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Happy Thanksgiving!

Like many of your students (I suspect), I am getting started a little early on the Thanksgiving holiday and am looking forward to some time off with family and friends.

Because it is the season of Thankfulness, I wanted to share a few of the things I am thankful for.

I am thankful to be able to write the Daily Deac for you every day.  It warms my heart tremendously when I get an email from one of you saying that I help connect you to your student’s experience, or that something I said resonated with you, or helped you or your Deac.  I wish I could meet all of our readers and thank you in person.  You enable me to get to do something I love.

I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know your sons and daughters.  I don’t get to meet nearly enough of them, but the ones I do are interesting, inspiring, passionate, committed.  Sometimes they are also lost, or scared, or need a sympathetic ear, and its an honor to help them in those times too.

I am grateful for our faculty, staff, and librarians – who I see give to your students in countless ways that you might never see.  Whether it is answering an email late at night, or making time for an extra appointment, or just offering a kind word, I see evidence of truly good, kind, people everywhere on campus.  And that makes this a great place to work.

I am grateful for a rolled Quad.  It means something good has happened, and we all get to celebrate it together.

I am grateful that when times are bad, when we are hurting, we circle the wagons and take care of each other.

I am grateful to work on a campus filled with beauty.  Beauty of the outdoors, beauty of the artwork, beauty of the architecture.

I am grateful for the diversity of people, talent, and life experiences on this campus.  I have learned things from people different from me that have impacted me in profound ways.

I am grateful we believe in Pro Humanitate.  May we all leave this world a little better than we found it.

I am grateful that every time I look at Wait Chapel, I can remember getting married there.

And I am grateful for my Wake Forest friends from college, now scattered all over the US, but who I love just as much as when we were here together.


So thank you, Deac families and readers, for the very important role you play in my Wake Forest experience.

I plan to be back to blogging on Tuesday, December 1st.  Until then, I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

— by Betsy Chapman

Cold But Triumphant Sunday

I so hope your Deacs made the chilly trek to Spry Stadium yesterday afternoon to watch our #1 ranked men’s soccer team take on UNC-Charlotte.  It was a cold and windy day, so dressing warm was a must.

Looked to be a huge crowd, too.  I’ve never had to wait so long tob buy tickets for a game before.  Charlotte fans showed up in decent numbers, but the home field fan advantage was definitely ours.

For most of the first half, there was a lot of action but no scoring.  There were a couple of yellow cards on UNC-Charlotte, and at times it looked more like a wrestling match, the guys were getting physical.  We had a few very promising shots that went just wide, or their goalie had a great save.  If we’d thought that we’d come in and crush their team, we were wrong.  They had good defense.

The 0-0 score went almost to the end of the game.  It was within the last 10 minutes that our very own Jon Bakero made a brilliant goal and the roar that came from Spry’s Army could have been heard from a great distance.  Our guys jumped up onto the wall of Walt Chyzowych alumni hill and hooped and hollered.  Jon Bakero took off his shirt, and underneath it had a shirt on that said SIEMPRE MI [something else, the pic doesn’t capture it].  He got a yellow card for the shirt thing, but from a sheer sense of excitement and rallying the crowd, it was totally worth it.  Pic courtesy of the Wjon bakaroake Forest Sports Facebook page.

UNC-Charlotte tried to even it up but they just couldn’t make it.  At the end, after shaking hands with the other team, our Deacs did their usual loop around the hill, then to the stands, to high five everyone who wanted to lean down over the rail to do it.  God bless our kids, they are so polite.  Here they are, just won a big game, #1 seeds in the country, and easily a third of them would speak to you as they hive fived saying something like “thanks for coming out, guys” or “thanks for being here.”

Classy.  Classy.  Classy.

Looks like our Deacs will take on Indiana at Spry Stadium this coming Sunday 11/29 at 1 pm.  If you live nearby, or if your Deac isn’t coming home for Thanksgiving, this might be the best antidote to the tryptophan coma.


