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Phi Beta Kappa Induction

phi beta kappaYesterday I had the pleasure of attending the induction ceremony of the newest members of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society.   About twenty juniors and around 50 seniors were invited to join this year.  It was a wonderful event for them and for the many proud family members, faculty, and staff in attendance.  And as an alumna of WFU and a member of PBK as well, I was proud to see these exceptional young men and women being honored.  I knew a few of them and they are terrific.

In addition to celebrating the students, a member of the faculty was given an honorary membership as well.  The professor was Mary Foskett of the Religion department.  I have worked with Mary for many years and she is an exceptional teacher-scholar and has such a heart for both students and scholarship – a most deserving recipient of this honor.

The keynote speaker at the event was Blake Morant, dean of the School of Law (and a PBK member as well.)  Dean Morant opened by asking the audience if we knew some of the most famous members of Phi Beta Kappa (see list here).  He then shared a story about his first job following law school.  He had been on an Army ROTC scholarship and then was part of the JAG Corps (Judge Advocate General).

Disclaimer: Dean Morant is a phenomenal speaker and a very charismatic storyteller, so I can not do his live performance justice.  But it was a good story.

In his first JAG Corps assignment, he was at Fort Bragg here in NC and was working on general contract law, which is evidently one of the most complicated forms of law to practice.  His commanding officer assigned him to work on a contract for a particular piece of equipment – a tank – that the 3 star general of the base wanted to purchase.

Dean Morant researched this exhaustively and found that there was an endangered species of bird on base that was protected by new EPA rules that applied to military bases (as well as the general population) and that the general could not get this tank because of the risk to this endangered bird.

He presented his masterfully written briefing memo to his commanding officer, basically saying the general could not get the tank.  The officer read it and said it was one of the most thorough and well-developed briefings ever – and that Dean Morant would have to be the one to meet the general to tell him no in person.  Evidently the general was a real Patton-style guy and not used to hearing the word “no.”  The prospect of having to break this bad news to the general was fearsome indeed.

Being extremely well rounded in his own liberal arts undergraduate experience at the University of Virginia, Dean Morant relied on his critical thinking skills and tried to think outside of the box (or base as it were) to find other solutions.   He drove all around the base to see if there were other areas that did not have this bird in residence, but would also meet the needs of the general and would allow him to get the tank.  He was able to find a different section of land that had no endangered birds and room for the types of tank drills required.

He amended the briefing memo to show that the general could both safeguard the endangered bird and get him the tank he wanted.  A win for everyone.  But especially for Dean Morant, who had the academic training to think creatively and problem-solve.  He credited his undergraduate experience for helping him develop those skills.

After this story, Dean Morant urged the students to let this induction into Phi Beta Kappa be the *beginning* of a life of great things, not the crowning achievement.  Hard work and a firm grounding in the liberal arts can make anything possible – and he stressed that now more than ever, we need people with liberal arts backgrounds to help look into the problems of the world and find solutions.

Following the induction ceremony, the new members, their families, and faculty and staff celebrated the success of these great students.  It was a great night for all.

Congratulations to all our new members!

Focus on the Forest

Some of the most positive feedback we get at the Daily Deac is from parents and family members who appreciate seeing photos of things that are happening on campus, and also the “five senses” posts where we set up camp somewhere around the campus and just observe for 30 minutes and chronicle what we see.  Today the weather is supposed to be awful – 100% chance of rain for a good part of the day, although right now (9:20 am) it is still dry.

photoblog_tree_header1We’ll try to get a “five senses” post in sometime this week, but for now I want to draw your attention to a wonderful photo resource.  It’s called Focus on the Forest, and it is a Tumblr site maintained by Ken Bennett, our award-winning University Photographer.   He is taking pictures all the time, to document campus events as well as get shots of campus and students that can be used on the website, in publications, and more.  There are over 70,000 photos in our archive, dating back from late 90s or early 2000s.  Ken puts some of the best of them up on Focus on the Forest, and if you want a visual treat, you should check out the site.

