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Spring? And Senior Orations

This weekend we had our first hints of spring.  The weather was sunny and warm and beautiful.  It was the kind of weekend where it was not ridiculously warm, but if you sat outside in the sun for a while you might begin to feel a hint of sunburn on your cheeks or arms.   On campus you could see the shoots of daffodils beginning to pop up, and the pink blooms of the cherry trees are starting to hint at opening.

Spring at Wake is a glorious thing.  And after all the cold and grey and snow and winter, I think the campus is eager for it.  Unfortunately, today it feels cold, and it looks like the 60s we felt over the weekend are going to evaporate later this week.

Wake celebrated a milestone last Thursday, and that was Founders’ Day Convocation, recognizing our 180th year of existence as an institution of higher education.  Each year, three students are selected to deliver an oration on Founders’ Day that addresses how they have changed during their four years at Wake Forest.

The winners of the 2013 Senior Orations Competition are:

These are excellent orations and well worth a read.  They provide unique and compelling perspectives, and we congratulate these three young men for their fine work.  We’ll also be running some of the other Senior Oration Finalists in coming days at the Daily Deac.

Founders’ Day also is the time when many faculty awards are given – and you can see some of those winning faculty members here.

Founders’ Day Convocation – Today at 4 pm

There is an important event in the life of the University this afternoon at 4 pm in Wait Chapel.  It is Founders’ Day Convocation.  Convocations are defined as follows, according to Wikipedia:  ”A convocation (Latin, “calling together”, translating the Greek ἐκκλησία ekklēsia) is a group of people formally assembled for a special purpose.”  Normally in a university setting, it is an all-call assembly for an academic purpose – to welcome new students at the beginning of their orientation, or to provide a venue for the president or other speakers to address the campus community, typically with some ceremony or recognitions (such as faculty awards, advising awards, etc.)

The Founders’ Day Convocation has a very special twist to it, and that is that we will have three members of the Class of 2014 read their Senior Orations.  These are papers they have written and submitted for consideration for this honor.  In past years, these have been really arresting speeches – sometimes reflections of a favorite WFU experience, other times on a challenge or personal growth the students had while in school.  They are always very moving.

Three will read theirs aloud today, and later today or tomorrow those should be posted on the Wake website (we’ll link to it).  There were ten finalists for Senior Orations, and most years the finalists have granted permission for me to reprint their orations here in the Daily Deac.  If they do so again, we’ll post them throughout the next couple of weeks.

Bottom line: encourage your students to attend.  There are only 8 or so Convocations in a student’s time at Wake Forest, and there is something to be said for some academic pomp and circumstance, as well as hearing from their peers.  Plus, there is a reception following, and your students can get some free food and mingle with the faculty, which is something that not every school does.  Encourage yours to take advantage of this great event.

More information from an email I received about Founders’ Day Convocation is below.


Please join us Thursday, February 20th at 4:00 p.m., as the Wake Forest community of students, faculty, and staff gather in Wait Chapel for the Founders’ Day Convocation. 

Seniors Michael HunterDavid Inczauskis, and Melvin Washington will present their winning orations.  Faculty awards for teaching, research, mentoring, and service will be presented to individuals from the College departments of Biology, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, and Religion and from the School of Law.  President Hatch will present this year’s Medallion of Merit to Margaret Supplee Smith, the Harold W. Tribble Professor Emerita. The Medallion of Merit is the highest honor bestowed by the University.

A reception following the Convocation will be held in the Lobby of Scales Fine Arts Center for all attendees. Hope to see you there!

Seen Around Campus

Today started out as a grey and rainy day, but is now a beautiful sunny afternoon and probably 60ish degrees.  I had to walk to the center of campus this morning and had to go off campus later in the day, and the difference between the am and pm students I saw was startling.  Early in the day when it was still nasty outside, the students were in their rain gear – parkas and hoodies and the like – but now that it is warm I saw some shorts on guys and skirts with bare legs on the lady Deacs.  Hopefully the sun will continue.  I get the sense from everyone that they are ready for spring.

