

It is coming down to the end of the semester and the Class of 2014 will very soon leave us for Whatever’s Next.  For some of them it will be their first real job.  For others, graduate or professional school.  Others are still looking for employment; fear not - 98% of the graduating class of 2013 was in either jobs or graduate school within 6 months of graduation (with 77% of the class reporting).

Your seniors have had four years to learn the Wake Forest system and figure out what to do and how to do it.  Soon they are going to have to learn a new system and new expectations at their first destination after college, be it in a job, graduate school, etc.

I had a wonderful young Wake Forester that I mentored a few years ago, and when he left for his first job, this letter below was my parting gift to him.

As with The Worry Letter that was featured in the Daily Deac last fall, I invite you to write your own First Job Advice letter to your senior.  (Or start thinking about what you would say to your student when his/her time to graduate comes).  We might not agree on all the items in the letter – and that’s OK.  Think about your jobs and your successes (and failures) and decide what you would say.  This might make a nice and heartfelt graduation gift.


I have been thinking a lot about what I want to say to you as you leave for your new job.  I am sad for Wake Forest and happy for you, and I understand your trepidation to leave what you know and venture into something new.  Change is scary.

You are smart and talented and have a wonderful character, and those are all the building blocks you are going to need to be successful.  Don’t worry about where your new colleagues are from or feel like their schools or their pedigrees are better.  I mean it when I say I would bet on you against anyone else.

If you want my unsolicited advice, I will put on my mentor hat and give it to you.  A lot of these are things about work that I had to learn the hard way, and I am firm believer in paying it forward and trying to spare other people the agony of learning from mistakes.  You are starting in a new place and you want to make a good impression, so here’s what I’ve learned as my best guidelines for work:

  • When you first take a job, you need to pay your dues.  People are watching.  Come to work early and leave late.  Do not clock watch.  There will come a time – after you have earned your stripes – that you can adjust your hours.  But it isn’t now.  Even if your other friends leave early, stay longer than they do.
  • Observe the people who have been at the company for a while.  Who appears to be well respected? Figure out why.  Who gets talked about in bad terms? Figure out why.
  • Emulate the people who are respected and successful – and be sure not to be fooled simply by who is popular.  You want who is well-regarded.
  • Look for what isn’t being said along with what is.  Notice people’s body language.
  • Find a mentor.  Someone who can help you navigate the organizational waters and be a Sherpa.  Look for someone who seems to have a heart for helping younger people, and be sure this is someone in the Well Regarded group.
  • At some point you’ll make a mistake and your boss (or another colleague) will give you feedback.  The natural reaction is to explain what you did and why and get defensive.  When we are mentally trying to justify how we can explain our actions, sometimes we’ll stop hearing the feedback and we risk losing the lesson.  Instead, be silent and absorb it, even if it’s painful.  Thank the person for the feedback, and mean it.  Ask them what they would have liked to see you do differently.  And then next time, be sure to do it.
  • There should be no job you are above doing.  Don’t pass off the stuff you hate to your assistant or someone lower on the totem pole.  If there’s unpleasant stuff to do, do it yourself (or offer to help the colleague).
  • There are people in every organization who aren’t at the top of the corporate ladder, but they are the right arm of teams or bosses, the ones who get things done, gatekeepers.  Get to know them – learn their names, ask about their kids, listen to their stories.  Don’t just pay lip service to those things – mean it.  Be genuinely interested.  And always, always treat them with respect.
  • Never lord your education (or your salary) over other people with less.  Treat the CEO and the janitor with the same amount of politeness and dignity.  Everyone will notice.
  • Don’t feel obliged to try and be someone you aren’t.  If you don’t want to hang out with the young colleagues in your group until 2 am, don’t.
  • Be cautious about dating people in your office.  If the relationship goes badly, you have to see that person all the time.
  • One of the most profound gifts you can give other people is your undivided attention.  Learn to listen well and really hear people and focus when they are talking to you.
  • Make the choice to be ethical every day.  Plenty of other people won’t be.  At the end of the day, all you have is your character and your reputation.  Once you stain those, the memory lasts for a long time.
  • Pay it forward and mentor the next generation.

You’ve been a star at Wake Forest.  Now it’s just going to be in someone else’s sky and not Wake Forest’s.  But you will still be a star.

Mann the Quad

Last 20140408manning0764 night at 6:30, campus had a fantastic pep rally to welcome Danny Manning, our new men’s head basketball coach.  The event was called “Mann the Quad” (perhaps a reference to the “Seize the Quad” events they have once every year or so) and it was both well-attended and fantastically fun.

20140408manning1032All due credit to our Athletic department and ARAMARK for making this a great event for everyone.  Athletics had brought their inflatable games from BB&T Field – giant slide, bouncy houses, and other inflatable games.  ARAMARK had ice cream sundaes, hotdogs, cupcakes, cotton candy.  This was something a good many of our students attended, but also a lot of faculty and staff, many of whom brought their kids.  There were free t-shirts and buttons, the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black Band, cheerleaders, you name it.  If it was fun and festive, it was there.

20140408-manning-0671The big excitement came when the Demon Deacon himself drove Coach Manning on to the Quad on the big WFU motorcycle that is used for basketball and football games.  Coach Manning is a *tall* guy, but he managed to get a lift up to the front of Reynolda without incident.  Once he got to the front of Reynolda, he went up to the steps of Reynolda (toward the Mag Room) to join Athletic Director Ron Wellman.  After a warm introduction, Coach Manning took the mic.

