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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)

Senior Orations – Buck Hinman (’16)

It’s the end of a glorious week on campus.  It’s been in the 70s and 80s all week, but to my dismay we’re about to hit a cold and possibly rainy stretch this weekend and early next week.

Big, breaking news of the day: there was an announcement this morning of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering programs that will start at Wake.  This story will be covered in Wake Parents & Families e-newsletter too (which I hope will go out today or Monday). But for now, do read the story online. So exciting.  Stay tuned.

And just as the week is ending, we are coming to the home stretch of our Senior Orations – one today, one next week.  Today we have “Creating Community Through Pro Humanitate” by Buck Hinman (’16).

Make it a great weekend, Deac families!  (And because it’s Friday, we remind you to talk to your students.  You love and miss them – give them a call).

— by Betsy Chapman


I read a story recently about a pregnant woman who found, reportedly, a human finger in her salad at an Applebee’s in California. Apparently, the finger belonged to one of the cooks, who didn’t even notice his finger coming off. When I saw this article, the journalist inside of me said, “You know this is a dumb story. This reads like one of those old tabloids claiming to prove the existence of marvels like the ‘Bat Boy’ and mermaids.” But do you know what I did? I devoured every word of that article. I couldn’t stop reading! I mean, come on, don’t you want to hear how the heck something like that can happen?

Yet, when I saw articles about the amazing expansion of Innovation Quarter here in Winston-Salem or the rapid revitalization of the downtown area, I just couldn’t bring myself to read the whole thing. I could get through the headline and maybe the first few paragraphs, sure, but rarely did I ever read the entire article. This struggle became especially apparent in a Community Journalism class I took with Professor Phoebe Zerwick here at Wake. We took quizzes each week with questions asking basic information about important local stories in Winston-Salem, and, for some reason, studying for those quizzes proved immensely difficult. I just couldn’t remember information about newly-elected city officials, business deals, or major construction on the highway as easily as I could recall that woman with a finger in her salad.

Sure, the reason this happened seems obvious – local reporting simply doesn’t seem to have the overarching consequences or heightened shock value as national political scandals or wars abroad. Reading big, investigative reports in the New York Times feels much more weighty and impactful than a local politician embezzling funds. But does that difference justify my negligence and occasional disregard for local news? These are stories that significantly impact the community in which I live and the lives of the people around me.

But that story about the finger is just so interesting, isn’t it?

So, let’s be honest with ourselves for a second. Don’t worry, it’s fine – there is no need to stress about a wrong answer. Just tell yourself the truth: how many of you read any issues of the Old Gold & Black this semester? I know some of you who have never even looked at a copy in your four years here at Wake!

Or, consider the place you call home. Can you name the mayor of your town or city? Any local officials? Your state senators? These are people who make the day-to-day decisions that affect your quality of life, and that of your neighbors. In addition to fighting for our allies and those struggling around the world, are you standing up to fight for the people you grew up with? How about those who you greet on the street every day and who make your food, or keep your electricity running?

Our generation lives in an incredible and wacky world where you and I can confidently discuss the Sunni and Shi’ite conflict plaguing the Middle East yet remain blissfully unaware of institutional racism or high numbers of sexual assault on our own university’s campus. We receive so much information every day through our phones, our TV, our friends, and our classes, that only the most attention-grabbing headlines hold our interest.

For the record, this speech isn’t only about being news-savvy. Following every news story reported every day would be exhausting – just ask the editor or news director of any major news outlet. This is about how the macro and the micro have importance. This is about how we often pursue the grandest goals and ideas without remembering the importance of the smallest.

As Wake Forest students, we tend to think big. Our teachers push us and we push ourselves to shape the world in the spirit of Pro Humanitate. A lot of you will leave here to run some of the largest financial sectors in the country, fill positions in our national government, or work on world-altering advances in medicine and technologies .In those worlds, it’s easy to forget what’s happening in our immediate surroundings and how we treat those in our communities, including ourselves. But we cannot forget that, however lofty Pro Humanitate sounds, it is crucial we apply it not just to those one thousand miles away, but also to those immediately around us. With the skills and talents we have developed at Wake, our class has the ability and the responsibility to improve the communities in which we live.