On the Quad earlier was what looked like a sidewalk sale getting ready to happen – clothes and accessories, mostly for the women, were being unloaded from a big truck.  As I got closer to the ZSR Library, I saw a big group of touring prospective students and parents.  As we get closer to Spring Break for high schoolers, these sorts of visits are going to pick up.  Inside the ZSR, the new cork floor in the atrium looks great.  Starbucks was packed at 11 am, which is not much of a surprise.  Coffee reigns supreme.

intramural sports regI saw a flyer today for 4th Quarter intramural sports registration.  If your student likes sports and has not gotten involved with a group, this could be a wonderful outlet for him or her to meet new friends, get some exercise, and maybe even earn some bragging rights.  Campus Recreation has a whole host of great programs.

One other item to note – campus received an email today from Student Health about illness on campus.  You can read the full message online.   My takeaway is that everyone ought to practice “common sense” hygiene measures – although in truth we ought to be doing that sort of thing all the time.  Rest assured that if your student does need to see the doctors in the Student Health Service, they are all fantastic.  I would send my son to them at any time.

TEDxWakeForestU – This Weekend

Today’s Daily Deac was written by Michael Tantum, a senior from Pennyslvania.  I met him during the fall semester and he told me about the great plans for the TEDx conference, which will be held this weekend.   Michael wanted to be sure that parents and families knew about this wonderful opportunity to hear from innovative, creative, and inspiring speakers.  We hope at minimum you’ll encourage your students to attend – but if you want to attend too, I know Michael and his TEDx team would love to see you in Wait Chapel.

Here’s Michael’s message to Wake Forest families.


Dear Wake Forest Parents and Families,

This Saturday, February 22nd, Wake Forest University will host its 3rd annual TEDx conference. TEDx may sound familiar;  they are independently organized conferences in the same format as the famous TED talks.  The concept behind these talks is to have inspirational people discuss their “ideas worth spreading.”  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and most of the speakers are centered around those core concepts.

The TEDxWakeForestU conference was originally started in 2012 by student activist and campus leader, Lucy Lan, in order to promote technology entrepreneurship here on the Wake Forest campus.  With this in mind, she was able to bring a multitude of speakers from many disciplines to educate the Wake Forest community.  This event was a bigger success than she could have imagined, with over 1,000 attendees and immeasureable impact on the Wake Forest community.

This year’s conference theme is “Daring to Endeavor,” encompassing the entrepreneurial spirit, originality, and drive of our speakers.  These people come from very diverse backgrounds and disciplines; however, they all share an intense passion that they have acted upon to create something very special.  Each of the speakers are entrepreneurs in their own way and we are happy to welcome them to campus. This year’s speakers include the lead developer from Khan Academy, a data scientist at Uber (mobile app for ride sharing), founder of the US Whitewater Center in Charlotte, founder and co-editor of ORIGIN magazine, and bestselling author of “What is your What?” along with several others.

I wanted to take this opportunity to personally invite you to attend this event. I am extremely excited and I truly hope each of you can make it!  The planning committee has been working hard to make this conference successful and educational to the Wake Forest, Winston Salem, and North Carolina communities. My hope is to have each attendee leave this year’s talks and see the world through “new eyes.”  I expect a large attendance for this event like previous years.   In addition, I hope that you encourage your student to attend.  Please register on our website at and check out the speaker’s bios.  The event starts at 12 PM on Saturday and will last approximately 4-5 hours with two breaks.  Admission is free for students, faculty, staff and $10 for adults.

Thank you and I hope to see you at the 2014 TEDxWakeForestU conference.


Michael Tantum (’14)
Executive Director, TEDxWakeForestU

Well That Was Fun

Happy Monday to you, Deac families.  It’s a regular day of classes today – the first full day since last Tuesday.

