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Seen and Heard – and a Preview of Coming Attractions

Here’s a “minute from Wake Forest” today.

4 13 16 14 13 16 3It was a chilly morning, so I was hoofing it as fast as I could across the Quad to Reynolda, where I had a meeting.  As I scurried by, I saw all these tags hanging from the trees.  They are factoids leading up to Arbor Day. More about that below:

“D.E.S.K. has been rescheduled to 3:00-6:00 pm April 19. This coincides with the campus Arbor Day Celebration from 4:006:00 pm. Please help us communicate to students that they are invited to attend the Arbor Day Celebration for any portion of time, before or after participating in D.E.S.K.

All Arbor Day volunteers earn a coveted Earth Month t-shirt and a grassfed-beef burger cookout at the end of the event. We have amended the Arbor Day sign-up sheet to include a column asking students to identify whether or not they intend to stay for dinner; we don’t want to prepare food for students who are unable to stay.

4 13 16 64 13 16 2The student organization and residence hall with the highest percentage of participation will earn $50 in their account. The sorority and fraternity with the highest percentage of participation will receive a letter to their national organizations.  All students and staff members should sign up here.”

I also saw two students walking – a good looking boy and a pretty girl.  The girl looked like she was going to cut across the Quad grass and walk there instead of on the sidewalk.  Her guy friend took her by the arm and said “no no no no no – you can’t do that! They work too hard keeping the grass looking like that, you can’t walk on the grass.”  This young man is too young to have known Dr. Smiley, but in my time he was famous for telling you “the grass cries” when you walk on it.  Dr. Smiley would’ve been proud of this young man.

4 13 16 54 13 16 4Once in Reynolda, I saw these flyers – one for the Riverrun film festival (still going on this weekend, I believe) and also some info on online classes.

Finally, I got word of an event tomorrow on NPR you parents and family members might want to tune in to.  Our own Andy Chan will be on the Diane Rehm show on NPR.  Here’s more:

Andy Chan, vice president of personal and career development, will participate in a live discussion on “The Diane Rehm Show” on navigating the transition from school to the workplace. The show will air Thursday, April 14, from 11 a.m. to noon. Listeners can join the live program on “The Diane Rehm Show” website. The discussion will also be archived and available to listeners after the program.

With graduation season just around the corner, students throughout the country are preparing to transition into the workplace. Chan will join a panel of experts who will be looking at the challenges new grads face and how to address them.  Other guests include:

  • Jeffrey Selingo regular contributor on higher education, the Washington Post; author, “There is Life After College: What Parents And Students Should Know About Navigating School To Prepare For The Jobs Of Tomorrow”
  • Anthony Carnevale director and research professor, Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University
  • Kristen Hamilton CEO and co-founder, Koru — a company offering immersive training programs to get college graduates job ready

As a national leader in rethinking the college to career experience, Wake Forest has been at the forefront of transforming the traditional, outdated concept of “career services” into a holistic, four-year approach to personal and career development. Ever since Wake Forest convened Rethinking Success, a 2012 conference that highlighted the value of a liberal arts education for 21st Century careers, the University – as well as its career and mentoring experts – have been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Today, Money, Business Insider, Fast Company, Forbes, CNN and USA Today as well as higher education publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.

“The Diane Rehm Show” is a National Public Radio call-in-show based in the United States. In October 2007, “The Diane Rehm Show” was named to the Audience Research Analysis list of the top ten most powerful national programs in public radio, the only talk show on the list. The show, produced by WAMU, and hosted by Diane Rehm, is estimated to have more than 2 million listeners.

— by Betsy Chapman



Student Problem-Solving

I am doing a talk tomorrow with some parents of high school seniors. In prepping for that, I was trying to think of some of the most critical pieces of advice – and I came back to the idea of letting go, and letting students learn problem-solving skills.  Students do that best, of course, when they do that independently.

We all know as adults that life throws us curve balls, challenges, losses, and disappointments. Part of the key to building resiliency is how we handle those moments when they happen.

For college students, a challenging situation could be a bad grade/a difficult course, not getting into the student organization of choice/not getting a leadership position they had hoped for, not getting into a particular class during registration or not getting their ideal choice of roommate or residence hall.  The list goes on.

I’m a mom myself (P’27 hopeful), and I know how awful it is when your child is upset about something. And sometimes I have to sit on my hands to not reach out and fix it for ’27. I suspect many of you do the same.