— by Betsy Chapman


Photo Friday

In the interest of full disclosure, today I am at a field trip with my Class of ’27 Deac, so I took the liberty of pre-posting this.

Happy Friday, Deac families!  Hope you are partaking in Black and Gold Friday – wear your best black and gold clothes and be a part of WFU from your hometown.

Wednesday was a really interesting weather day on campus – gray and cloudy and a nice wind, but not too cold – so I took a meandering walk through one of the student parking lots and was checking out what kinds of bumper stickers and magnets were on students’ cars.  To me, it’s always interesting to see what people feel strongly enough about that they want to stick it to their cars.  I took some pics as I went.

Below is just a tiny sliver of the cars I was looking at, but I saw sports bumper stickers, Wake ones, religious organizations or representations, political candidates, state pride, and more.

11 20 15 bumper sticker 9 11 20 15 bumper sticker 3 11 20 15 bumper sticker 2 11 20 15 bumper sticker 8 11 20 15 bumper sticker 7 11 20 15 bumper sticker 1 11 20 15 bumper sticker 6 11 20 15 bumper sticker 5 11 20 15 bumper sticker 4

Couple other quick reminders:  Friday is always a good day to call your Deacs, and because some of them seem a bit stressy about finishing up before Thanksgiving, it might be a great time to send a Deacon greeting.

— by Betsy Chapman



Some miscellaneous news and observations for you today:

The Benson Center has been decorated for the holidays.  There is a great big Christmas tree in the lobby and garland on the railings.  There is a Hanukkah display in the alcove with a Menorah.  I was in a hurry so I didn’t take pictures, but trust me when I say it looks festive and cheerful.

Today is Pitsgiving – so your Deacs can eat some Thanksgiving fare today.  I overheard a conversation between students as I was walking back from my meeting in Benson.  One of them was saying they were going to go through the various stations four times.  Pitsgiving is a charmingly big deal to some of our students – lots and lots of traffic.  May they all have full bellies and turkey-induced-drowsiness later today.  A colleague of mine just returned from Pitsgiving and said the food was quite good.  It’s on all day, I believe, so if your Deac missed it at lunch, go back at dinner.

Thinking about the holidays, a safety note to be aware of.  If you have a senior who lives off campus, particularly in the residential houses near campus, urge your student to pay attention to these safety tips and garbage collection schedule from Residence Life and Housing.  And if your student has valuables – whether jewelry, small electronics, computers, etc., he or she should consider taking them home.

Also, if your student is staying on campus during Thanksgiving, note that Student Health is closed, but they have a nurse on call as well as a list of resources in case your students need it.

We’ve gotten several questions about when is Move-In next fall (for new freshmen as well as upperclassmen students), when is Family Weekend, etc.  The Academic Calendar for Fall 2016 has not been released yet, so we don’t know about Move-In.  Family Weekend can’t be decided until we know the football schedule – which won’t likely be until January if past years hold true.  As soon as we know those dates, we will post them on the Parents’ Page and the Daily Deac.  Hang tight until then.

A final bit of news:  Ta-Nehisi spoke in Wait Chapel this Tuesday night, and he wins the National Book Award on Wednesday night.  Coincidence? 😉

— by Betsy Chapman



Men’s Soccer Is #1

The NCAA Tournament bracket came out for men’s soccer – and we are seeded #1.  Our Deacs will play this Sunday at Spry Stadium at 1 pm; they will face the winner of the Radford-Charlotte game on Thursday.  There’s a nice video with reaction to the #1 seeding and remarks from Coach Muuss.

One of the things he talked about was how vital our community is to this team, and how much our support means to the players and the coaches.  So if your Deac has not yet been to a soccer game, I hope he/she considers attending this one.  Spry Stadium is a great venue, and there is something that feels so collegiate and exciting to sit out in the chilly fall air and cheer on the Deacs.  Our men’s soccer team is such fun to watch – fast as lightning and really in sync with each other.  They move the ball with what looks like effortless skill and grace.  I know it is a ton of effort, but our Deacs make it look easy.