All told, Winston-Salem probably got snow in the 6-10 inches range, depending on where you live.   Though it was warmer yesterday (the 40s) and sunny, there is still a lot of snow on the ground in places that don’t get sun.  We had gotten some freezing rain on top of the snow, so the snow had a crunchy hard layer on top that is harder to melt than the fine powdery stuff.  You can also see a fair amount of piled-up snow on the sides of streets from where plows pushed it.  The main roads look pretty good, but there are icy patches that have frozen overnight.

I ran into a Wake Forest student I know at the movies on Saturday and asked her whether she was surviving the snow.  On the contrary, she said the students were all loving it.  There were a number of great pictures of the Quad and snowmen being posted on Facebook and Instagram (check out Wake Forest Magazine on Instagram for some).  I was keeping an eye on the Quad Cam and it looked like a lot of students out there having a blast.

But for now, back to the old routine.  Classes begin again.  And temperatures for later in the week look like they will reach the 60s, so the snow won’t be here for long.

School Closed Again

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our Deac families and their students.  I don’t know if love is in the air, but there was certainly plenty of snow and cold in the air.

School is closed again today.  I have not been to campus myself, as the roads where I live are in no condition for driving yet.  However, I have been keeping an eye on campus via the Quad Cam, and was impressed yesterday afternoon to see a number of snowdeacs being built.

As always, if we have news or information to share from campus, it will be posted on the main Parents’ Page.

To close out this snowy week, we’ll look ahead to an event taking place next week.  Our friends in the Learning Assistance Center have passed along information about a workshop they are offering to students.

“The Study Smarter, Not Harder workshop series will introduce WFU students to a number of helpful strategies that will improve academic performance. Specific areas to be covered include time management, test anxiety, and active studying.

Our first workshop for the spring semester is scheduled for next Wednesday, February 19, from 5:00-6:00 in room 162 in Greene Hall.”

These kinds of offerings are wonderful extras for students, and hopefully many will take advantage of the opportunity to hone their study skills and be more effective.

Hope your Deacs take advantage of this – and hope they have been enjoying the snow and a couple days out of class.   Have a great weekend, y’all!

Snow Day!

Today campus is closed, Deac families.  Take a look at the Quad Cam and you can see why.  (Note: the Quad Cam is best viewed on a desktop, not a mobile device.  We’re having a glitch with the mobile users we’re trying to fix, bear with us.)

It’s been a little difficult to judge just how much snow came down yesterday.  From the vantage point of my house, the deck rail looked like it had maybe 5-6 inches by dinnertime.  However, much of lastnight was a sleet event, and you could hear the sleet clicking against the windows – sometimes with a nice roaring wind to accompany it.  Therefore, the snow got tapped down a bit by the sleet.

This morning has been a solid, heavy snow.  It is coming down in big, chunky flakes now.  And if yesterday’s snow seemed to be finer and not a wet, snowball-packing snow, today’s looks like it might be better for snowballs and snowmen.

ARAMARK/Campus Dining has announced some abbreviated dining hours due to weather, but rest assured your students will still be able to get food in the Pit.

Hope you are warm, dry, and safe wherever you are.  Right now what I wouldn’t give to be in sunny California!

It’s Coming

There is no doubt about it.  Snow is coming.  The only questions remaining are “exactly when?” and “how much?”  The Weather Channel is predicting 6-10 inches of snow, but we are still seeing some variations in accumulations.  So right now we are playing the waiting game.

As of first thing this morning, classes are on as scheduled.  Should there be a need to cancel classes or work on a different time schedule, those weather announcements are made in a number of ways.  Your students should keep an eye on their email and the WFU web site.  Be assured that campus has seen snow many times before and we do a good job ensuring everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Some of you have been keeping an eye on the Quad Cam to see what campus looks like.  I’ve heard from a couple of you (particularly on mobile devices or tablets) that in recent days the picture was not always coming through live.  We’ve relayed that message to our tech folks and they are looking into it, so we appreciate your patience.