At times like those when you have a student upset about something life has handed him or her, I hope it might be helpful to remember our tried and true saying in the Parent Programs office – Stop, Drop, and Roll.  (You may recall the Stop, Drop and Roll Student Problem-Solving flyer).  Here’s the gist of it:

If your student calls you with a complaint, disappointment, or problem, rather than jump right into FIX IT! Mode, do this instead:

Stop and take a deep breath when your student contacts you in a flutter.  Is their situation REALLY, something he or she cannot solve on his or her own?  If you fix the problem for your student, has your student really learned anything or developed self-reliance and independence?  If it is a disappointment and there is not a fix, you can listen and respond with empathy, maybe even share a time you were disappointed. It is hard not to get what we want, but it is also real life to have to deal with disappointments.  Better to learn how to handle disappointment now, and in a healthy way, than have the first big disappointment come at your student’s first job where the stakes are that much higher.

Drop the urge to reach out and fix things yourself or provide instructions on how your student should handle the situation.  Instead, push back with questions: What do you think you might do?  What are your options?  What campus offices might have resources?  What have you already tried?   

Roll with it!  I know, I know, easy to say, hard to do.  Let your student do the problem-solving on his or her own (even if the solution is different from how you might have handled it).  Struggling with adversity builds resilience and helps your students learn that they are capable and resourceful.  Overcoming disappointment this time makes the next time easier to bear.

While as parents we hate to see our kids unhappy or struggling through a problem, there are some benefits to learning to handle what life throws at you.  Think back to a time when you were 18 or 19 and had an issue or a disappointment in front of you.  If you managed to solve a problem on your own, did you feel like you accomplished something big?  Did you feel stronger? more independent? capable? proud?  If you rebounded after a disappointment, did you find that a few days or weeks down the line, it really wasn’t as big a deal as it seemed at the time? Having space to process disappointment often brings perspective.

So when you get that frantic email/phone call/text/IM, sit on your hands :)  As adults, you know how to problem-solve, and you know how to keep disappointment in perspective.  It’s your students time to flex those problem-solving or emotional muscles so they can grow strong.

And that’s [part] of what I will tell my high school parents tomorrow.

— by Betsy Chapman


Weekend Recap

This past Friday was Campus Day for Accepted Students (the first of two, the other will be Friday, April 22nd).  There were 400ish prospective families with us, and of those I talked to during the registration period, it seemed pretty evenly split between students who were definitely enrolling, and those who were still kicking the tires on Wake vs. [other school].

It was a beautiful day in the sense that the flowers were blooming and the sun was out, but it was COLD COLD COLD.  Felt like mid 30s during the morning, which is very much atypical this time of year.

Around lunchtime, I went to Bistro ’34 in North Campus Dining Hall (along with tons of Campus Day visitors). Folks, this is a great reminder that if your Deacs don’t normally frequent Bistro ’35, they ought to head over there for a meal.  Whereas Shorty’s has a more casual feel (think a little more burgers and sweet potato fries), Bistro ’34 feels more upscale. My dining companions and I feasted on a delicious and heart tomato florentine soup, falafel, a grilled salmon quinoa salad, and a couple of good sandwiches.  Behind our table was Coach Danny Manning and some of his staff, an added bonus.

At the very end of Campus Day, you might recall, Wait Chapel empties out onto the Quad and the marching band and cheerleaders are there to play and cheer, and the Demon Deacon mascot gets to take his picture with as many new Deacs as wish to get that cherished selfie.  Always a great moment.

Fast forward to the weekend.  It was a busy social time.  In addition to the last showings of the musical and the Words Awake concert, Student Union’s big concert was on Friday night – the Chainsmokers (I confess to not knowing their work). On Saturday was Pro Humanitate Day, where Deacs everywhere could serve in their community to help fight child hunger. Also on Saturday was Lauren Bush Lauren, cofounder of FEED, who was here to give a talk as part of Pro Humanitate Day.  I am also told it was Beach Weekend for some of our fraternities, which seems a darn shame given how cold it was.

4 11 16 zsrSaw this picture on ZSR’s Facebook page this morning – for Deacs who need research paper help, the ZSR has them covered every Monday.  And in the not-too-distant future will be Wake the Library. This is a great article talking about this wonderful innovation from the ZSR, now in its 10th year. Many a finals-stressed student has found a refuge and a haven at the ZSR. They deserve our praise and our support!

— by Betsy Chapman

The Incomparable Ed Wilson (’43)

I’m headed to Raleigh tonight for the Wake Will event there – and I hope to meet a lot of our Raleigh area parents!  I will be looking for people with P’ years on their nametags, but you can look for me too (I’m sporting a black skirt and a black and white top with pink flower at the neck).