I’m hopeful about us. In my time at Wake, I have met people who will undoubtedly become dedicated public servants, and people who will always be willing to help someone in need. I know students at this school who spend hours every week going to shelters and organizations around Winston-Salem and helping out because they know they can use their knowledge and skills to improve the lives of people around them. And because of this, all the “strangers” that we have been taught to fear or ignore become friends faster than one might think.

The next time you feel disconnected from the people around you or you miss the strength and richness of the Wake Forest community, remember that we can recreate what we had here at Wake in every city around the country. It’s up to us, as we leave the Wake Bubble once and for all, to stop forming bubbles altogether.  Wherever you end up, go and learn about your community, engage with your community, and  work to create an environment where Pro Humanitate isn’t just an ideal, but a reality. Thank you.


Much To Say – Even More to DO!

You are probably all tiring of the descriptions of the superb weather we are having here, but it bears repeating. It. Is. Glorious.

Lots on the docket to talk about today, most of it coming in the vein of ‘items on the WFU smorgasboard’.  Urge your Deacs to loosen their belts and sample plentifully of all there is to offer.

A disclaimer – this is but a portion of things on the horizon, but because I was just at a meeting where many of these things were discussed, I wanted to share in a timely fashion. As always, our Events Calendar has a much broader swath of activities to see.

Global Wake Week continues. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, ARAMARK/Campus Dining is hosting an Irish themed dinner tonight in the Pit. Your Deacs can also take Virtual Reality tours of international locations tonight. There will be food trucks tomorrow from 12-2 on the Mag Quad.  The Global Wake Week site has all the events that wrap up this week.

Wake N’ Shake has over 1,250 dancers registered for the dance marathon, which starts at noon this Saturday and runs til midnight. Students can dance and/or can support others who are dancing. Really cool event every year.  (FYI, also on Saturday is an EMS drill to simulate a mass casualty situation; this is just a drill!)

There will be a celebration of the vernal equinox and the official start of spring on Sunday. (And while I never dreamed I would be talking about an event that included the words “sheep shearing,” never say never, because that is part of the deal.  Read it for yourself.)

zenThe Chaplain’s Office has a session coming up Monday at 7 pm on Zen meditation and mindfulness, taught by a leading practitioner. If your students are inclined to stress, urge them to consider learning more about mindfulness. Lots of great research of late showing the positive and lasting benefits of meditation. Next week there will also be a variety of events by and for students from various faith traditions.

There is a Women’s Leadership Symposium 2016 taking place on Tuesday the 21st.  Wake Forest alumna Jessica Shortall (’00 ), co-founder of the Campus Kitchens Project, will be here, and it looks like a great program overall.

A little farther out in time…

The Office of Sustainability is seeking nominations for the Campus Sustainability Awards (due March 28).

The Thrive Office is doing a major study on wellbeing an how Wake Forest has impacted students. Students will get an email April 11 (or shortly after) about how to participate in this research study and help shape the WFU experience for others. Plus, they get a gift for participating. Urge your Deacs to respond to the call of the Wellbeing Study.

The LGBTQ Center will host its Lavender Graduation on April 27th. This is open to the whole community – faculty, staff, students of any year, LGBTQ and allies alike.

Finally, a giant, giant mea culpa on my part. Yesterday’s blog put out a call for advice for incoming P’20 parents. As I live and breathe, when I tested it everything worked beautifully. Somehow in the translation of inserting the form in the blog, it went a bit kerblooie. (I am not a tech person but think it may have had something to do with filling out the form via phone/iPad vs regular computer, but I can’t be sure).

I know it worked for some people, because I did get answers through the form.  But to my dismay, I heard from some of you who submitted answers (and they did not come through), or that you spent time typing them in and then got a form error. I am so, so sorry.

For those of you who didn’t submit yesterday and wanted to, don’t use yesterday’s blog to do so.  This is a link to the form (hosted on its own web page this time). You can also always email us at with your advice.

Again, sorry to anyone who experienced difficulty!

— by Betsy Chapman

Been There, Done That. Tell Us What You Know.

