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5 Places to Try

There are lots of wonderful nooks and crannies on campus where students can go to study, hang out, enjoy the atmosphere, eat lunch or have a coffee. Students will find their favorite spots over time – maybe through trial and error.  If your students have not already discovered these spots, here are five to try during the fall.

The Starbucks in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest.

The Starbucks in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest.

The big back table at Starbucks.  It’s got a lot of room for laptops, spreading out papers, good for group project discussions, etc.  Right now has a little bit of the ‘darkened alcove’ kind of feel, but they are renovating this summer and it may look a little different come fall.  But it is a big, wide open table – nearly always occupied.  But I bet if your students hit the ZSR Library early in the day, they might be able to grab it.  It’s a little close to the end of the bar where the baristas put the drinks once they are made, and it is near the exit of ZSR closest to Tribble, so for some it may be distracting to have constant sound and movement.  But if you don’t mind that (or can tune it out), enjoy all the table space.

A predawn view of the Magnolia Patio and Manchester Plaza on the campus of Wake Forest.

A predawn view of the Magnolia Patio and Manchester Plaza on the campus of Wake Forest

The rocking chairs on the Mag Patio.  If you are the kind of person that wants to take your shoes off, kick your feet up on the rail, and read a book, this is an excellent spot for that.  It is especially pretty in the fall when the leaves have all changed colors.  You can see a great view straight to downtown.  This tends not to be a particularly loud area, unless there is something going on down on the Mag (Manchester) Quad.  The nearby umbrella tables are also a wonderful spot for having lunch.

One of the swings on Davis Field sits empty early on a misty morning.

One of the swings on Davis Field sits empty early on a misty morning.

Davis Field swings.  There are a few swings on the big trees on Davis Field.  On the weekend you might see local families with young children exploring campus and swinging on the swings.  In the fall you can see the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black marching band practice on the lower field, and on the weekends the field gets used for some high-spirited football games (since it is already marked with the yard lines).  The swings are a moment of whimsy and students can take a few minutes and swing like a kid again.

The Special Collections room in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library  at Wake Forest.

The Special Collections room in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest.

The Rare Books Room.  Do your students know that there is a Rare Books Room in the ZSR?  It has the University’s collection of old and rare books as well as other archival items.  They can go in and browse what is there, or ask one of the librarians to access some of the items in the cabinets.  At minimum, everyone should go in there and have a look around.  There are some exceptional things to be seen.

Cafe tables on the Quad.

Cafe tables on the Quad.

The cafe tables on the Quad.  These tables provide a nice spot for impromptu dining al fresco, having a cup of coffee, or just sitting for a few peaceful minutes and watching the world walk by.  Students can take board games off the nearby carts and play a vigorous round of Connect Four with a friend, etc.  My favorite time for the cafe tables is the spring, when all the pink flower petals are falling off the trees and it looks like pink snow beneath them.


— by Betsy Chapman


Happy Memorial Day!

Today is Memorial Day and the university is closed for the holiday.  Wherever you are, I hope you will join me in taking a few moments to reflect on the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, as well as their families.  We are grateful to all for their service and sacrifice, and particularly those who died while serving.

Think, too, of our newest ROTC graduates in the Class of 2015 who were commissioned last week.  May they be safe and well during their time in the service.

– by Betsy Chapman
Wake Forest University holds its 2015 Commencement ceremony on Hearn Plaza on Monday, May 18, 2015.  Graduating ROTC cadets reenact their commissioning on stage.

Wake Forest University holds its 2015 Commencement ceremony on Hearn Plaza on Monday, May 18, 2015. Graduating ROTC cadets reenact their commissioning on stage.

Wake Forest University holds its 2015 Commencement ceremony on Hearn Plaza on Monday, May 18, 2015.  Graduating ROTC cadets reenact their commissioning on stage.

Wake Forest University holds its 2015 Commencement ceremony on Hearn Plaza on Monday, May 18, 2015. Graduating ROTC cadets reenact their commissioning on stage.

In Advance of Memorial Day

We’re at the start of a 3-day weekend, Deac families.  The university will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

For so many years while I was growing up and in college, Memorial Day seemed like a very abstract concept.  It was about the military and those who had died in service to our country.  But I was not from a military family and didn’t have other friends who were, so it did not hit home.