One of the most fun traditions of snowstorms on campus has gone the way of the dinosaur.  In the 80s and 90s, when you went to the Pit to eat, you got a cafeteria tray to carry your food.  (For sustainability reasons and avoiding water waste, we don’t do trays anymore).  But back in the day, students ‘borrowed’ the trays and used them for sleds.  There was a great hill between Carswell and Calloway Hall (which is now the site of a building, Greene Hall) where we used to sled, typically at night.  The Pit trays at some point would get buried in the snow, and we’d lose track of them.  So then days later when all the snow melted, the grassy areas all over campus were littered with trays.  It was a really funny image.

Stay warm and dry, Deac families!


Finally, we have one other item to share with you.  The Daily Deac was contacted late yesterday by a Spanish class here who is looking to do a project for Valentine’s Day.   There is a limited opportunity to have this group deliver a rose to your student on Friday.  I talked to one of the organizers to try and gauge their plans for inclement weather and such, and she assured me that they were going to deliver these flowers snow or no snow.

So I am passing this along to you on behalf of Spanish 380.  This is the first time they have planned and organized such a project, so I can’t say I have ever used their service or seen how they work.  But because they were in a pinch to try and reach families, I said I’d give them a shout out in the blog.  The details they have provided are below should you be interested.


Hello Fellow Wake Forest Parents!

Valentine’s Day is only a few days away! Many of you may have already sent packages, cards, and goodies. But for those parents who have not had the time or opportunity, NOT TO WORRY!

We are the SPN 380 Class offering you the opportunity to purchase DOOR DELIVERY OF FLOWERS to your child.

ORDER NOW while supply last. Only 50 red and 50 pink roses are available!


Why are some of the reasons you might consider getting a rose your student?

- It’s Valentine’s Day and you want to make sure your child feels the love

- Gifts make everyone feel happy and special

-It will make your child’s day and be an incentive to call home and thank you


How does it work?

Click on this link Next, click on the “flores” tab. Upon selecting from one of our service packages, each customer has the opportunity to write a special message and select the delivery day. SNOW or NO SNOW, we will deliver. It’s a really thoughtful gift and just a few clicks of love away!

How can parents sign their students up for Flores in the Forest?

Parents and students can find more information and order from our website


Still uncertain about logistics?

You can contact the class professor Dr. Alan Jose at or Clark Scroggin at


We’re Playing “Guess How Much Snow?”

Greetings from campus, Deac families!  Your students got to see a bunch of snow yesterday, though none of it stuck to the ground.  It started snowing early – big, chunky flakes at first, and then it tapered off to smaller flakes throughout the day.  At times it was more drizzle than snow.

And like so much of the rest of the country, we are getting wildly varying reports of what kind of issues that Snowstorm Pax will bring us.  We are hearing everything from 1-3 inches with possibility of some ice on top of it, to 8-12 inches.  If you are from the North or the Midwest (or any part of the country that is used to dealing with a lot of snow), the prospect of 8-12 inches would perhaps not be a Major Event, but it sure will be in Winston-Salem if it happens.  Just an inch or two of snow routinely closes K-12 schools for days, so if we get The Big One there will be a lot of impact for those of us with young kids.

The good news is that campus is well-equipped and we have a fantastic Facilities department that works to salt sidewalks and plow campus roads, etc.  The difficulty we face as a small city in the South is that we do not have a small army of salt trucks and plows to get rid of the snow.  So if it really does come in the 8-12″ variety, it will be interesting commuting for a few days.

Last time I checked, it looked like the beginning of the snow could be sometime on Wednesday.  Looks like there could be some snow starting late morning, with another big wave at night.  For students on campus, they might wish to stock up on a few foodstuffs in their residence halls if they don’t want to venture out to the Pit or other eateries in the snow.  For those seniors living off campus, they might wish to make sure they have enough food in their refrigerators in case they need to hunker down for a day or two.

As a reminder, if there is a weather event that would require classes to be delayed or canceled, we announce that in a number of ways.  Please tell your students to be attentive to their email and/or the WFU web site.  And of course above all to be safe.