Because I am hitting the road, today’s Daily Deac will be brief.  There is a fantastic article on our arguably most-beloved professor and provost emeritus, Ed Wilson (’43).  Every school has a legend, and for generations of Wake Foresters, Dr. Wilson was and remains The One And Only.  Our Wake Forest Magazine staff interviewed him recently, and it is a fun read; I found his ‘who would you invite to dinner’ answer fascinating.

Also wanted to draw your Deacs attention to an event the Office of Wellbeing is promoting for this weekend:

burn it up 2016The Burn It Up” Spring Dance Showcase –  Come support our wonderful dance groups on campus as they take on the stage Sunday night at 5 pm in Brendle Recital Hall, Scales Fine Arts Center! $5 tickets can be purchased at  All proceeds will benefit the Bethesda Center!

Tomorrow night there is a Secrest Artist Series event, the Orlando Consort:

English early-music vocal ensemble The Orlando Consort create a living soundtrack to one of the classics of the silent cinema—Danish director Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. A stunning new evening of film and music that blends the riveting last days of Joan of Arc with French, Burgundian, and British vocal music from the time of Joan.

Finally, an article about college students, the self, expectations, and Chinese philosophy.  From the Wall St. Journal, the article is entitled “The College of Chinese Wisdom” by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh.  It’s tagline reads “Telling young people to discover their true selves causes confusion and anxiety. Better to follow Confucius, who knew that our identities are in constant flux.”  It’s not a superlong read, but it makes some interesting points.  Food for thought if you feel like chewing on it.

— by Betsy Chapman

Two Upcoming Events of Note

I received a message yesterday from one of our History faculty members about an upcoming panel discussion this Thursday that might be of interest to current students, but also to any families who might be visiting for this Friday’s Campus Day.  Here are some details:

Student Panel for History Majors and Minors
Thursday, April 7, 2016
5:00-6:00 PM
Magnolia Room, Reynolda Hall

Four of our graduating seniors who have secured jobs in different fields (business, teaching, and career development) will talk about how they successfully spoke to their prospective employers about the kind of skills that they have learned as History majors and what gives them an edge in a variety of job situations.  Panelists are Mallory Allred (‘16), Carr Cody (‘16), Coleman Craddock-Willis (‘16), Lauren Riley (‘16), and Amy Willard (Office of Personal and Career Development).

This event will be of particular interest to prospective students and their parents as well as current parents to hear from current History students about the value and applicability of History in particular and liberal arts in general. The event is open to anyone. Please RSVP here. Pizza and brownies will be served.  Student Panel April 7 2016

We also have a wonderful conference coming up this Friday and Saturday called Words Awake!:

Words-Awake-Header1WORDS AWAKE! champions and celebrates generations of Wake Forest writers who return to their alma mater to engage the campus, alumni/ae, area schools, the broader Forsyth County and regional communities, and now the world.

WORDS AWAKE! looks back to Wake Forest writers of the past; hears the work of current writers; debates the nature of writing today and tomorrow; inspires Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school students and Wake Forest students; and honors writers important to the heritage of writing at our University.  Wake Forest students, faculty and staff; public school students and teachers; and area writers, readers, and residents all join WORDS AWAKE! poets, screenwriters, novelists, journalists, critics, and prose non-fiction authors to share and shape a common legacy of Wake Forest writers and writing.

Lovers of the written word unite!  See the schedule here.  Register here.


These events are wonderful ways to see what Wake Foresters have done with their liberal arts education, and to be inspired by their stories and their creativity.

Do encourage your students to attend these events if they are of interest!

— by Betsy Chapman

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Happy Monday, Deac families – and it’s a beautiful one here at Mother So Dear.  Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending a reception in honor of Harold Tedford, Professor Emeritus of Theatre, and for whom the Main Stage Theatre has been named.  It was a terrific event, full of theatre and dance alumni and friends, as well as faculty and staff.

Wake Forest sophomore Abby Bowman ('18) is Philia, senior Jay Buchanan ('16) is Hysterium, and junior Eli Bradley ('17) is Pseudolus in the Wake Forest Theatre production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, opening on April 1, 2016 on the Main Stage Theatre. They were photographed in the Scales Fine Arts Center on Monday, March 14, 2016.

Wake Forest sophomore Abby Bowman (’18) is Philia, senior Jay Buchanan (’16) is Hysterium, and junior Eli Bradley (’17) is Pseudolus.

Following the reception was a performance of the Sondheim musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a lilting, sometimes bawdy, delightful musical comedy.  If your students did not see it this past weekend, tell them they should run don’t walk to see it this coming weekend.