The best part is at the end when the Deacs win:  our players jump up to greet the fans that sit on the hill between Polo Road and the stadium, and then the guys run the length of the stands and high five anyone who sticks their hands down through the railings.  I can tell you that my Class of ’27 soccer-loving son thinks there is nothing cooler than being able to high five our guys. [I might think so, too :)]

Go Deacs!

— by Betsy Chapman



Today Is About Community

I suspect like many of you, I was shocked and horrified to see the events unfolding in Paris on Friday afternoon.  I worried for the French people (I had studied abroad in France while at WFU), but also for our study abroad students – those in France and in other countries, as there are a lot of weekend trips by WFU students to see each other.

Our students’ welfare was at the top of everyone’s minds here.  Our crisis management group got together on Friday evening and Saturday morning to make sure we communicated with campus about the status of the situation (see here  and here) and offered support to anyone who needed it.  Kudos to our Global Programs and Studies office for their comprehensive check ins and communication with students abroad so we could ensure we knew they were safe and accounted for.

11 17 15 5Our Chaplain’s office organized a Steps Towards Peace – a Living Vigil today.  I did this after lunch.  You begin in front of Reynolda Hall, and members of the Chaplain’s office staff ask you to take a slow and contemplative lap around the Quad – either to pray, or to meditate, or to send positive thoughts, or just to think peaceful things.  After you make the lap and return to the front of Reynolda, you can take a piece of cloth and tie it on the prayer pole.  As you can see, there were already a good many participants.  This will run through 8 pm tonight.  This is a way our community can come together and think, pray, grieve, and respond as a community.  I highly recommend it to your students.

So that is a noble example of community on campus.  To take the idea of community – or communal actions – down to a less-serious level, today I also went to the Pit with a couple of friends and colleagues.  Too often we get busy, but sometimes it is nice to sit and eat with friends and experience community that way.

To give you an idea of some of the Pit’s offerings today, I have taken some pictures below.  Caveat that 1) I am not a professional photographer, and 2) the interior of the cafeteria made these look a bit dark.  I can attest to the fact that the food was tasty.  Here’s some of the things I saw on offer:

11 17 15 7 11 17 15 6A great big salad bar with romaine and spinach, as well as some of the expected salad toppings – shredded carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, chickpeas, regular peas, onions.  You get the idea.  There was also several different options for cut fresh fruit – good looking honeydew melon, pineapple (which I didn’t have but my colleague did and said it was good), fruit cocktail.

There’s also a couple of spots in the Pit where you can get whole fruit – oranges, bananas, apples, etc.  We took a look at the whole fruit too and it all looked pretty good.  I didn’t have an orange today but I can attest to past oranges, which have been sweet and delicious.

The grill line and the homestyle foods line got a lot of takers while we were there.  The grill line is what you’d expect – burgers and such.  The homestyle line had a couple of different types of comfort food – tater tots among them, and those seemed to be going fast.

11 17 15 1 11 17 15 2The Mongolian Grill had noodles and stir fried vegetables with chicken or beef, which looked really good.  There is an allergy-free zone that had really good roast turkey (which I took to cut up on my salad and give it some protein), very fresh looking cooked carrots, sauteed spinich (or some greens), and baked sweet potatoes.

11 17 15 3Right next to that was the Italian area, which boasted a couple of kinds of pizza.  I have to confess, the veggie pizza looked SO good, but I am trying to watch my waistline so I skipped it in favor of a custom-made omelet.  You can choose all your toppings – lots of different diced veggies, as well as diced meats and cheeses, and it is cooked as you stand there.

11 17 15 4There is also a dessert station.  While I was making my loop taking pictures, there were cookies and cupcakes and muffins.  As I was leaving, there was a big fresh tray of brownies that was added to the offerings.  There was also a giant sheet cake in the middle of the various food lines, which I just had to sample.  As something of a cake glutton, I can tell you that they always get their sheet cakes right.  Delish.