During the fall of my junior year at Wake Forest, my roommate/best friend and I went abroad to Dijon, France.  One of our excursions with our faculty member was going to Normandy and to the D-day beaches.  And as soon as my classmates and I stepped onto that hallowed ground, the meaning of Memorial Day, and sacrifice, and loss, became painfully obvious.

It is a beautiful, beautiful memorial.  Overlooking the water, with perfect rows of seemingly endless graves of American soldiers.  We walked through and read some of the tombstones and could see these soldiers were our age.  That hit home.

This was one of the most painful but important learning moments of my time at Wake Forest.  I don’t know what will be your students’ transformative moments while at Wake, but surely they will have some that will change them profoundly and completely.

They had leaflets at the memorial site – and one of them was this prayer below in French.  My French is rusty and I won’t try to translate it here lest I get it wrong.  But it is a really beautiful and lyrical prayer about the past, present, and future.

In the first stanza, the writer asks God to tell us how to hold in our hands the sand of our lives.  The second stanza is a prayer to be taught how to hold on to the past the right way.  The third stanza asks to know how to hold on to the present without being absorbed by it.  The fourth stanza is a prayer to be taught about how not to dread the future.  The final stanza says [roughly] “God of the past, the present, and the future, help us every day to discover you.”

I’ve carried this in my wallet since the fall of 1990.

For the memory of the soldiers in Normandy who helped me learn about Memorial day, as well as all the others who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we honor you this weekend.

— by Betsy Chapman

dday beach final

Attention, Boston area families

The heat and sun of Commencement have left us.  Campus today is cool, misty, and grey.  And very empty.  Big Commencement stage?  It’s gone, as seen on the Quad Cam.

Things are slow on campus right now.  Summer school doesn’t start for a couple more weeks, and the university will be closed this coming Monday for Memorial Day.  But we do have some fun things happening in other parts of the country, and today I want to let you know about an event the first week of June in Boston.

There will be a financial outlook event on June 3rd, featuring several Deac parents as well as Jim Dunn, our outstanding CEO and CIO of Verger Capital Management.  Jim’s a remarkable guy and a great speaker; he worked for Wake Forest managing the endowment and then the university spun off the endowment management function into its own company.  If you live in Boston (or if your Deac is there working or interning over the summer), you really should go.

Full details and RSVP info is below.

— by Betsy Chapman


Outlook 2015/2016 Panel & Networking Event

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

You are invited to join fellow Boston-area Wake Forest alumni, parents, and friends working in the business, finance, and related fields for a panel and networking event featuring several prominent Deacs!

Beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, and light hors d’Registeroeuvres are included in the $10 registration fee. Friends and colleagues are also welcome. Please R.S.V.P. in advance.

Moderator: Neil Moses, P ’14, EnerNOC – CFO & COO. Neil has nearly 30 years of experience in financial operations and management in the retail and technology sectors. He previously worked at Dunkin Brands as their CFO & Chief Strategy Officer as well as PTC serving as EVP & CFO.


Bill Boyle ’80, P ’08, P ’09, P ’10, P ’13, D.A. Davidson – Managing Director, Institutional Sales. Bill has over 30 years of experience in both the Domestic and International equity capital markets. He joined D.A. Davidson in 2008 after working with Needham & Company, NationsBanc Montgomery Securities and Lehman Brothers.

David Carroll P ’18, P ’19, Financial Architects Partners – CEO. David specializes in wealth transfer life insurance and the design, implementation and monitoring of large life insurance portfolios. David started his career at John Hancock Life Insurance Company and has over 20 years experience specializing in advising high net worth families in the area of estate planning and generational wealth transfer.

Jon Jacobson P ’19, Highfields Capital Management – CEO & CIO. Jon is the founder of Highfields Capital, a Boston-based investment management firm which invests globally on behalf of endowments, foundations, pension funds and other institutional investors. Jon founded Highfields in 1998, following eight years as senior portfolio manager at Harvard Management Company.