For another look at campus any time, there is the Quad Cam.  If you are viewing it from your PC or laptop, it should work fine.  We are having a little hitch with it coming through on smartphones, and our IS and web teams are working on that.  So know that if you try it on your phone, you might not get it, but the issue has been reported and is being addressed, but it is a complicated issue and will take some time to fix.  Apologies to all.

One time I’d recommend you check out the Quad Cam is on April 25th – that will be our second Campus Day for Accepted Students.  There will be a lot of activity at the following times:

7:30-8:45 am – when people check in to register at Wait Chapel

9:30-10 am – when the first program in Wait Chapel ends and they all depart en masse for other sessions

2:00ish-4ish – students will begin setting up the Student Involvement Fair during the 2:00 time frame, as the admitted students and families are in their last program in Wait Chapel.  Once that finishes, the Demon Deacon leads the students out of the chapel and on to the Quad, where the band, cheerleaders, and dance team are waiting.  You’ll see a ton of prospective students and parents walking around to visit the tables at the Student Involvement Fair (student organizations set up tables to promote their groups)

Monday Morning News

Good Monday morning, Deac families!  Here’s a little bit of news from everywhere to help you start your week.

This weekend was perhaps the most beautiful one we have had all spring.  It was sunny all weekend, highs in the mid-70s, and all of the flowers and flowering trees seem to be exploding with blooms all at once.  It is hard to imagine a prettier time at Mother So Dear.

On Friday we had the first of two Campus Days for Accepted Students, with about 400 families (1,000 people total) attending.  These events are for students who have been admitted into the Class of 2018.  Some have already committed to WFU, others are kicking the tires between their final top choices.  It is a wonderful day for students and families to experience all Wake has to offer.  One new feature this year was a version of the Campus Involvement Fair at the end of the day, when student organizations manned tables around the Quad to feature the work of their organizations.  Many thanks to all the students who were there to greet the new families, and also to the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black and cheerleaders and dance team.  And of c0urse, our Demon Deacon!  I had also seen a great “Did You Know?” about some of Wake’s points of pride.  Did you know we did all this?  Did You Know

Friday we received an announcement that alumna Melissa Harris-Perry (’94) will return to campus as a chaired professor in the department of Politics and International Affairs.  This is a big get for Wake Forest.  Dr. Harris-Perry is an award-winning scholar and author who has taught at Tulane, University of Chicago, and Princeton. Her first book, “Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought,” won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.  Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary black Americans and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African Americans respond to these challenges.  She spoke on campus a couple of years ago and she is dynamic , interesting, and passionate.  She is going to be someone who engages students deeply in the classroom, and she will bring with her a wealth of knowledge and connections through her journalism career.

We also learned late last week of a $3 million gift from Blue Cross Blue Shield NC (BCBSNC) to support the University’s well-being initiative.  The $3 million gift from BCBSNC will help us create a campus community dedicated to well-being and support initiatives across eight dimensions: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, intellectual, financial, occupational, and environmental.  It will support the transformation of Reynolds Gym into a comprehensive center for well-being, fund a new director of well-being position, provide seed grants for faculty research on health and well-being, and support new well-being programs on campus.  This is big news too and very exciting.

Finally, residence hall selection has taken place.  As happens every year, there are some students who did not select a room (for a various of reasons).  If your student is in the Yet to Be Assigned group, here is some information about that process and how it plays out over the summer.

As always, big things are happening at Wake Forest.  And your students are the beneficiaries!



Campus Day for Accepted Students

20100409campusday0173Today is the first of two Campus Days for Accepted Students.  These days are some of the happiest of our year – when we get a chance to meet potential members of the Class of 2018 and their parents.

If you are a coming to Campus Day, we hope you will stop by the Parent Programs table during Registration (outside Wait Chapel between 7:30-8:30 am) and say hello.  We’ll have some great Wake Forest parent buttons, copies of one of the best issues of the Wake Forest Magazine, and more.

