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A Grande Dame in WFU History

Yesterday the Wake Forest family lost a much-beloved member, Lu Leake.  Lu came to Wake Forest in 1964 as dean of women, and she had held many different titles, including assistant vice president for planning and dean of the summer school, before retiring in 1997 as associate vice president for academic affairs.  In 1996, she received the Medallion of Merit, Wake Forest’s highest award.

Of course your students would likely never have met Lu Leake or known who she was.  But she was a powerhouse at Wake Forest for decades, and at least for me, I think of Lu as a pioneer for female administrators on the Reynolda Campus and one who helped pave the way for the next generation of us to come.  She was smart, dedicated, and respected.  She changed the lives of many a student, and her praises will be sung in the coming days by people who knew her far better than I did.

20090917students0050 Your students might not have known Lu, but every time they go to the Mag Room for lunch and sling their backpacks on the big table, I wonder if they realize they are in the Lu Leake Lounge (the area outside the Mag Room).  Her portrait was hung in the LLL many years ago.   Below I have some pictures of Lu in the lounge.

Universities are shaped and changed in big and small ways by the people who dedicate their lives to them.  Lu was one of those people, and your students’ experience here is better because of her.  Even if they never knew her, or realized they were sitting in her lounge.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in Wait Chapel.

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— by Betsy Chapman

This Past Weekend

It would be hard to have improved on the weekend we just had.  Weatherwise we were in the low- to mid-70s, sunny, light breezes.  Perfect.  Some of our students hit the road for beach weekend, others stayed on campus.  I suspect some of them might have been watching the Masters to see a young man their age, Jordan Spieth, win the green jacket (and $1.8 mil) at the tender age of 21 – and dreaming of what they’d do with that money if they’d won it :)

There was an event on Saturday morning on campus.  It was something akin to a mashup of the Color Run and a festival.  In the pictures you see below students are celebrating Holi, the Hindu spring festival of colors, by throwing packets of colored powder on each other on Manchester Plaza (aka Mag Quad).  It looks like it was spectacularly fun.

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— by Betsy Chapman

Countdown to Finals – Help from A to Z

Finals start about 3 weeks from now, so the stess level on campus will be going up as exams draw nearer.  There are diversions of course – the great weather, beautiful spring flowers, and beach weekend (this weekend, I believe), and the thought of post-exams at the beach as well.

love-sunsetBut until then, there’s work to be done, and it would be easy and not uncommon for your Deacs to feel the pinch of semester’s end.  I ran across an article that lists the A-Zs of self-love.  It’s about small things we can do every day to feel better and try to be the best versions of ourselves.  Would this list help your Deac?  If so, pass it on.  Don’t forget we also have Deacon Greetings where you can send an e-card to your students to say you love them, wish them luck on finals, etc.

One of the Thrive Dimensions of the Month for April is Emotional Wellbeing, so this fits right in with that theme as well.  If you aren’t following Thrive’s blogs for parents, they are online here.

Two final reminders for Friday:  1) we hope you are sporting your best black and/or gold in honor of Wake Forest. Show your Demon Deacon pride wherever you are!  and 2) remember that Friday is a great time to call your students :)

And without further ado, the A-Zs:

With acceptance, you set yourself free from bondage of self. You are present and you are love.

By believing in yourself, the world is at your fingertips. You can do and accomplish anything you set your mind to.

By having a deeper compassion for others, you can tap into the infinite compassion for yourself. This leads to a deeper sense of self-love.

From the pain, the turmoil, and the darkness, comes the light. That light is where true beauty and hope lie.

Are you putting forth your best and most authentic energy? By doing so, you attract similar people into your life which leads to more self-love.

Having fun is important to embrace. Embrace the balance of work and play and make time to let loose and have fun.

The more you give, the more love you receive. Give without expectations and from a genuine place of love. You know what they say about karma!

You are capable of happiness at any moment you choose. Remember this and tap into this happiness today. Cultivate your self-love.