If we do get an enormous snow and classes are cancelled, do yourself a favor and check out the Quad Cam.  There are few things more fun than watching ‘grown up’ children playing in the snow like they were young kids again.   You might witness an epic snowball fight, or the makings of creative and amazing snowmen.  In college, just like in elementary school, snow days can make the students giddy.  And especially when you have students from Texas or Arizona or California or Florida who have never seen snow in their hometowns, it is a thing of beauty to watch them play in a really big snow.

Wherever you are, Deac families, we hope that you fare well in this storm.  We’ve heard about plenty of snow and ice related misery this year, both those to the north and south of Winston-Salem.  May you all keep your power and be safe!


Friday at Zick’s

20130820zicks10354I had a meeting on Friday afternoon at Zick’s, the on-campus pizza/pool/pub spot.  As we sometimes do at the Daily Deac, here is an impressionistic view of the 20ish minutes I had to peoplewatch and observe.

I see:

- One student at a the high bar by the windows, studying.  Though there were tall chairs there, he was standing up doing his reading.  He was wearing a white hat with what looked like the Wake name on it.

- Both pool tables are in use.  Two groups of two male students, casually dressed.

- Out the window,  there is a group of students mid-Quad who are filming something.  A blonde girl and a dark haired guy appear to be the crew, and the girl appears to be the one in charge.  There are three guys in North Face jackets and decent khaki type pants who are the subjects of the film.  [During the time I am there, the three guys leave and the girl and guy crew move the camera to a couple of different spots on the Quad to get B-roll.]

- Lots of good fashion peoplewatching.  There is a young man in a navy peacoat, and I find myself wishing for more peacoats on campus.  Really a style that suits almost anyone.  Girls – not surprisingly – are sporting a lot of tall boots, but I see the occasional short boot.  It’s still cold enough where some girls are wearing scarves, but they are loosely tied – more for fashion than warmth.

- Dogs.  During my time I saw what looked like a mother and elementary school son walking an adult German Shepherd and a small black puppy (a lab?)  Also saw a female student walking a dog that looked like a Bichon Frise.

- Three TVs in Zicks, all tuned in to sports stations (2 ESPN variations and a CBS Sports).  I am surprised the Sochi Olympics are nowhere to be seen.

- Sunlight.  It’s weak, as there are thin, stringy clouds in the sky.  Still, after all this cold weather, I’ll take the sun any way I can get it.

- Sudden bursts of people as it gets closer to 1:55 after 1:00 classes ended.  The traffic picks up for a few minutes then dissipates.

- A young woman enters with a to-go green recyclable Pit container.  She sits at the high bar, puts her head on the container, and appears to fall asleep.


I hear:

- Piped in music.  My Shazam app tells me that one of the songs is Shakira’s “Can’t Remember to Forget You” (featuring Rihanna).  The musical choices are largely peppy and upbeat.

- An overheard conversation that had kind of a grad-school feel to it.  A guy and a girl speaking, and they were covering subjects that seemed more academic and mature than the typical Friday afternoon visit.

- From a distance, the chatter of the staff working at Zick’s in the kitchen/ordering area.  Generally it’s pretty quiet.

- An enthusiastically loud “Que Tal?” in Spanish as a new group of students comes in and spots people they know.  They slide into a booth.

- The sharp crack! of the cue ball as one of the pool playing groups breaks.  Followed by softer, more subtle finesse strikes as they try to sink the balls.


I smell:

- Pizza.  It is not an overwhelming greasy smell, more an appealing and faint whiff of pizza dough.

- Cool fresh air as the front door opens and people walk in or out.


I feel:

- Smooth table surface, dotted with a few crumbs I brush off before my meeting guests arrive.

- Quick, cold bursts of wind as the doors open and close.


I taste:

- Regrettably, nothing.  It was a post-lunch meeting.  I can say, though, the pizza smelled really good.


That’s the view from the afternoon.  Hope you enjoyed it.