And if you’re a reader of the Daily Deac, be sure to tell us that too!  We love to meet our Deac families!

Glorious, Glorious Day

Today is a spectacularly glorious day on campus.  Temps in the 60s, sunny and mild, light breeze.

I took a walk at lunchtime through the north side of campus (near Farrell and the new North Dining Hall), past Student Apartments, behind the Byrum Center and all the way up to Reynolda Gardens.  It could not have been prettier.

Along the way, here is what I noticed:

- several groups of runners or walkers, all students, most of whom had on earbuds

- three crazy cats that were chasing each other in the parking lot near the walkway to Reynolda Gardens

- lots of new blooms on trees.  I am not good with botany, but the flowers are a fuschia color

- recent work on the flower beds in Reynolda Gardens, so we can expect some magnificent blooms in the weeks to come

- a handful of people who were either visiting Reynolda House or Reynolda Gardens during their lunch hours, all of whom looked delighted to be enjoying such a nice day

- a section of field near Reynolda House (between the house and the gate to Reynolda Road) that looked like a carpet of daffodils.  Solid stretch of nothing but daffodils blooming, so pretty

If your students are not getting out every day and taking  a walk around campus, urge them to do so whenever the weather is nice.  If they aren’t yet familiar with all the nooks and crannies around campus, spring is definitely the time to do it.

Catching Up from Last Week

The staff of the Daily Deac had a week’s vacation last week, and it looks like we picked an eventful week to be gone.  As you have surely seen by now, Wake has a new basketball coach in Danny Manning.  Here is the official email I received from Ron Wellman, our Athletic Director.


I am pleased to announce that Danny Manning is our new basketball coach. Known as one of the most accomplished college basketball players in the history of the sport, Danny has played for and worked under a number of legendary coaches and he has been successful in his coaching career. 

Danny has spent the last two seasons as the head coach at the University of Tulsa. He was named the 2013-14 Conference USA Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Hurricane to the conference championship and a berth in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Tulsa’s first appearance since 2003.  Manning is currently a finalist for two national Coach of the Year awards including the Jim Phelan Award, to the nation’s top coach, and the Ben Jobe Award, given to the nation’s top minority coach.

We are excited to have Danny as a Demon Deacon, and I hope you will join me in welcoming him, his wife Julie, and their children Taylor and Evan to Wake Forest University! I look forward to introducing Danny to the Wake Forest community next week. 

Go Deacs!

Ron Wellman


The full press release on Coach Manning is available online here.   This is an unconfirmed report, but I had a friend message me yesterday saying that Coach Manning will be introduced to campus on the Quad this Tuesday at 6 pm.  I am trying to find out whether or not that’s true.

In campus news, this week your students are going through Round 2 of registration for fall classes.    They will also be going through residence hall selection and meal plan selection.  If your students have questions about either process, the best places to start are the websites, and then they can talk to their RA or Residence Life or Campus Dining if they have more detailed questions.

Many of you have started thinking about summer storage and shipping options for your Deacs’ belongings.  If your student needs to purchase boxes and tape and just needs to ship items home, our own on-campus Mail Services can provide those options.  They ship belongings home, but do not store boxes for the summer.   Your student can check out the Mail Services office in the basement of Benson University Center to discuss his/her box and shipping needs.

For students who want to ship their belongings home at the end of the semester (or have them stored in Winston-Salem over the summer), Wake Forest has a relationship with Eli’s Pack and Ship.  For more details, see the phone and website information below: 

Eli’s Pack & Ship
Eli Bradley

Families are welcome to select their own vendors or service providers.  However, this company is one with whom Wake Forest has an existing vendor relationship.

It was a beautiful weekend in Winst0n-Salem, if a little chilly yesterday.  This morning there is nothing but grey skies and rain, and it looks like the rain will continue all day.   But if the 5-day forecast holds, it will be 74 by Friday, which is the first of our two Campus Days for Accepted Students.  Nothing beats the Wake Forest campus when it is mid 70s and sunny.