My salad and omelet were both really light and hit the spot.  My colleagues had salads, as well as hummus and chips, maybe one thing more each.  Suffice to say, all three of us had a really satisfying meal.  I know from time to time students may grump about not liking the food, but I’m a pretty picky girl and I can always find something I like there.

I highly recommend both the lap in the Steps for Peace, and in taking some time in the Pit to be present with friends and share a meal.  In times of trouble, that sort of communal activity can really help.

— by Betsy Chapman


Five Senses of Farrell

I was out yesterday for Veteran’s Day, but belated thank you to all of those in the larger Deac family who have served or are serving our country, and especially to our ROTC alumni.

On today’s menu: the Five Senses of Farrell, as seen between 9:30-10:30 am today.

I see…

– About 3/4 of the tables and sofa groups are spoken for.  Because I am just that kind of a nerd, I was counting the distribution of people.  11 tables/seating groups had just one person seated; 4 tables had 2 people each; 2 tables had 3 people each; 3 tables had a group of 4; 1 table was a group of 5.

– Most of the tables had students clearly working – open laptops, open books, writing in notebooks.  There were a few with people eating breakfast.

– Attire erred on the side of ‘student’ (read: jeans and t-shirts) vs. professional dress.  You could spot the couple of MA in Management students who were in bow ties and jackets or nice dresses.

– What appeared to be a class of some sort taking place just outside by the fire pit.  There was a woman who I assume is a professor who seemed to be talking to some of the students at tables inside and moving them outside.  She had papers in her hand and looked to be leading a discussion.  It looked like a fun class anyway.

– One male student walking through the center of the Farrell Living Room reading what looked to be a paper or a homework.  My guess is this was a final read before turning it in.

– The shimmering of the air that comes from the fire pit.  You know how you can see heat as it rolls off a fire in waves?  That’s what I saw through the window.

– In the distance, students walking in and out of Magnolia, Dogwood, or the North Dining Hall.  From my seat I have a clear view all the way out the window wall.

– One Einstein’s staff member coming out to say hello to  a table of students.  Must be regulars.


I hear…

– The crinkly paper that bagels are wrapped in at Einsteins and the bags they are stored in.  This sound is repeated over and over while I am there.

– Doors opening and closing.

– High heels across the floor making a clip clop sound.

– A few coughs [it is that time of year].

– Not a lot of sound.  It’s pretty quiet – either because students aren’t quite awake, or because they are being deferential to those studying.  There is a group of 4 students at a table pretty near me and all I can hear is indistinct talking.

– The scooting of wooden chairs scraping across the floor as people sit down or get up to leave.

– Calling out of people’s names as their Einsteins orders are ready.  And the beep of the microwave.

– A few snippets of conversation as students pass directly by me.  “Change of plans…” – “See you later, buddy” – “It’s just like keeping up with class…

– The zipping of backpacks.


I smell…

– Toasted bagels.  (Heavenly and comforting).

– Coffee.

– The odd whiff of hazelnut coffee when someone walks by me.


I feel…

– The cool, smooth, tabletop.

– Not much more than that.  I am far enough away from the doors that I don’t feel any cool breeze as they open and close.


I taste…

– An absolutely scrumptious pumpkin bagel.  For real, if you have Einstein’s Bagels near you and you haven’t tried a pumpkin bagel, it is a delightful combo of sweet and savory at once.


So there’s your Five Senses, Deac families.  Whenever I do these, I like to imagine I am seeing all your kids and can bring you a happy report that they all look good and they are working hard as well as having a few laughs with friends.

— by Betsy Chapman

Finally, Some Sun

Yesterday was a punishing weather day.  It rained nearly nonstop – sometimes sideways – and was only in the low to mid 50s.  It was just a wretched day to be out and about.  Today, thankfully, the clouds are still here in patches, but at least we can see some sun.

11 10 15 trees 2 11 10 15 trees 1I took a few pictures early this morning.  I was struck by a couple of clumps of trees – each with a middle tree that was different colored than the others.  The one on Poteat field is particularly striking, because it is a very vivid yellow and the others are solid green.

