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Magnolias, by Request

I got an email yesterday from a P’19 who was asking if the Magnolias are in bloom, and hoping to see some pictures if so.  You are in luck.

The Magnolia Quad – aka Manchester Quad – is on south campus.  Surrounding the Mag Quad are the academic buildings (Tribble, Greene, Carswell, and Manchester/Kirby), the Benson University Center, and the south residence halls of Bostwick and Johnson.  And there are a whole lotta magnolia trees on the Quad (hence the name).

5 27 16 mags 5The magnolia trees are tall, with blossoms going all the way to the tops of the trees.  Underneath each tree is a carpet of fallen magnolia leaves – green on one side, a furryish brown on the other.  As they dry, they turn all brown and crunchy on the ground.  The fallen leaves underneath almost look like a Christmas tree skirt.

5 27 16 mags 6The blossoms start as buds and then open to stately white blooms.  The blossoms are large and beautiful.  When you get close to an open one, you can see the petals and the inside of it.  As the flowers start to age, they take on a sort of rusty hue.

And the smell.  Lord, where do I even begin in describing what a magnolia smells like?  The word that comes to mind is “heady.”  The scent is distinct and unmistakeable.  I feel like it has some connection to a gardenia, but not as strong.  It smells lush, heady, and Southern.  Maybe its the humidity here that adds a little extra zing to it, but the scent seems to hang in the air.  I think it smells best at night, when you get the coolness of the evening and the scent of the magnolias.

This morning I took a handful of pictures below of the Mag Quad (see below, with a couple of bonus hydrangeas because they were so gorgeous).  I also took a video of one of the tall mags near Tribble.  There was an occasional crackle of a leaf falling from the top of the tree to the bottom, because the birds were all over the trees.  Here is a second video for those who want more.  When you look at the pictures and videos, from a distance the trees look like they are covered in white Christmas ornaments.  Those, of course, are the flowers.

So try to picture yourselves on the Mag Quad this morning, Deac families.  The air smelled of cut grass – you know when you’ve just mowed and the grass is still slightly damp and you get these clumps of cut grass that lump into mounds and give off that sweet grassy scent?  And the sweet perfume of the magnolias was floating in the air – which was cool and still felt a little bit dewy. The sun was still pretty low on the horizon, so you’d see these rays of light peeking through the trees or between buildings.  Birds were chirping like crazy.  Not much sound otherwise, except some construction equipment in the distance.  It was about as pleasant a place as you could be.

A local alumna and friend of mine, Jennie Harris, posted this on Facebook the other day after an afternoon rain: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. if Anthropologie sold a candle that smelled like Winston-Salem after a summer rain they wouldn’t be able to keep it on the shelves. Gardenias, magnolias, boxwoods, and the slightest hint of curing tobacco in the air…

She’s right.

For additional reading, Garden and Gun has an article about the Magnolia’s allure that you might enjoy.  And for the record, I am always happy to take blog requests!  I can’t promise I will get to all of them, but I will certainly take note of requests and try to get to them when I can.  On any given day, the Daily Deac content is my best guess at what would be fun/enjoyable/useful, but if there are topics/subjects/pictures you are hoping that I’ll cover, email me at and I will do my best.

Have a great long weekend, Deac families!

— by Betsy Chapman5 27 16 mags 8 5 27 16 mags 9

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The Howler – Wake’s Yearbook

I received a message yesterday from VC Cushing (’17), the editor-in-chief of the Howler, Wake’s yearbook.  She wanted to let parents and families know about how their students (or family members) can purchase the yearbook.  Her information is below:

The 2015-2016 Howler (Wake’s yearbook) is now available! Your student should have received information about how to purchase the book, but you can visit to receive step by step instructions. The yearbook covers every student organization, academic department, athletic team, and all of the exciting events that happened during this school year. This year the staff worked particularly hard to include as many events and students as possible, and a record breaking amount of students are featured in the book. Please visit for more information or contact the editor-in-chief, VC Cushing, at

My own Howlers were things I cherished, particularly in the summers between semesters and once I graduated.  Please encourage your Deacs to get one if they wish.

— by Betsy Chapman

Belated Blog

I was so busy at my office yesterday that 4 pm rolled around and I realized I’d missed the Daily Deac deadline.  Oops! (and sorry).

Here’s a little bit about what I observed on campus yesterday.  It was lovely weather – low 80s and sunny but with a nice light breeze.  Not too humid yet.

20090630meadow8552I took a walk at lunch up through Reynolda Village and by the long green space in front of Reynolda House.  As in some years past, it looks like the landscaping folks are letting these yellow wildflowers grow all over the fields (vs. cutting them down as if they were plain grass.)  The effect is pretty spectacular.  This is a pic from years past to show where we’re headed.  If your Deac is here for summer school, I hope he or she will take a walk out there to get a look at it.  For those of you who are film buffs, it reminds me a bit of the scene in E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View, where they go to a field of tall grass with (if memory serves) cornflower blue blossoms all over.  Ours is yellow, but the effect is still the same.  A beautiful flowered meadow.  What’s not to like?