Have a great week, Deac families!

Photo of the Day

As the Daily Deac concludes its week off, we wanted to end with a Pic of the Day.

What you see below is a fun shot of the Deacon statue at Deacon Tower.  Twilight on a nice evening.  Hard to top that.

Hope you and yours are getting ready for a wonderful weekend, and we’ll be back next week with the regular Daily Deacs.



Our Country’s Good

The University Theatre has a production of Our Country’s Good coming up next week.  Details are below.

WFU theatre productions are always outstanding.  Sometimes what you see is inspiring, or thought provoking, or poignant, or uproariously funny.  But they always make you think, and feel.  And appreciate the immense talent we have on our campus – everything from the lighting and sound designers to the costumes and sets and props to the actors and directors.

Urge your Deacs to go see this production!


20140318theatre4964OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD

By Timberlake Wertenbaker

Based on Thomas Keneally’s novel The Playmaker

Directed by Sharon Andrews

7:30 pm April 4-5 & 9-12, 2014

2:00 pm April 13, 2014

The first Governor of a wild new penal colony in Australia believed in the transformative power of theatre.  Arguing the merits of allowing criminals to perform a play, Captain Arthur Phillip says, “The theatre is an expression of civilization…for a few hours we will no longer be despised prisoners and hated gaolers. We will laugh, we may be moved, we may even think a little. Can you think of something else that will provide such an evening?”

The Olivier and Tony Award winning play, Our Country’s Good tells the moving, sometimes painful, and often funny story of the dedication and passion a group of convicts in one of the remotest corners of their known world, poured into the production of a play that changed their lives.

This Week at the Daily Deac

The Daily Deac is going to be off the grid for a few days.  So for this week, we have pre-scheduled some interesting Pictures of the Day and notices about upcoming events on campus.  Hope you enjoy!


Most of the time, a rainy day isn’t particularly fun.  Your students have to trudge around in their rain gear carrying their backpacks or messenger bags.  Squeaky boots and puddles and all.

But sometimes the rain can bring a moment of unexpected beauty, or a new perspective on something you see every day.  Our gifted University Photographer, Ken Bennett, saw just such a moment recently on campus, and took a picture of one of the trees on campus reflected in a puddle.  An unexpected little gift.


Tony Dungy tonight at 6:30 pm

Just a reminder to your Deacs that there is a wonderful opportunity tonight to hear Tony Dungy speak in Wait Chapel.  Doors to the event will open at 5:45 p.m. with seating on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Here is what the Leadership Project web site says about this event:

Wake Forest & Leadership

Today’s students are graduating into a world that is more competitive, dynamic and uncertain than earlier generations. They will have many jobs and careers during their lifetimes. They will need to be equipped to make their own opportunities and navigate an unpredictable future. Simply put, they will have to lead.

At Wake Forest, our responsibility is to educate the whole person-mind, body and spirit – and to help students find their place in the world. It means that while at Wake, students discover where their gifts and talents lie and are challenged to explore questions deeply and to think about their own responsibility for making the world better.

Here you will see that embedded in the collegiate experience for our students is a diverse set of courses, programs and opportunities we use to develop those necessary leadership skills and capabilities.

Introducing the Leadership Project

In its inaugural event on Wednesday, March 26 at 6:30 p.m., the Leadership Project will present legendary football coach and bestselling author Tony Dungy to speak in Wait Chapel.

Dungy led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2007, the first such win for an African-American coach. He joined the Colts in 2002 after serving as the most successful head coach in the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Widely recognized as an inspirational champion both on and off the field, Dungy has authored several books on topics of significance, such as living life with integrity, courage, strength and purpose. Read Tony’s full bio »

I wish I could go to cover the event, but I cannot.  We’ll try to get you a recap elsewhere.

This speech tonight is one more dish at the Wake Forest buffet – but a dish that will only be served once.  Now is the time for your students to take that bite if they can.