Everyone in the cast – from the leads to the dancers to the proteans – was just fantastic.  They were delightfully charming as actors, strong singers, and excellent comedians.  They were clearly having fun with this performance, and there were even moments where the actors came into the audience (my husband was the recipient of a lovely young woman sitting on the edge of his seat as she sang).  There was one extra special moment I won’t spoil – your Deacs will have to go themselves to see it.

It was a gorgeous set as well – colorful and vibrant.  The costumes were stunning – it was directed by alumnus Mike Baron (’92).  So hats off to the director, choreographer, voice coach, and all the cast and crew, not to mention the orchestra, who did a marvelous job with the music. It was a lighthearted and lively 2 1/2 hours and your students will enjoy it.  Read the Winston-Salem Journal’s review here.

All in all, a happy musical and a fitting tribute to celebrate a great name in Wake Forest theatre, our very own Harold Tedford.

— by Betsy Chapman

Shag on the Mag

Shag on the Mag happens tomorrow night, and the SOTM tent is going up today.  This is always a terrific event, with students dressing up and doing shag dancing to beach music, which is a delightful North Carolinian kind of tradition.

You can see some of the pictures of the prep work here.  Also a picture of the Magnolias thrown in for good measure, as one of our Wake Forest Parents Facebook followers had asked to see the magnolias.  Sadly they are not in bloom at present – but when they are, it will be a sight (and scent) to behold.3 31 16 shag 2 3 31 16 shag 3 3 31 16 shag 5 3 31 16 shag

I am hoping that the weather works out for the event. Right now there is some rain predicted, but I would love to see that change so the students can enjoy Shag on the Mag.

And here’s your funny for the day: I once had to explain Shag on the Mag to an Irish parent.  Shag, as you may know, has a very different connotation in Ireland :)

— by Betsy Chapman

The Worry Letter, and the Advice Letter

Happy Monday, Deac families!  I am an enormous fan of the lost art of letter writing.  Many moons ago in 2013, we ran a Daily Deac called “The Worry Letter,” which was one of the blogs on which I got the most feedback from readers.  The idea was to write your student a letter talking about what to worry about – and what not to (because heaven knows, they worry about a lot of things at this age.)

I also recently asked you for advice to give new parents in the Class of 2020, as admissions acceptance letters have (I believe) been mailed.  While I want to compile your advice to new families on a variety of topics (academics, social, etc.), one of our Daily Deac readers sent a copy of a letter he sent his Deac son before starting his freshman year.  It’s a great letter, and he gave me permission to reprint it.

Whether you are an incomng freshman parent or the parent of a senior, it might be a lovely gesture to write your student this kind of letter.  Though this one was meant for the start of school, you could do a reflection at the end of the year, talking about how your student has grown.

Think about it.  This might be something they would cherish forever.  And many thanks to my letter-writing Deac Dad for sharing this.

— by Betsy Chapman

Dear [Son],

I think if we did not send you the list below you would naturally do all of these things anyway because that is the way you have behaved throughout your life to date. But we are parents sending you off to live independently for the next four years so here goes anyway:

1.) Take care of yourself. This means: get plenty of rest (sleep) and exercise, eat properly, don’t overconsume alcohol and follow a sensible and sustainable schedule of work, play and rest.

2.) Form good work habits early. Stay current with your studying and assignments so you don’t fall behind and create avoidable stress or put yourself in a hole academically. Find a good place to study, probably not your dorm room. There will be many temptations to do social things and put off your work but make sure you have your priorities in order. Get your work done before you play. Use the writing center to proof your papers before you turn them in and use tutors if you need help beyond seeing your professors during their office hours.

3.) Stress is a normal part of life and life at Wake might be stressful at times. If you are ever feeling too stressed out, call us – plus you can always seek guidance from any of the resources in place for that purpose on campus. Your parents care about your well-being and your university does too.

4.) Do your best work and don’t cut corners. Achieve whatever grades you earn with integrity. If you do this we will be completely satisfied and proud. Don’t sacrifice honesty for a better grade even if you see some others around you doing it.

5.) Be inquisitive. Look around and get involved in some extra-curriculars that are fun and new to try them out. If you discover you don’t like them, move on. Also, if you seek to join a group or organization that has discretionary selection criteria and you are not accepted, be OK with it and move on. There are many pathways to success and happiness.

6.) Be a good friend. Watch out for your friends and intervene with them or call upon the various professional help resources at Wake if you see them going off track.

7.) Be aware and make your choices intentionally. If you find yourself in a situation that is not right, then walk away.

8.) Treat the women you meet and date with chivalry and respect. The stakes are high here and you always want to be a gentleman.