On my way back, I saw a big picnic happening in the back side of Farrell near the fire pits.  The students who are here for the Summer Management Program (aka business boot camp for non-business majors) were having a group luncheon outdoors.  I hear a lot of great things about that program from students who have done it in the past, so if your Deac might want to go that route in a future summer, here is the link to the program.

Finally, from the Wake Forest Magazine Facebook account, this great picture and quote from one of our recent graduates, Stephen Goddard (’16). I had the good fortune of getting to know him a little during his tenure here, and what a joy to watch him grow and flourish over his four years.  And how wonderful to see him post such a happy reflection:

goddard“One week into post grad life and I have had time to reflect upon my four years at Wake. Many thanks to everyone at Wake for creating an environment that made great friendships and memories and allowed me to grow as an individual! We have been blessed with an education that will propel us forward into a life of service to our communities. I’m excited to see where we all use our talents in order to make our lives and the lives of others a joyful and fulfilled journey.” — @stephen_goddard/Instagram


— by Betsy Chapman

The Briefest of Reports

Today the campus is having issues with the wifi and our internet access has been on and off – so this will be the briefest of reports.

Summer session starts tomorrow, so we are seeing students back on campus, hooray!  Residence Life will be busy today getting students checked in and the students can get settled in to their rooms before starting class tomorrow.  For those of you with summer session students, you should know that it is a pretty intense time – essentially taking a semester’s worth of classes and covering it in a 6-ish week timeframe.  Summer school students will have a good deal of work to do daily.  Time management – always critical in college – is even more important during summer session.

Things are going to really heat up this week.  After a lot of rain and cooler temps this past week and into this past weekend, we are looking to hit the 90s this week, I believe for the first time this summer.

new students parents menu finalFor our P’20s – parents/families of the Class of 2020 – your students will soon be receiving a hard copy Forestry 101 manual, which will be their guidebook for Orientation and everything they need to do this summer.  There is a parents and families checklist inserted into that book; be sure you get your copy.  If you have not already discovered it, we have a Parents and Families section on the New Students website (see the bottom left purple menu of any page) with lots of stuff you should take a look at – advice, helpful info, etc.

Also for P’20s, we have New Student Receptions that we are planning.  If one is in your area, we’d love to see you.   We typically send an email and a postcard to P’20 families who live within what WFU has designated as that city’s club code – however, you do not have to have received a formal invitation to register.  Any new family can sign up!  We don’t typically mail to folks outside of maybe an hour’s drive from the event because we don’t want to make this seem like a command performance (these receptions are all optional), but don’t let the lack of a formal invite keep you from signing up if you wish to.

Upperclassmen families, we are always looking for some upperclassmen students to attend these receptions to help field Q&A.  Right now I am seeking a few upperclassmen students to attend New Student Receptions in Boston (6/9), Atlanta (6/12) and NYC (6/15 – not yet on the website; see wifi issues above!  hopefully tomorrow).  If your Deac is going to be any of those areas and wants to attend, have him/her email me at with the one they wish to attend.  We only need a few students at each, so I’ll slot them in first-come, first-served.

— by Betsy Chapman

All That’s Left

We had a terrible pelting rain this morning – had that happened yesterday, it would have been a disastrous Commencement.  A quick look at the Quad Cam shows that the Commencement chairs and stage are still up as of 3:30 on Tuesday.  Had it been sunny today, you could have watched the dismantling of the stage and the chairs – perhaps you can see it tomorrow.

Most of the staff today is tired. Commencement is an all-hands-on-deck kind of operation, and I heard more than one colleague talk about falling asleep on the couch lastnight at a very early time for them.  It wasn’t just the staff who planned and worked Commencement and the faculty marshals and others who had an early and busy day yesterday; our Residence Life staff had to get all the graduates checked out of their residence halls too.  Busy all around.

Normally as soon as Commencement is over, summer construction projects begin. They will be working on Poteat residence hall this summer, a similar internal makover to the rooms, just as they did with Kitchin last year. There is tons of work going on in and around Reynolds Gym too.

We still have a week before the first session of Summer School starts, and from my perspective, I wish it to be a slow one 🙂

— by Betsy Chapman

Commencement and New Students Website

P’16s – your Big Day is almost here! There are tons of seniors back from Beach Week/Postexams who are mobbing the Quad right now picking up their Commencement tickets and caps and gowns from the Bookstore.  It’s a happy sight to see.

If you haven’t been keeping an eye on the Quad Cam, the chairs continue to be set out, and our Commencement stage is set up. The sky is blue, the clouds are thick, the trees are green. This is exactly the kind of weather we want for Monday.