Jim Dunn, Verger Capital Management – CEO & CIO. Jim oversees all investment decisions and is responsible for setting the course for the company, including corporate strategy. Previously, Jim was VP & CIO at Wake Forest University, responsible for investment of the University’s endowment, working capital and life income.


Registration & Reception: 6 – 6:45 p.m.

Panel: 6:45 – 7:30 p.m.

Networking: 7:30 – 8 p.m.

DATE: Wednesday, June 3, 2015
TIME: 6 – 8 p.m.
LOCATION:  EnerNOC Offices, One Marina Park Drive, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02210
COST: $1

Register now

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

I'm Blogging for Mental Health 2015.Today is Mental Health Blog Day – an effort to help raise awareness that May is Mental Health Month.  And it seems really fitting that we talk about mental health because it is a) part of Wake Forest’s Thrive efforts on holistic wellbeing, and b) mental health is critically important to all of us, but perhaps especially to college students.

I am not a clinician and cannot offer medical or psychological advice.  But as one who meets with a fair number of students and talks to even more parents as part of my job, I hear about a lot of issues.  Many students will experience some type of emotional or mental health issue while in college – it could be homesickness, stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and a whole host of other things.  Students may have issues of their own, or they could be concerned about a friend who seems to be struggling and they don’t know how to help.

Some students seem willing and comfortable to seek out help when they need it – and that is a wonderful thing.  For many others, they have not ever been in a counseling situation before and don’t know what to expect.  We don’t want the fear of the unknown to keep a student from seeking out services that might be beneficial, so with the help of my colleague James Raper, Director of the University Counseling Center, we drafted a description of what the first University Counseling Center appointment and subsequent appointments look like at Wake Forest.

You can help your students by being aware that counseling resources exist on campus and encouraging your student to seek support when needed.   My impression is that some students are reluctant or afraid to tell their parents about seeking counseling because they don’t want to worry their parents or they think their parents would be upset/disapproving to find out they are seeing a counselor.

If your student doesn’t know that you would be supportive of him or her seeking help if needed, the summer is a great time to have that conversation.  Let your student know you love and support him or her no matter what, and that mental health is a priority.  Sometimes hearing that it’s OK from mom, dad, or another family member can be the catalyst to students feeling empowered to take care of their mental health.

From my own personal experience, I found it difficult to do well at school if there was an area of my life that was out of balance or needed attention.  For example, if I was not getting enough sleep, it was hard for me to do my best in the classroom and be focused.  It worked the same with mental health and emotional wellbeing – I couldn’t do my best work if I was under too much stress or anxiety.  But once I addressed those issues, everything else fell into place much easier.

We want all our students to thrive across every dimension of their wellbeing.  We want to help them grow, learn, and be resilient.  Parents are our partners in this journey.  The University Counseling Center website has an excellent section just for parents that I commend to you.

mental health lets-talk-2015So let’s talk about mental health.


Without fear.

Without embarrasment.

Without shame.

And while I am making my wish list…

Let’s get help when we need it.

And support others when they need it.

And allow ourselves to feel what we feel.

Let’s talk about mental health.  For the good of all of us.

— by Betsy Chapman





Commencement Recap

colbert ftwStephen Colbert.

Stephen Colbert.

Stephen Colbert for the win.  Forever.

Commencement was yesterday, and it was an amazing day.  Hot, but amazing.  It wasn’t the hottest Commencement we’ve ever had, I don’t think, but it was pretty warm in the sun.

Hard to complain about the heat when you have Stephen T. Colbert delivering a wonderful Commencement speech.  This was no canned speech either – it was peppered with references to life at Wake Forest, our traditions, our people, and he even took a couple of swings at the schools in blue down the road east of us (I was already a shameless fangirl prior to his speech, but I admit to you I love him even more now).  He got laughs at times and was serious at times.  If you didn’t livestream it yesterday, you can watch his speech (and the whole Commencement ceremony) online.  Stephen Colbert begins right around the 59 minute mark.  I can’t do justice to it, you’ll have to watch it yourself.