When I was on the Quad, we had a sunny side (Wait Chapel) and a still cloudy side (Reynolda).  The contrast in the two skies was rather striking.

Because of the rain yesterday, there are still some puddles on campus – some bigger than others.  As I was walking toward Wait Chapel to take pictures, the puddle was big enough to catch the reflection of the chapel spire.

I liked the progression of the chapel in the puddle.  Hope you do too.

— by Betsy Chapman

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There Are No Good Words

This weekend, we lost a Wake Forest student, junior Jordan Bayer of Brookline, MA, in a tragic car accident.  He was a member of the DKE fraternity and a student in the Business School.  Information about the funeral was sent to campus today.

There are no good words in times like these.  The unexpected loss of a young person is heartbreaking.

Parents and family members, you should know there are many ways your students can get support if they have been particularly affected by this loss, whether they were friends of Jordan’s or if this has triggered the memory of another loss in their lives:

– The University Counseling Center (UCC) – 336-758-5273 or 118 Reynolda Hall.  The UCC also has an excellent page on the UCC website for additional guidance about grief.  Grief affects each of us differently, and there is no “right way” to grieve – and there are some very wise words about how to support someone who is grieving.

– The Chaplain’s Office – 336-758-5210 or 22 Reynolda Hall.

– Students can also talk to their RA (Resident Adviser) or other trusted mentors who can direct them to support services.

Do urge your students to seek help and support if they need it.  We don’t want any students to struggle on their own when there are lots of people who can support them.

Having had a sudden and unexpected loss of a sibling, my heart goes out to Jordan’s family, friends, and loved ones.  It is a terrible, terrible loss.  Please join me in offering your thoughts and prayers to everyone who knew and loved him.


— by Betsy Chapman


Thankful Fridays

For so many of us, November begins the long procession of holiday celebrations, starting with Thanksgiving.  I thought it might be good to reflect on some of the reasons I am thankful for Wake Forest – and maybe some of these reasons will ring true with you as well.

fall-classesI am thankful for our beautiful campus.  It is a joy to walk across such a scenic campus, with stately buildings, gorgeous trees, colorful and ever-changing flower beds.  In a world where green space is getting hard to come by, there is still plenty here.

I am thankful for the wide-ranging web of support that can catch our students if they stumble or fall and help get them on the right track.  We have an immensely talented University Counseling Center, Learning Assistance Center, Math Center, Chem Center, Writing Center, Student Health Service, and Chaplain’s office – not to mention the Office of Academic Advising and the support that students can find from their faculty.  There are so, so many ways for students to get help when they need it.

The trick is getting students to seek out those services, of course.  And that decision has to be made by the student.  Occasionally I will get a question from parents about ‘how can I get my son/daughter to actually USE the resources?’  We cannot typically compel a student to make a command performance at any of our support outlets.  But this is where parents have a lot of sway and a lot of influence – you can set some expectations (or strongly worded suggestions) that you encourage your student to seek assistance when needed.  Think back to how you handled those situations in high school – how did you motivate your student to get help or support then?  Maybe that can inform your approach now.

20140905thrive7233Related to the above, I am thankful that we are putting an emphasis on Thrive and how to help our students achieve wellbeing.  I wish, quite frankly, that I had opportunities to learn more about those areas when I was on campus.  Easier to learn good habits – when and how to let go of stress, how to balance good nutrition and exercise, etc. – when you are 18 than 45.

I am grateful that our students have the freedom to try new things, learn new things, meet new people, and discover new passions.  This may be the only 4 years in their lives where they are totally free to explore their academic and extracurricular interests.  Wake’s vast smorgasboard has so much to offer – I hope they all nibble plentifully at the options.

Parents and families? What are you thankful for about Wake and your students’ experiences?  I’d love to hear and collect some.  You can email at – and let me know if you are willing to have your comments shared in other ways (on here, or in other publications).  We’d do that anonymously, by the way – you could use your first intial and Parent Year (ex.,  S. P’17).

Have a good Friday and remember today’s a great time to contact your Deacs :)

— by Betsy Chapman