I am a superstitious person and a worrier to boot, so I don’t like to look at the weather until nearly the very last minute.  However, you must all have been doing your prayers and invocations (thank you!) because the 5 day forecast looks fantastic.  This is as close to the ideal Commencement forecast as we could have – so keep those good vibes coming.

If this is not your Commencement year, you can still catch the action with the Commencement livestream, which will be broadcast at 9 am Monday on the main WFU page (

We also have an announcement for the newbies – our P’20 parents and families!  The New Students website is also up – so P’20s, let your Deacs know they need to be consulting this now and throughout the summer.  Their hard-copy Forestry 101 books (a manual for Orientation) will be mailed to their permanent address in a couple of weeks.  There will be a separate checklist for parents and families in the book, so make sure they give you your part!

new students parents menu finalP’20s, there is a Parents and Families section of the New Students website just for you.  I am linking here to the main parents page with deadlines and action items that are will be in your paper checklist.  However, there are scads of other goodies on other pages – so be sure to scroll down to the bottom left of any page, where you will see the purple Parents and Families menu, and check out those pages too.

We have started making some of our New Student Receptions pages live, so for our new families, sign up for one if it is in your area.  We will be doing a sort of virtual New Student Reception for folks who cannot attend – more info about that closer to July once I get my act together :).  For our returning parents and families, we always want to have some current upperclassmen Deacs at these events, so if your student wants to be a goodwill ambassador for the new ones, please have them email me at to talk about where they might like to attend.

As I think about our seniors leaving, I recall an old commercial I loved.  It was about cancer survivors, and one woman in the commercial said “In life you take the bitter with the sweet. But I plan on ending up with more sweet.”  So let’s all focus on the joy of our seniors celebrating Commencement and knowing they will go forth into the world well prepared to live with meaning and purpose – and not how much we’ll miss them.

— by Betsy Chapman


Everybody Pray for Good Weather

Since Commencement is coming up on Monday, now is the time to start sending all prayers, positive thoughts, good vibes, etc. for us to have great weather.  So please, take a moment to think good thoughts for us.  Everyone wants to graduate on the Quad.

And for those of you who like to watch the activity on campus, keep your eyes on the Quad Cam.  You’ll see all sorts of moving and shaking as we get ready for the big day!

— by Betsy Chapman

Photo of the Day – Part 2

Since I am on the road, thought I would show you my top 10 all time favorite Wake pictures from my Daily Deac archive.

Hope you enjoy!  These are in no particular order, by the way.

— by Betsy
the shot AP file photo 20101019dance9763 20090421carnival1177 1-24-14-pink-chapel 12-31-13-arch-interfaith 20090127brittni1581 20130325insideout1538 20121211tables1299 acc championship mist field Chapman


Photo of the Day

The Daily Deac is on the road – so for the next couple of days, we’ll give you a few of our favorite pictures from Ken Bennett’s archive.

Today’s topic is Commencements past.  Hopefully this will give all our parents and families something to look forward to when their Deac’s time comes.

And a belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the special women in the Wake Forest family. Whether you are a Deac mom, stepmom, grandmom, aunt, or other gentlewoman raising one of our Deacs, we celebrate and salute you!

— by Betsy Chapman

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A Message to Our P’16s

This is the time of year that is bittersweet for me.  I am so excited to welcome our new Class of 2020 (and their P’20 parents and families) to campus, but I am sad to see our Class of 2016 graduate and have them (and their P’16 parents and families) leave us.

P’16s, I have been privileged to know some of your kids.  I wish I knew them all.  10 of them I had as advisees, and I have had a number of others make their way to my office for some reason or other.  I probably met between 125-150 of the Class of 2016 at their New Student Receptions in the summer of 2012.  Others I have come to know through activities or events on campus.

They are wonderful young men and women, and you are deservedly proud of them.   I have been amazed by their talent, their boundless energy, their service, their desire for peace and justice for the world, their sense of fun, and their love of Wake.  My fondest wish is for them all to go on to live lives of meaning and purpose, full of love and happiness.  I wish that for you too, P’16s.

On any given day I don’t know who reads the Daily Deac.  Some of you have written me over the years, others have written in recent days as Commencement approaches.  Those mean the world to me.

So many thanks to all of you – for entrusting your kids to Wake Forest.  For all you have done to support us – whether that is via the Parents’ Campaign, being a cheerleader in your home town, recommending students to look at Wake – whatever.  For reading the Daily Deac and letting me have a little piece of your WFU experience.

I hope to pass you on the Quad at Commencement and will give a big cheer for all of your kids.  Even though it is theirs (and your) time to go, please know that you will always be part of the WFU family.

And because I am an infinitely sappy person, and because you are the right generation to appreciate this, I thought I would share a little video with you 🙂

— by Betsy Chapman