You have the ability to ignite the light and power within. Do this today and give yourself the love you deserve.

There’s nothing like a good joke to add some relief into your life. Joke with yourself and others. It is natural and human.

By being your most authentic self, there is infinite kindness within. Let this come to the surface today.

You are love. Remember this. Keep your perspective of life as one of love. This is where self-love lives.

Money brings opportunity. It does not bring happiness. Remember this and when you notice yourself focusing on money, go inward and remember you are more than any amount of money.

You are a spiritual being inside a physical body. Remember to nourish the physical body on all levels. Give it the love and kindness you would want for your best friend.

Opening yourself and your heart up is where you can truly reap the benefits of interactions with not only others but with yourself. You are capable of true openness.

Self-love means you are living your purpose. Your purpose is to give and receive love. Make this a priority today.

There is never a stupid question. Be curious, be open, and inquire about what is happening in your life. This means presence and the ability to feel and be love.

Reason and compromise is an omnipresent part of life. Be open to new experiences and new perspectives. This opens up your lens of life and fosters more love.

There are constant stimuli in life. Are you keeping it simple for yourself? This is where manageability and serenity lie. Incorporate simplicity today.

Rejection doesn’t mean you give up. It means you take it like a grain of salt and try again. Never give up. You are worthy of anything you set your mind to.

There are constant resources available to you. Use them. Don’t look at it as a sign of weakness. It is pure strength. You are worthy.

You don’t need to have all the answers, but having a vision is important. This vision comes from a place of self-love and acceptance. Tap into your vision today.

With wisdom comes understanding, knowledge, and insight. This comes from your core, where there is a constant source of love.

This is an abbreviation for hugs and kisses. Give yourself these today. You don’t need to be dependent on getting them from someone else.

Say yes to life. Say yes to the opportunities that knock on your door that aligns with your purpose and vision. Say yes to loving yourself first and foremost.

Incorporate more Zen into your life. This means meditation, sitting with yourself, and embracing soundness of mind. This is where the ultimate form of self-love lives. Practice this today.


— by Betsy Chapman

Guest Blogger: Lucas Swenson (’15) and the Senior Sendoff

Today’s Daily Deac was written by Student Union president Lucas Swenson (’15).


senior sendoffWake Forest parents and families,

I am one of the co-chairs of the WFU Senior Sendoff this year, along with Stephanie Hom (’15). I am excited to be a part of the planning of a special event that is being created this year to celebrate the graduating class at the Winston-Salem Dash Stadium on April 22 at 7 PM. In the past, the Department of Campus Life has partnered with the Office of Alumni Engagement to do a Senior Dinner. This year, that event has been re-imagined by a committee of students and staff and is truly going to be better than ever.

Members of the Class of 2015 will enjoy free food, beer & wine, fireworks, dancing from a live band and DJ, a class photo, as well as a short speech to be shared by a selected senior.  Please encourage any seniors you know to submit a Senior Toast.  This is meant to be a thoughtful reflection of the student’s last four years, and will be delivered to the entire class prior to the fireworks show.

Additionally, we will have a senior slideshow playing on the stadium screens throughout the evening. We invite seniors to share their “Top 10″ photos highlighting their last four years by emailing We know that the Class of 2015 has had some noteworthy moments during their time at Wake Forest, so we would love to see some of these in the slideshow.

Seniors need to RSVP for this event to reserve their senior gift. 

Senior Sendoff is a wonderful opportunity for seniors to celebrate their accomplishments.  We hope to see all of the Class of 2015 there!

– by Lucas Swenson (’15) 

Bits and Pieces

Happy Wednesday, Deac families!  It was supposed to be rainy today but it has been a mix of sun and clouds and very warm.  There have been tons of campus tours of late.  Seems like every time I’m on the Quad, there are multiple tour groups running.  We are heavy into visit season, with high schoolers on spring break and trying to squeeze in college visits while they can still see class in session.

Great news emerged from campus yesterday, and that is that one of our own was named a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Abdulmalik Obaid (’15), a physics major, will study in Cambridge next year in this prestigious program.

For the philatelists out there, a new Maya Angelou stamp was unveiled.  Dr. Angelou had been Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest for more than 30 years.  She passed away last June, but she made indelible marks on the students she taught.

This afternoon there will be a special series of events sponsored by the Office of the Chaplain:

Wednesday, April 8 with Rafi Spitzer, Rabbinical Student

4:15 pm.       “Ask the Young Rabbi” – Question & Answer Session. Rafi. Reynolda Hall 17

5:00 pm.       Mezuzah Ceremony, Jewish Life Office. Rafi and Gail. Reynolda  Hall 17A

5:15 pm.       Torah Processional. Dance the WFU Torah to its new home in Davis Chapel.  Starting at 5:15 pm in Reynolda Hall 17

Rafi Spitzer is a student at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York studying to be a Rabbi. Both of his parents are Rabbis, as well as his grandfather. 

After graduating from Boston University with a degree in Anthropology, Rafi worked for two years as an educator at the Reform synagogue Temple Beth Elohim of Wellesley, MA. Rafi is certified as a Mikvah Guide (a facilitator of ritual immersions) by Mayyim Hayyim, the first liberal mikvah in the country. He is a long time staff member at Camp Ramah in New England, and works at the Atria, an old age home in New York on Friday afternoons. Rafi loves to cook and to travel. He lives on the Upper West Side with his wife, Rachael Besser, who teaches second grade in a charter school in Harlem.

It’s a beautiful day to be at Wake Forest!


— by Betsy Chapman

10,000 Tulips

2013-tulipsIt’s doubtful that there are really 10,000 tulips on campus, but in the places where they are coming up, they are coming up in abundance.  At the gated entrance off Silas Creek parkway, the beds by the gatehouse have tons of beautiful red tulips.  Outside the entrance of my building, Alumni Hall, there are scores of yellow tulips.  In front of Farrell Hall, their flowerbeds are yellow and maybe a hint of orange.  Under the ground floor windows of Reynolda Hall there are  yet more tulips.  I only covered about half the campus today as I walked to and from meetings, but the tulips are everywhere, and they are spectacular.

The weather is less than glorious today.  It is grey and has rained on and off, and looks to continue to rain throughout the day.  It’s warm though – low 70s by the end of today, tomorrow mid 80s.  Perhaps because of the nasty weather, the students I noticed on my walk seemed to be dressed down – lots of exercise pants and tshirts on the ladies, plain Ts and shorts for the guys.

On the Quad there are a lot of signs that have to do with suicide prevention – stats and resources and the like.  T.S. Eliot wrote in The Waste Land “April is the cruelest month” and there are many statistics that show that suicide rates increase in the spring (maybe even peak in April).  That seems counterintuitive because in spring so much beauty is just starting to unfold.  Wake has a great suicide prevention website, and they are doing a Hope for the Hopeless bike/walk this weekend; tell your Deacs to check out the bike ride and the website as well.

The ZSR Starbucks was filled at 11, not an empty table anywhere.  Lots of laptops open and students looking serious.  I ran into one student I know, a senior, on the way there, and asked how the student’s final days are coming.  My senior looked at me and said “I was looking at the calendar and realizing how few weekends I have left here.”  There was a wistfulness in this student’s voice that I suspect many others are feeling too.

Speaking of seniors, there will be a Senior Sendoff, which is co-hosted by the offices of Campus Life and Alumni Engagement.  If you want to get involved in any way, here is more information.


— by Betsy Chapman

Spring Has Sprung

O4 6 15ver the past few days, spring has really arrived.  There are pink buds and flowers on the trees, the dandelions are in full bloom, and the weather has been really nice – sunny and high 60s-low 70s.   Spring fever makes it very hard to stay indoors.  You can catch glimpses of the blooming trees on the Quad Cam.  Here’s a screen cap of what I am seeing on the Quad Cam.

Springtime is when young men’s fancy turns to love – and our University Theatre turns to Love’s Labors Lost.  If your Deac missed the play this past weekend, be sure to encourage him or her to see it this weekend.  Shakespeare is a big undertaking and it is always amazing to see it performed by our own students.  Gee thee to the theatre!

This week is the second week of course registration for the fall semester for currently-enrolled students.  Parents and family members, please remind your students to check DEAC and WIN for any holds and be sure to clear them before your student’s registration time.  More information is available on the Parents’ Page.

3 1/2 weeks until classes end.  Can you believe it?


— by Betsy Chapman

Recap of Springfest

The Daily Deac is out of the office this week, so we’ll be bringing you some coverage of past events as well as ones to come.

Springfest was held this past Wednesday, and our University Photographer, Ken Bennett, grabbed some great pictures of the event.  Many thanks to Student Union for all their work on Springfest, and hope your students got out there and enjoyed the fun!

— by Betsy Chapman

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From the Forest

While many people think of March Madness in basketball terms, for admissions offices around the country, March Madness could just as easily be the final push to determine the incoming freshman class and to get the decision letters out the door.

Some of you may already have discovered the From the Forest admissions blog; I am ashamed to say I only found out about it this week.  The admissions team has been blogging about the final days of mailing letters, and today’s blog post has a letter from Martha Allman, dean of admissions, about the slate of applications they received and the difficult decisions they had to make.  It’s a good read.

The view from the forest (at least from where I sit) is that today began as a foggy day.  It’s cleared up to a degree, but is not the kind of sunny and beautiful spring day we had this time last week.  We appear to be due for some rain tomorrow and it will be cooler, but thankfully back into the 70s next week.

We’ve received a couple of questions in the Parent Programs office about families coming to visit for Easter weekend, and where are good places to eat?  As a reminder, the best first line of defense for questions is to try our Parents’ Page Q&A – we cover a lot of commonly asked questions there.  Towards the end of the section on Dining we have some links about restaurants parents and alumni have recommended.

— by Betsy Chapman

New Dean of the College Named

michele.gillespie.620x350-460x260Today was a big news day.  The new Dean of the College was named, and it was a familiar name to our campus: Michele Gillespie:

“Wake Forest University has appointed Presidential Endowed Professor of Southern History Michele Gillespie as Dean of the College, with academic oversight for the undergraduate school of arts and sciences. Gillespie will begin serving as dean July 1.

Gillespie joined the Wake Forest faculty in 1999. She was named Kahle Family Professor of History in 2003 and served as associate provost for academic initiatives from 2007-2010. In 2013, Gillespie was the first Wake Forest faculty member to be honored with an endowed Presidential Chair, which recognizes and supports faculty who excel in both academic leadership and outstanding scholarship. She also serves as the faculty representative to the Advancement Committee of the Board of Trustees”  (see the full news story.)

There have been many times when she has been a part of programs or events our office has planned, and those events have always been exceptional.  She is recognized as one who embodies the teacher-scholar ideal, and connects well with students as well as others on campus.

Full disclosure: I have known Michele for many years and she has been a trusted friend and colleague.  She helped mentor me when I was in a terrible bind professionally and did all she could to help me – even when she didn’t have to, and even though helping me didn’t benefit her in any way.  That’s the kind of person she is.  I will always be grateful to her for that – and for the example she set that it is always better to try and help someone if you can.

So what does this mean for your students exactly? The Dean of the College has oversight for the undergraduate arts and sciences programs (i.e., everything except business).  So she will be working with the academic departments in the arts, literature, humanities, social sciences, and math and natural sciences to help make our already-great programs even better.  She begins her new position on July 1st, and I know there will be many good things to come.

My kudos to the search committee, who had the unenviable job of sorting through a lot of wonderful applicants.  Happily, one of Wake Forest’s own rose to the top.

Welcome to your new role, Dean-Elect Gillespie!


— by Betsy Chapman