Aside: on Facebook lastnight, I saw this picture of Stephen Colbert at Bib’s, a wonderful BBQ place downtown.  I would have loved to see the looks on the faces of Bib’s staff as he walked in.

comm 2015 awesome shotSpeaking of pictures, there are tons of great ones on the Commencement photo archive, including this one, which might be the best crowd view that I have ever seen.  One of the new parts of Commencement was the giant stage, which had jumbotrons on them.  During the wait for the ceremony to begin, you could see tweets that were being tweeted by guests as well as graduates.  There is a nice recap of social media online too.

We also had a rousing Baccalaureate speech.  Almost immediately after it was over, I was starting to get emails from parents who were praying it had been recorded.  Yes, it was recorded and is online here.  (About the videos, I have had a couple of people tell me they try to click the Play button and it says ‘the event has ended’ and they can’t watch it.  If that happens, try refreshing the web page and click it again.)

There were a couple of really poignant moments during the Commencement ceremony.  There were members of the Class of 2015 who had passed away and were posthumously awarded degrees.  Their family members accepted in their honor, and it was heartbreaking and wonderful at once.  And I witnessed so many hugs, and waves to parents, and smiles, and tears – a million family moments – that you could just tell were special based on the looks on faces.  Then there were the hugs from classmate to classmate, the meeting-of-the-significant-other’s-extended-family, or kisses between romantic partners.  Perhaps my favorite was the toddler of a graduate student (maybe law or med school) who saw his father in his cap and gown and proudly said in a toddler’s voice as he pointed to his own chest “I graduate!”

So many Wake Foresters.  So many moments.  Such pride and joy – for you, and for us.  We rejoice in their graduation the same way you do.

And if you are a P’15 graduating parent or family member, please know we welcome you to stay as involved at Wake as you wish to be.  You’ll always be part of the family, just like your graduates.

One final bit of Commencement data for all the wonks among us.  Yesterday during Commencement,  the Quad Cam was viewed by people in 137 foreign countries and 4 US territories, spanning from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.  The most populated country that had someone click on the Quad Cam was China, with a 1.36 billion population; the viewing country with the lowest population was the Turks and Caicos, population 49,000 and change.  Special thanks to my colleague Rob Daniels for supplying me with the numbers!

— by Betsy Chapman

A Few More Commencement Tidbits

Coming down to the wire on Commencement.  Have you checked out the new stage?  Pretty spectatular, eh?  Chairs are going up right now, and I am telling you, they are lined up with the precision of a well-planted vineyard.  Straight lines and strict measurements.  See it on the Quad Cam.

As part of our sustainability efforts, graduation gowns are green again this year.  Not the color green, but green as in recyclable and sustainable.  The bookstore is distributing Oak Hall’s Greenweaver commencement gowns, which are made from downcycled plastic and can be collected for further downcycling and reuse.  If you have a graduate and he or she doesn’t want to keep the gown following the ceremony, students can recycle the gowns by depositing them in specially marked boxes in the residence hall lobbies or campus bookstores.  Look for the boxes that say “Recycle your gown here.” The gowns are made of recycled plastic and will be recycled again.  Nice work, Office of Sustainability!

There’s a great story about a WFU family of triplets, all of whom are graduating from different instititutions the same weekend!  This would be a fun story in and of itself, but one of the triplets is John Marbach (’15), who left Wake after one semester and accepted a $100,000 entrepreneurship grant — a prestigious Thiel fellowship that supports students who want to skip college to start a business. Ultimately he decided to return to Wake Forest – you can read more at that Wake Forest Magazine.

If you are a Deac family graduating – keep an eye on the weather and dress accordingly.  Here’s the forecast as of 9:40 am Friday, but it can change.  Remember:

– Sunscreen

– Layers

– Rain gear if needed (pray that it isn’t)

– Shoes get wet on the Quad.  If you are fortunate enough to have expensive designer shoes, you may wish to keep them at home unless you don’t mind that they get wet or grassy


— by Betsy Chapman

Run Into the Roar

Because it is Commencement season (for colleges and high schools), people will be talking about Commencement speeches: who was good (prediction: Stephen Colbert!), who fizzled out, etc.

One of the best Commencement speeches I’d ever  heard was at a high school.  It talked about an old African legend about lions, and danger, and choosing your path.  I don’t remember the speaker, and I can’t find a link to the commencement speech transcript online.  But I did find a link to another person retelling the story (thank you, Steve Barnhill).  Here goes:

“I once heard an old African folk tale entitled ‘Running into the Roar.’ Its intent was to teach that our survival instincts can sometimes be lethal. The fable has value for us now.