20140408manning1090Coach was warm and gracious, talked about coming home to familiar territory (he is from Greensboro). He talked about playing games in Reynolds Gym and seeing our former Coach Tacy there.  And I will freely admit to editorial bias (so filter appropriately) but Coach Manning won me over when he talked about some of the past star players and coaches he knew when he was playing college ball (and just after): Rodney Rogers, Randolph Childress (my eternal favorite, with all due respect to the other greats), Tim Duncan.  He talked about Coach Odom (who was here in the Rodney-Randolph-Timmy years).

Well-played, Coach Manning.  You had me at Randolph.  But then you sealed the deal when you talked with great respect about Coach Prosser, our coach who passed of a sudden heart attack in 1997.

So I am all in 100% behind our new coach and the players.  And I hope your students are too!  It was a wonderful day and hopefully the first of many wonderful days to come.



Glorious, Glorious Day

Today is a spectacularly glorious day on campus.  Temps in the 60s, sunny and mild, light breeze.

I took a walk at lunchtime through the north side of campus (near Farrell and the new North Dining Hall), past Student Apartments, behind the Byrum Center and all the way up to Reynolda Gardens.  It could not have been prettier.

Along the way, here is what I noticed:

- several groups of runners or walkers, all students, most of whom had on earbuds

- three crazy cats that were chasing each other in the parking lot near the walkway to Reynolda Gardens

- lots of new blooms on trees.  I am not good with botany, but the flowers are a fuschia color

- recent work on the flower beds in Reynolda Gardens, so we can expect some magnificent blooms in the weeks to come

- a handful of people who were either visiting Reynolda House or Reynolda Gardens during their lunch hours, all of whom looked delighted to be enjoying such a nice day

- a section of field near Reynolda House (between the house and the gate to Reynolda Road) that looked like a carpet of daffodils.  Solid stretch of nothing but daffodils blooming, so pretty

If your students are not getting out every day and taking  a walk around campus, urge them to do so whenever the weather is nice.  If they aren’t yet familiar with all the nooks and crannies around campus, spring is definitely the time to do it.

Catching Up from Last Week

The staff of the Daily Deac had a week’s vacation last week, and it looks like we picked an eventful week to be gone.  As you have surely seen by now, Wake has a new basketball coach in Danny Manning.  Here is the official email I received from Ron Wellman, our Athletic Director.


I am pleased to announce that Danny Manning is our new basketball coach. Known as one of the most accomplished college basketball players in the history of the sport, Danny has played for and worked under a number of legendary coaches and he has been successful in his coaching career. 

Danny has spent the last two seasons as the head coach at the University of Tulsa. He was named the 2013-14 Conference USA Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Hurricane to the conference championship and a berth in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Tulsa’s first appearance since 2003.  Manning is currently a finalist for two national Coach of the Year awards including the Jim Phelan Award, to the nation’s top coach, and the Ben Jobe Award, given to the nation’s top minority coach.

We are excited to have Danny as a Demon Deacon, and I hope you will join me in welcoming him, his wife Julie, and their children Taylor and Evan to Wake Forest University! I look forward to introducing Danny to the Wake Forest community next week. 

Go Deacs!

Ron Wellman


The full press release on Coach Manning is available online here.   This is an unconfirmed report, but I had a friend message me yesterday saying that Coach Manning will be introduced to campus on the Quad this Tuesday at 6 pm.  I am trying to find out whether or not that’s true.

In campus news, this week your students are going through Round 2 of registration for fall classes.    They will also be going through residence hall selection and meal plan selection.  If your students have questions about either process, the best places to start are the websites, and then they can talk to their RA or Residence Life or Campus Dining if they have more detailed questions.

Many of you have started thinking about summer storage and shipping options for your Deacs’ belongings.  If your student needs to purchase boxes and tape and just needs to ship items home, our own on-campus Mail Services can provide those options.  They ship belongings home, but do not store boxes for the summer.   Your student can check out the Mail Services office in the basement of Benson University Center to discuss his/her box and shipping needs.

For students who want to ship their belongings home at the end of the semester (or have them stored in Winston-Salem over the summer), Wake Forest has a relationship with Eli’s Pack and Ship.  For more details, see the phone and website information below: 

Eli’s Pack & Ship
Eli Bradley

Families are welcome to select their own vendors or service providers.  However, this company is one with whom Wake Forest has an existing vendor relationship.

It was a beautiful weekend in Winst0n-Salem, if a little chilly yesterday.  This morning there is nothing but grey skies and rain, and it looks like the rain will continue all day.   But if the 5-day forecast holds, it will be 74 by Friday, which is the first of our two Campus Days for Accepted Students.  Nothing beats the Wake Forest campus when it is mid 70s and sunny.

Have a great week, Deac families!

English Class

The Daily Deac returns from break today.  It’s April now, and we hope you are starting to feel the magic of spring wherever you are.

One of the most legendary Wake Forest English classes was “Blake, Yeats, and Thomas,” taught by Dr. Edwin G. Wilson (’43).  That class, along with “British Romantic Poets,” was one you had to plot and plan and pray to get into because demand was so high.

Whether you were an English major or not, there was something magic about Dr. Wilson’s classes.  He has a rich and lyrical voice and a gift for pausing at just the right moment to let the words sink in.

You can’t take his class anymore, as he is retired.  However, here is one of my favorites from his class.




I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars wer20131002garden3282e flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun