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6 30 15 1 6 30 15 2Today I am in a meeting in the Benson Center.  This piece of art is hanging right outside the meeting room door.  It’s a Keith Haring, a well known name in the American art world.  Bonus that it is close to our school colors :)

Your students as they walk around the Benson Center have the ability to see this Haring, as well as a lot of other great artists.  There is a good story here:

“The Benson University Center is the home of a unique art collection, established in 1962, conceived by students and purchased entirely with university funds. Since the first buying trip in 1963, every four years a group of students works with an Art Department faculty member to research the contemporary American art scene, then travels to New York to purchase new works. This is the university’s premiere collection, numbering over 160 different pieces by over 100 different artists.”

In addition to the art in the Benson Center, there are some fine works located all over campus in public buildings as well as academic buildings.  You can learn more at the University Art Collections website.  If your student has not discovered our art collection yet (or is an incoming freshman,) he/she is in for a treat.  There is also the Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery in Scales Fine Arts Center, which sponsors exhibits throughout the year.  The Art department website has information about all the art on campus (check the Visual Resources link on the left side menu).

Deac families, if you are here for Orientation (or to move a sophomore, junior, or senior on to campus in August), you’ll have a chance to browse our art too.  Being surrounded by beautiful, interesting, thought-provoking, and even controversial art adds another layer of the depth to the WFU experience.  Savor it.

— by Betsy Chapman


With the 4th of July just around the corner, many of you probably have vacation on your minds.  Vacations are on our minds too.

But there’s another reason we are thinking about vacationing.  With the new Class of 2019, we are receiving lots of Parent Record Forms from our new families.  Those forms are vital to us, because we rely on parents and families to keep an accurate physical address and email on file so that we can communicate with you.  We use email for most of our outreach to parents – so if your email changes, please let us know at or use this update form (though it says Alumni, it is meant for parents too!  You fill out the first page and then can skip ahead to the sections you need as applicable).

When our office or others are hosting events, we tend to invite folks within that city or town.  And most of the time that’s great, but it doesn’t take into account people who might have another location they spend a lot of time in (the example from Philadelphia, where I grew up, was that some people had a place at the Jersey Shore for the summer).  So if you have another address that you spend part of the year in, please use that same update form and enter your information (first page, then skip to the Seasonal page).  And that way if we are hosting something in your seasonal area, we can be aware of that as we plan invitations.

We have two end-of-summer events coming up in the Northeast that may catch some of you during vacations.  Information is below, and if you will be in the area and want more details we can get it to you (be sure to click on the link in the invite to provide your contact information).

— by Betsy Chapman


Celebrate the end of the summer with Wake Foresters!

As we look to the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, we are holding two ‘end of summer’ receptions for Wake Foresters in the Martha’s Vineyard and Watch Hill areas. Wake Forest students and parents will be able to hear from Provost Rogan Kersh (’86), who will be in attendance.

If you live in the area or will be vacationing then**, we would love for you to join us at one of these receptions:

Sunday, August 9
Martha’s Vineyard, MA

details TBA

– or –

Monday, August 10
Watch Hill, RI

details TBA

If you are interested in attending one or both of these receptions, please click here. Details about the event will be emailed to you later this summer, once they are finalized.

** Wake Forest holds events throughout the country. If you would like to be included in invitations to events in other areas beside your permanent address, please provide your seasonal address. (Note: this form is used for alumni and parent record updates; complete the first page and then skip forward to Seasonal Address).

Rain At Last

This week’s unseemly heat has been broken by an impressive rain shower, happening right now (3:45 pm).  This is the kind of rain where the drops are just enormous.  It has been so hot and dry of late, and the flowers on campus have been a bit droopy as a result.  Having some water will do them a ton of good.  Hopefully it will cool the outdoors off a bit as well.

Today we had a couple of hundred alumni families on campus for the annual Alumni Admissions Forum, which is an annual event that gives an inside look at the admissions process (both at Wake Forest and at highly selective colleges) to alumni families of high schoolers.  I was gratified to see some black and gold attire on our guests (they know it’s Black and Gold Friday!)

6 26 15I took this picture earlier this morning.  This is the Worrell Center, home to the law school and future home of the Health and Exercise Science department.  Now that the framing is going up, it is beginning to really take shape.

Have a good weekend, Deac families, and hope it’s cool where you are!

— by Betsy Chapman



Book Review on Parenting and College Students

There’s been some chatter about a new book that was written by a former dean of freshmen at Stanford University.  She has written a book called “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success,” and it was reviewed by the New York Times (see full review below).

As with all advice about parenting, this is likely to generate strong agreement from some and equally strong disagreement from others.   From my point of view, my observation is that the students who thrive the most in college are ones who are given the space and freedom to do things for themselves.  They learn to be self-sufficient and self-reliant when they have to figure things out or handle their problems on their own.  That’s why we say (with only the best of intentions and great love) that the best thing you can do when your student calls you with a [non life threatening] problem is to use the Stop, Drop, and Roll method.

Book review below for those of you looking for some summer reading.

— by Betsy Chapman

When did the central aim of parenting become preparing children for success? This reigning paradigm, which dictates that every act of nurturing be judged on the basis of whether it will usher a child toward a life of accomplishment or failure, embodies the fundamental insecurity of global capitalist culture, with its unbending fixation on prosperity and the future. It’s no surprise that parenting incites such heated debates, considering how paradoxical these principles can be when they’re applied to children. When each nurturing act is administered with the distant future in mind, what becomes of the present? A child who soaks in the ambient anxiety that surrounds each trivial choice or activity is an anxious child, formed in the hand-wringing, future-focused image of her anxious parents.

“How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success” seems to lie at the precise crossroads of this inherently conflicted approach. Like so many others in the jittery child-rearing mob, Julie Lythcott-Haims has identified overparenting as a trap. But once you escape the trap, the goal remains the same: to mold your offspring into thriving adults. Whether a child is learning to ride a bike or doing his own laundry, he is still viewed through the limited binary lens of either triumphant or fumbling adulthood. The looming question is not “Is my child happy?” but “Is my child a future president poised to save the environment, or a future stoner poised to watch his fifth episode of ‘House of Cards’ in a row?”

Even as tales of meddling parents reach a fever pitch, Lythcott-Haims’s bleak portrait may just be the “Black Hawk Down” of helicopter parenting. Lythcott-Haims, who brings some authority to the subject as Stanford’s former dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising, has seen varieties of extreme parental interference suggesting not just a lack of common sense, but a lack of wisdom and healthy boundaries (if not personal dignity) as well. Instead of allowing kids to experiment and learn from their mistakes, parents hover where they’re not wanted or welcome, accompanying children on school trips or shadowing them on campus. Caught up in what the author calls the “college admissions arms race,” parents treat securing their children a spot at one of 20 top schools (as decreed by U.S. News and World Report’s popular but somewhat dubious rankings) as an all-or-nothing proposition. Concerned about the effects of a flawed high school transcript, parents do their children’s homework, write or heavily edit their papers, fire questions at teachers, dispute grades and hire expensive subject tutors, SAT coaches and “private admissions consultants” (26 percent of college applicants reported hiring these in 2013). Even after kids graduate, the madness continues. Lythcott-Haims offers anecdotes of parents touring graduate schools, serving as mouthpieces for their shy, passive children, and submitting résumés to potential employers, sometimes without their children’s knowledge. These behaviors do more than mold kids into dependent beings, she argues; they corral and constrict their possibilities and their imaginations. “We speak of dreams as boundless, limitless realms,” Lythcott-­Haims writes. “But in reality often we create parameters, conditions and limits within which our kids are permitted to dream — with a checklisted childhood as the path to achievement.”

And in spite of her title’s emphasis on success, Lythcott-Haims takes pains to demonstrate that overparenting doesn’t merely threaten a child’s future income; it also does enormous psychological harm. She cites a 2011 study by sociologists at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga that found a correlation, in college-student questionnaires, between helicopter parenting and medication for anxiety or depression. One researcher at a treatment center for addicts in Los Angeles found that “rates of depression and anxiety among affluent teens and young adults . . . correspond to the rates of depression and anxiety suffered by incarcerated juveniles.” Other studies suggest that overparented kids are “less open to new ideas” and take “less satisfaction in life.” For Lythcott-Haims, the message behind this research is the same: Kids need to sally forth independently without constant supervision. They need to try and even fail. And when they fail and look around for a parent to bail them out, they need to hear the words, “You must figure this out for yourself.”

The irony, of course, is that after years of lamenting the benign neglect suffered at the hands of 1970s parents who told kids to “go outside and play until dinnertime,” today’s parents are starting to second-guess the ways they’ve overcorrected such hands-off child-rearing. Indeed, Lythcott-Haims’s explicit instructions for parents read like a page straight out of a ’70s-era parenting playbook: “Value free play.”  “Work on creating space between you and your kid.”  “Don’t apologize or overexplain.” Oh, and give your kids chores — lots of chores. Halfway through the book, one almost expects to discover instructions like, “When it comes to spanking, wooden spoons are far more effective than your bare hands!” And: “Push those kids out the door and lock it. Now, crack open that pack of Virginia Slims, fix yourself a nice Tom Collins, and dig into the latest Doris Lessing novel.”

But even as “How to Raise an Adult” joins others in the same vein — from “The Overparenting Epidemic” to “You Are Not Special” to “All Joy and No Fun” — this emphasis on giving kids a little more space hasn’t seemed to have had much effect on the premature apprehension of the schoolyard: the endless, nervous chatter about the Common Core, the uneasy comparing of report cards and standardized test scores, the tireless griping about the never-ending hassles of homework, soccer season, piano lessons, art classes, dance classes and Kumon tutoring. If everyone agrees that overscheduling and multiple hours of homework a night are the enemy, shouldn’t more parents be stepping back and relaxing a little, thereby showing, by example, how to live in a nonsensically competitive world and still be happy?

Lythcott-Haims sees this inability to disengage as a side effect of the prevailing fantasy among parents that the “right” college education will secure a child’s comfy seat in the upper-middle-class tax bracket. Parents are so laser-focused on how to ensure success against a backdrop of an increasingly insecure global economy that they’re willing to trade in the joys and self-guided discoveries of a rich childhood for some promise of security in the far-off future. But it’s absurd for parents to allow this illusion that success in life depends on admission to one of a handful of elite colleges to guide their behavior from the time their kids are in preschool forward, Lythcott-­Haims asserts. A 1999 study by Stacy Berg Dale and Alan Krueger suggests that graduates of a hundred or so “moderately selective” schools “had on average the same income 20 years later as graduates of the elite colleges.” While schools may be more competitive than they were 36 years ago, when the subjects of the study were in college, this statistic (which applied to graduates of “moderately selective” schools who had also gained admission to elite schools) should at least cast a shadow of doubt on parents’ extreme fixation on top-tier colleges. There are also several alternatives to the U.S. News and World Report rankings that could shift common thinking about what constitutes an “elite” education. The “Fiske Guide to Colleges” evaluates schools based on “the quality of the experience and their price tag,” while The Alumni Factor ranks schools based on intellectual development, average income of graduates and whether alumni would choose the college again, among other factors.

Although loosening that grip on getting kids into the “perfect” school does seem important, it’s somewhat unlikely to end the current plague of controlling, stressed-out parents and helpless, insecure children. In this anxious age, the future will always trump the present. But even if “How to Raise an Adult” gets thrown onto a growing pile of books for worried, upper-­middle-class parents and is summarily forgotten, Lythcott-Haims’s central message remains worthwhile: When parents laugh and enjoy the moment but also teach the satisfaction of hard work, when they listen closely but also give their children space to become who they are, they wind up with kids who know how to work hard, solve problems and savor the moment, too. In other words, get a life, and your child just might do the same someday.

Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success
By Julie Lythcott-Haims
354 pp. Henry Holt & Company. $27.



One of the many joys of being able to attend so many of our New Student Receptions is having the chance to talk to students (both incoming and upperclassmen/women) as well as their parents.  It is always interesting to hear our students’ perspective, particularly because as an adult, it is easy for me to forget what it feels like to be 18 or 20 and easy to forget the kinds of things that seem so important at that age.

I have to remind myself sometimes that despite their poise, and their intelligence, and all the things that make them seem very grown up, our students are still developing into the people they are going to be.  “Emerging adults” is a term that gets thrown around for college-aged kids sometimes.  They are in the process of growing up, becoming independent, discovering themselves and their interests/passions/values.   Still figuring it out.

And growing into who you are going to be as an adult can be exciting, confusing, contradictory, exhilarating, scary, overwhelming, awesome.  Maybe all of the above.  Depending on your relationship with your student, it might be helpful to acknowledge that, and let your son/daughter know this is just part of the road to adulthood.  Talk about some of the changes and transitions college life brings.  And remind them you are always there for support and love.

Your students will all have their own internal compass, and I have no idea what their ‘True North’ will be.  I found a bunch of quotes (below), mostly about happiness, simplifying life, being true to yourself.  They may or may not resonate with you, or your students.  But over a cup of coffee or a long car ride, this might be an interesting conversation to have and a good listening moment.  What are the ideas you can always fall back on?  For direction, for guidance, for inspiration, for comfort, for happiness, for your wellbeing?

— by Betsy Chapman



6 24 15 quote 2 6 24 15 quote 3 6 24 15 quote 4 6 24 15 quote 5 6 24 15 quote 6 6 24 15 quote gaiman 6 24 15 quote


It’s technically barely the start of summer but we have already reached the dreaded 3 Hs:



and Humid.

No lie, Deac families, it has been oppressively hot here.  I have two degrees in English from WFU and I am starting to run out of hyperbolic adjectives to say how beastly hot it is.

6 23 15 weatherThis is not normal June weather.  This is worst-part-of-late-July-or-early-August hot.  Check out the 5 day forecast.  When 85 is a break from the heat, you know it’s bad.

Despite the heat, construction continues on campus.  The addition to the gym is starting to take form and you can begin to imagine the current roof line extending to the new section.  Most of the new windows have been installed in Kitchin Dorm, and off in the distance (way too far to walk in this heat, I confess) you can 6 23 15 3see the roof of the new Sports Performance Center behind the Miller Center going up.

Around lunchtime I was in the Benson Center at Shortys and there were a bunch of young children, here for some camp or other, playing in the sprinklers in the grass.  Not sure which kind soul had turned them on so the kids could cool off for a few minutes, but it was a joy to see.

Stay cool wherever you are, Deac families.  And send some of that our way.

— by Betsy Chapman

One More FYI to Close Out the Week

We’re closing out this week of Daily Deacs with some FYIs you may or may not have known.  Sustainability is something we are very proud of at WFU, and there are lots of ways that students can live a greener life while on campus.  Did you know that out of a field of 125 colleges and universities, Wake students placed in the top five in fresh water savings for the second year in a row?  (By the way, if your Deac hasn’t visited the Office of Sustainability website, there’s tons of great info out there).

Choosing to ride a bicycle (instead of taking a car) is another way to go green.  The Office of Sustainability wants students and parents to know that bikes need to be registered.  See below for more info.

Did you know…

Like motorized vehicles, all bicycles must be registered at Wake Forest University. You can register your bicycle for free at the Parking & Transportation Office or online. Make sure that you know the make, model, and serial number of your bicycle before you begin the process.

Registration helps in recovery efforts of stolen property and is the only way university staff can contact you to determine whether or not your bicycle has been abandoned.

Register your bike by midnight on 6/21/15 for a chance to win a $50 Ken’s Bike Shop gift card.

— by Betsy Chapman


smell o visionToday is a day I wish that the oft-joked Smell-O-Vision technology worked.  If it did, I would have taken video of the Magnolia trees on the Mag Quad (aka Manchester Quad), on the south side of campus.

The magnolias are all over the Mag Quad right now, and they are in gloriously-scented bloom.  It’s been getting hotter here and some are already starting to wilt and brown.  But the ones that are newly opened are just spectacular.

If you know the scent of a blooming magnolia, imagine it now.  And if you don’t, here’s to hoping there are still some blooming if you come to campus for Move-In Day in August.

Smells like heaven.

— by Betsy Chapman

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6 10 15 magnolia


So it’s a pretty big day here for us, our 52 hour campaign to help push us to the finale of our yearly fundraising.  We rely on alumni, parents, and friends to support WFU, and your gifts to the Parents’ Campaign of the Wake Forest Fund are so needed and appreciated.

twitter picIf you hadn’t seen the promos, we are in to Wake Forest Double Down/52 Hours of Giving – with the first 2,500 gifts of $52 or more getting this cool set of WFU playing cards, designed with fantastic WFU-inspired art.  You can make a gift securely online.  As of my writing this, there were 2,284 decks of cards left to be had.  This would be a great send-off to pack with your students as they go to school in August, perfect for those late night poker games in their residence hall.  Please consider making a gift.

In other news, campus construction is plowing along nicely.  The soccer stadium has been dug up, graded, and is full of a rocky bottom last time I saw it.  Kitchin Residence Hall continues to get its upgrade (and I am dying to see the new furniture and remodeled rooms!), the towers of the new gym addition continue to get bigger and more fleshed out every day, and the addition to Worrell Professional Center (which will ultimately house Health and Exercise Science, I believe) is beginning to take shape.

Starting next week, when local schools are out, we’ll begin to see the influx of summer campers.  They are elementary school aged all the way through high school.  Sporting camps and debate camps and cheerleading camps and so much more.  It will be nice to have more people back on campus.  It does feel really empty in the summer without your kids (but I must admit, parking is a breeze right now).

Thanks again for helping us on our #WFFdoubledown 52 hours campaign.  We need about 100 more parent donors and we’ll hit our donor goal!

— by Betsy Chapman

Dr. Hatch Recognized with Two Awards

Happy Black and Gold Friday, Deac families!  As you prepare for what I hope will be a good weekend (and I am en route back to Mother So Dear from Boston), I thought I would share some updates from campus.

540x400.hatch.20100910Our president, Nathan O. Hatch, has been in the news of late:

“Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch has received the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) 2015 Chief Executive HR Champion Award. Recognizing that what makes an institution great are its people, this award honors a president or chancellor of a higher education institution or system who has demonstrated significant support for the institution’s human resources function.

CUPA-HR selected Hatch as the recipient because of Wake Forest’s strategic investments in the areas of employee wellbeing, leadership development, diversity and inclusion and employee engagement. CUPA-HR recognized that, in his 10 years at the helm of Wake Forest, Hatch has prioritized the resources and support necessary for the University’s human resources team to put plans into action.”  Read the full story.

Dr. Hatch was also recognized by the ACC:

“The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has bestowed the President’s Award for Exemplary Service to the ACC to Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch.

The award was announced at the ACC’s spring meeting Tuesday evening.

Each year, the outgoing Conference President honors someone for commendable service to the ACC during the year of the president’s term or over an extended period of time.

Martha Putallaz, the 2014-2015 ACC President and faculty representative for Duke University, chose to honor Hatch for demonstrating exceptional leadership during what she called ‘a most pivotal, challenging and transformative time in the history of intercollegiate athletics.’” Read the full story.

Our congratulations to Dr. Hatch for being honored by his peers for his great work at Wake Forest!

— by Betsy Chapman