9.) Carve out some time to reflect periodically. Be in a quiet place and ask yourself…. “Am I on the path I want to be on? Should I change direction? Go faster or slow down?” Periodic self-examination will help ensure that your decisions are intentional and you are spending your time productively toward your goals.

10.) Have fun and know that we are always here for you. This is your rock. We are proud of you and love you. You have worked hard to put yourself in a wonderful position to thrive at Wake and enjoy the experience. Make the most of your four years.

The Great Outdoors

After a couple of chilly days, we’re getting back up to the 70s and magnificent spring weather. And right now, there is no better place to be than outdoors on our beautiful campus.  You’ll see in the photos below that the trees and flowers are really spectacular.

Also to note: your Deacs are taking advantage of the grassy areas to study or relax, and to steal a few moments of joy on the swings.  Way to find those mindful moments outdoors!  It’s good for the body and the mind.

Spring brings tons of smiles and lots of ooh-ing and aah-ing from campus visitors when they see all the beautiful flowers and flowering trees.  Spring also brings us an abundance of pollen, and so it’s time when it is not unusual to hear the sniffling and sneezing of allergy sufferers.  Our Student Health Service ran an article a couple of years ago about seasonal allergies, and now is probably the time to share it once again.

One program note: there is a Purim Open House today from 4-5 pm at the Hillel Lounge in Collins.  There are a number of additional activities in the coming days and weeks surrounding the Jewish holidays – see more here and share with your Deacs if you wish.

Have a great day, Deac families!

— by Betsy Chapman
Farrell Hall, the home of the Wake Forest University School of Business, is lit by the early morning sun on Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

Farrell Hall, the home of the Wake Forest University School of Business, is lit by the early morning sun.

Daffodils bloom on the south campus of Wake Forest University on Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

Daffodils bloom on the south campus of Wake Forest University.

Wake Forest students enjoy a warm spring afternoon outdoors on campus on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

Wake Forest students enjoy a warm spring afternoon outdoors on campus.

Wake Forest students enjoy a warm spring afternoon on the swings on Davis Field on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

Wake Forest students enjoy a warm spring afternoon on the swings on Davis Field.

The cupola of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library is illuminated in the pre-dawn darkness on the Wake Forest campus on Friday, March 18, 2016.

The cupola of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library is illuminated in the pre-dawn darkness.

The bell tower of Wait Chapel is illuminated in the pre-dawn darkness on the Wake Forest campus on Friday, March 18, 2016.

The bell tower of Wait Chapel is illuminated in the pre-dawn darkness.

Best Breakfasts in Winston-Salem

For any of you who might be traveling to campus in the coming weeks – either to spend Easter Weekend with your student, or for move-out in May, today’s Daily Deac is all about food.  Our provost, Rogan Kersh (’86), is guest blogging today to share some of his top picks for best eats.  (Editorial note from Betsy: Rogan nails it with his #1 pick; it’s one of my very favorites).

Top 5 Best Five Breakfast Spots for Parents Visiting Winston-Salem

Weekday or weekend, early or mid-morning: you’ll find rewarding sustenance at each of these.  A later list will cover best weekend brunch spots, but these are day-in, day-out favorites.

#5. Pane e Vino: close proximity to campus, if you’re meeting a son/daughter with morning classes! Best coffee drinks north of Camino Bakery.

#4. Famous Toastery: recently opened in burgeoning Trade Street corridor, the 7th or so of this North Carolina franchise. They get biscuits right.

#3. Midtown Cafe: enormous pancakes buried in fruit, if that’s your thing. But omelets are nicely done, and this is Winston-Salem’s power breakfast spot: arrive early and you’ll see CEOs, nonprofit chairs, university administrators, and religious leaders scattered through the dining room.

#2. Mama Zoe Michael’s: Greek-flavored southern breakfast (think homemade pita in place of biscuits) that never disappoints. Sweet potato hotcakes and breakfast corn pudding…νόστιμο (delicious)!

#1. Mary’s Gourmet Diner (aka Breakfast Of Course): On a once-quiet stretch of Trade Street, Mary’s anchors a flowering of hip–in Winston!–spots like Mission Pizza, Famous Toastery (see #4 above), and Camel City BBQ. Mary’s is low-key and delicious (the cinnamon swirl french toast never disappoints); expect a lively mix of blue- and white-collar workers, the art crowd (check out the Art-o-Mat, a repurposed cigarette vending machine that now dispenses local art works)…and a steady stream of WFU students.  Arrive early on weekends, or prepare for a wait.  Mary herself generally emerges from the kitchen every hour or two to circle through the dining room.

— by Rogan Kersh (’86)