According to the story, a herd of gazelles was feeding lazily on the grasses of the Serengeti, when a pride of hungry lions caught wind of them.

african-lion-prideGazelles, as you may know, have little trouble outrunning even the fastest of lions. So to eat, lions, the pinnacle of hunting prowess, must outsmart their prey. In this story, they do.

Setting the table for dinner, the lions walked stealthily toward the gazelles, but stopped well short, downwind of the herd, at which time an feeble, old male lion broke silently from the others and snuck around to the far side of the antelopes, positioning himself in the tall grass where he could not be seen.

Once the frail lion – which posed no real threat to the speedy gazelles — was in place, other members of the pride jumped to their feet and rushed at full speed toward to herd of antelopes.

Instinctively, the startled antelopes sensed danger and, with lightening reactions, fled directly away from the approaching predators. Safety, they knew, awaited them that way.

Of course, in this instance, that way was the way toward the old lion staged cleverly in the tall grasses.

As the herd approached him, the frail old lion stood up, gathered all of his strength, and roared with all the meanness he could muster.

Egad! thought the gazelles. Hold everything! We’re going the wrong way! Let’s turn around and get out of here! It’s dangerous going this direction.

The antelopes quickly executed a u-turn and ran straight for the powerful jaws of the approaching pride.

Safety, the moral tells, is sometimes found not in running away from a perceived threat, but heading directly into it. Instincts can’t always be trusted.”

I remember the commencement speaker ending with this final shot to the graduates: run into the roar.

Commencement can feel like a scary time for our graduates.  There can be uncertainty about where they are going, what their jobs will be, whether they will like it.  They might feel joy or fear or excitement or dread – or more likely, all of those things at once.

Wake might feel like their safe place, and leaving it might cause some anxious moments.  But remind them that they are smart, and ready, and skilled, and wonderful critical thinkers and hard workers and they’ll be up for the challenge.

Tell them to run into the roar.

— by Betsy Chapman

The Stage Is Going Up

We’ve been slammed in our office so I have not had a chance to watch the Commencement stage being set, but I am sneaking glimpses via the Quad Cam when I can.  So far, so good!  Looks like the center section is starting to take shape.

We’re going to go light on Daily Deacs for the next few days as we get closer to Commencement.  Here are a few of some of the best shots from Commencements past, just to whet your whistle.

And remember, all prayers and positive thoughts welcomed for an ideal forecast – low 70s and sunny, mild breeze.  Repeat that mantra over and over again for us!

— by Betsy Chapman


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New and Newsworthy

This past Friday afternoon, we launched the website, which will be the place for the Class of 2019 (and their parents and families) to learn everything they need to know about beginning life at Wake Forest.  This site will have information added to it throughout the summer, so it should be checked regularly.  The hard back book Forestry 101 will be mailed to new students’ permanent addresses at the end of this week.

For our brand new P’19 parents and families, there is a special section just for you (scroll to the bottom left of the website and look for the purple Parents and Families section).  There is a section on Important Dates and Deadlines, as well as some important advice, and more.  You’ll want to sign up for the Just for Parents orientation session; this takes place the evening of Move-In during a required residence hall meeting (so your students will be occupied).  It’s a great session that will help explain some of the transitions your student and family will go through as college begins.

My office is in the midst of planning New Student Receptions in areas where there are concentrated pockets of incoming new students.  Regrettably we can’t hold these in every corner of the country (we don’t have enough time or staff to do that).  But if one is in your area and you are interested, we hope new students and parents will attend.  And if you are the parent of a rising sophomore, junior, or senior who would like to attend and help give an upperclassmen/women’s perspective, your students are welcome to register for a reception once Registration goes live (which should be in another week or two)

For our P’15 families waiting for Commencement, you can start to see the Quad transformed via the Quad Cam.   It’s already starting and this year the stage is new so I have no idea what to expect.  You can peek at the Quad Cam any time you like.   If you missed my informal tips for Commencement, they are here.

Busy and exciting times for all!

— by Betsy Chapman