I have the worst case of Spring Fever ever, and I gotta be honest, it is really hard to want to sit in my office and work when I could go outside and enjoy the sunshine and nearly 80 degree weather.  So today’s Daily Deac will be brief – and it will be a call for action for you!

We are beginning to work on the New Students web site for the Class of 2020 and could use the help of our ‘Been There, Done That’ parents. We want to hear your best advice to new families.  What do you wish you had realized/done during your own Deac’s first year at Wake Forest?

Please share your thoughts in this form; answers may be used (anonymously) in our advice for new parents web site. Complete as much or as little as you like.

Thank you in advance for helping me – and helping our soon-to-be P’20s!

— by Betsy Chapman

Advice for Incoming Parents of the Class of 2020

This is a survey for current parents (P'16, '17, '18, and '19) to provide advice to parents of incoming freshmen (P'20s). Please provide any helpful advice in the questions below.


It’s Almost Unfair How Nice the Weather Is

I went out to lunch today to The Porch (which, if your students have not discovered, they need to. Great tex-mex and the best queso in the city).  It was the first time I had been out of my building today, and the weather is absolutely glorious.  What’s it like, you ask?


Light breeze.

Trees are in bloom.  Pink flowers on the prettiest of them.

Daffodils popping up everywhere.

Students in shorts and sundresses, with flip flops and sandals.

You see lots of happy faces – the way you get when it’s such a nice day it just seems to make everything better.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

poll shuttleSo I urge your Deacs to get outside and enjoy this weather. And for those who registered to vote in NC, today is primary day, so I hope they will get to their polling place.  Our College Democrats and College Republicans have a shuttle to take students registered to vote in NC to the voting spot – shuttles run from the Benson Center circle every half hour until 7 pm.

One of the goals of a Wake Forest education is to prepare students to lead lives that matter and to go forth and do for the good of humanity. I would argue that voting matters a great deal and we want our students to be engaged, involved citizens who are voting.  (I don’t even care if you vote for my candidate – I just want you to vote, period!)

Have a Super Tuesday wherever you are, Deac families!

— by Betsy Chapman

Welcome Back!

Spring Break seemed to go by in a flash for us – did it for you and your Deacs? Happily, they are coming back to a campus where spring has sprung. If you drive in the main entrance off of Silas Creek Parkway and Reynolda Road, you can see the start of a carpet of daffodils popping up, and creeping phlox. It makes for an especially pretty picture.

We’re jumping right into the week with announcements about a few opportunities for your students to engage in meaningful ways.

Global Wake Week 2016Global Wake Week:

This week is Global Wake Week, and there are a TON of activities, as you can see at this link.  One change to mention, due to the possibility of rain, the Zuzu African Acrobats will perform at 7 pm tonight in Brendle Recital Hall.  Also – for those of you who have Deacs who love dogs, tomorrow there is a Rent A Puppy on the Mag Quad from 1-4 pm.  Hope your Deacs will take advantage of the many, many fun activities planned.

Voices of Our Time

This Thursday is a Voices of Our Time event: “Aging, Health & Longevity in the 21st Century” with S. Jay Olshansky, PhD. It will be held Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in Farrell Hall, Broyhill Auditorium.  His research focuses on the upper limits to human longevity, health and public policy implications associated with aging, and the pursuit of the scientific means to slow aging. This will be a wonderful opportunity for students to hear from a leading voice in this field.

From the Dean of Students office:

Finally, this one is an opportunity for Deacs who want to be involved in campus leadership and the work of the Office of the Dean of Students:

Are you looking to give back to WFU at a higher level? Have you been searching for a meaningful way to help others?  If so, these advanced leadership opportunities are for you! 

Apply today to be a student member of Wake’s Judicial Council (JC), Honor and Ethics Council (HEC), or Board of Investigators and Advisors (BIA). Information about each position and the joint application are found on our website at

Applications are due Friday, March 25, 2015 by 5 pm.  Information Sessions will be held on the following dates from 6-7 pm in Benson 410

– March 16, 2016

– March 24, 2016

Lots of ways to be involved, stretch your mind, learn something new.  Make it a great first week back!

— by Betsy Chapman