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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

Stop, Drop, and Roll

The first of our New Student Receptions is tonight in Weston, MA, a Boston suburb.  I’ll be there to help staff that event, so am doing a little pre-blogging for the time I’ll be traveling.

On the website, we have a section called Advice for New Parents.  If you are a new parent (P’19), we encourage you to visit.  And if you are the parent of an upperclassman/woman and you missed it last year, feel free to review it as well.

This year we added a new item called Stop, Drop, and Roll about student problem-solving.  It’s meant to be a bit cheeky but at the same time tackle one of the tough parental decision points – when to help your student with problems vs. when to let go and let them do it.

There are great benefits to students trying to find answers and solutions on their own whenever possible.  However, as a mom myself (hopeful P’27), I frequently struggle with knowing when to jump in and when to back off.  And I also wanted to be sure that parents have resources and contact information if you need to be in touch for a truly urgent situation.  Hope you find this useful.

— by Betsy Chapman


Stop Drop and RollOne of the most important ways parents and families can help their students have a successful transition to college life is by encouraging them to solve their own problems.  Please bookmark or print out this Stop, Drop and Roll Student Problem-Solving flyer so you have it when your student contacts you with a problem.  Also, the flyer lists contact information for urgent and serious concerns where parent intervention might be appropriate.

When your student calls you with a problem, rather than jump right into FIX IT! Mode, we’re asking you to Stop, Drop, and Roll.  Here’s what we mean:

Stop – and take a deep breath when your student contacts you with a problem.  Is it REALLY, something he or she cannot solve on his or her own?  If you fix the problem for your student, has your student really learned anything or developed self-reliance and independence?

Drop – the urge to reach out and fix things yourself or provide instructions on how your student should handle the situation.  Instead, push back with questions: What do you think you might do?  What are your options?  What campus offices might have resources?  What have you already tried?   

Roll – with it!  This is easy to say, but hard to do.  Let your student do the problem-solving on his or her own (even if the solution is different from how you might have handled it).  Struggling with adversity builds resilience and helps your students learn that they are capable and resourceful.

Why Is It Important to Let Your Students Solve Problems on Their Own?

None of us want to see our students struggle with problems.  Think back to a time when you were 18 or 19 and had a big issue in front of you that you managed to solve on your own.  Didn’t you feel good at the end that you managed to find a solution – even if it was hard at the time?  Didn’t you feel stronger? more independent? capable? proud?

Parents, your problem-solving skills are already well-developed precisely because you have had to flex those problem-solving muscles many times in your life.  Your skills developed over time and through use.  Now it is your students’ turn to grow those muscles!

Unintended Consequences of Parents’ Problem-Solving  for their Students

Sometimes parents – with only the best of intentions – want to solve their students’ problems thinking it will help their student (e.g. ‘my daughter is so stressed out about midterms – if I can call Residence Life for her and find the answer she needs, it will take one thing off her plate and help her!’) While you may think intervening on your student’s behalf will help in the short term, are you helping them develop the skills they need in the long term?  We all have to juggle multiple priorities in our adult lives – school or work, relationships, home issues, money issues.  The sooner your students learn to manage competing priorities and solve problems, the better prepared they will be for the real world after college.

Another issue that arises from parent intervention is that when you fix things for your students, the message you may send them – however unintended – is that you might not believe your students can fix the problems on their own, or that you don’t trust them do it right themselves.  This can create a cycle of uncertainty and dependence at a time when your students need to develop self-advocacy, independence, and problem solving skills.

What Abour Serious Problems or Urgent Concerns?

While we encourage you to let your student navigate his or her Wake Forest experience as independently as possible, if you have an urgent concern about the health, safety, or wellbeing of your student or others, there are offices available to assist you.

University Police
336-758-5591 (non-emergency)
336-758-5911 (emergency)
Admin Offices:

Student Health Service
Nurse available at the Health Service with physician on-call back-up after clinic hours (5:00 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.) Monday through Friday and 24
hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays during the Fall and Spring semesters

University Counseling Center
After-hours and weekend crisis response available when school is in session by calling the Student Health Service at 336-758-5218

Office of Parent Programs
336-758-4237 (main Parents’ Page) and (Parents’ Page FAQ with answers to many frequently-asked questions)

After hours assistance
Most administrative offices work on a Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5:00 pm schedule.  If you have an urgent need to reach someone at the university because you have a concern that must be addressed quickly, we have designated the University Police as our 24/7 contact. They can assess the situation and determine who best to address your concern.

The 24-hour contact number for University Police is 336.758.5591 (non-emergency) or 336.758.5911 (emergency). They can get in touch with on-call
duty staff 24-hours/day.


Advice for New Parents

Our New Student Reception season is kicking off tomorrow in Weston, MA.  These gatherings allow incoming freshmen and their parents/family members to meet each other, build their WFU networks, and hear advice from upperclassmen/women (and sometimes their parents).

we want you deacIf you are the parent of a rising sophomore, junior, or senior (or are the parent of a recent graduate), we’d love to hear your advice about getting your best start at Wake Forest.

We’ve built a short 5-question survey online called Advice for Incoming Parents.  Please help me by taking a few moments to share your thoughts, and if we get a good response, we’ll be able to share the aggregate results with our new parents.

Many thanks in advance for your input!

— by Betsy Chapman


Meet the New Dean

michele.gillespie.620x350-460x260Yesterday at a large staff meeting I had the opportunity to hear from someone I’ve known a long time, but who is approaching a new role as the Dean of the College effective July 1:  Michele Gillespie.  She was named Dean of the College earlier this spring (see official announcement here) but she was at our staff meeting to talk a little bit about her Wake Forest experience and why she is so excited about the future.  I won’t do justice to her presentation, but here are some select moments.

She talked about growing up in a rural part of New Jersey and that she had a transformational experience in high school as an exchange student to Indonesia.  That abroad experience made her want to go to a college that wasn’t in the Northeast and that would challenge her – certainly not as much as Indonesia, but in a place that was new to her.

She ended up in Texas at Rice University and was an English-History double major.  Rice, she said, was a lot like Wake Forest in terms of its undergraduate experience, with an emphasis on student-faculty engagement and excellent teaching.  At Rice, she had the opportunity to work more closely with faculty and helped work with the Journal of Southern History.

Michele ended up at Princeton for her PhD in History, working with  historian James McPherson, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning Battle Cry to Freedom.  She taught for nine years at Agnes Scott College, an all-women’s school in Atlanta.  She did a lot of work with race, class, and sex in the early South and how women were represented (or absent) in history, particularly as it involved women and work.

Her husband, Kevin Pittard, is a 1985 graduate of Wake Forest and was a teacher.  He won the Waddill Award for Excellence in Teaching (an award given to two outstanding Wake Forest alumni teachers) and he and Michele came to campus to receive the award.  Michele recalled that some of Kevin’s former faculty came to a reception in his honor, and she was blown away by the campus and its sense of community and hospitality, not to mention academic excellence.

She said that she had been happy at Agnes Scott College, but having seen Wake Forest firsthand, when a job in the History department opened up about six months later, she felt like she wanted to throw her hat in the ring and have a chance to be part of this great community.

The rest, as they say, is history.  She came back to teach history, and her husband Kevin also came back to Wake as an Associate Dean of Admissions.

Knowing Michele as my friend, as well as a faculty member and administrator, I can say she really is a wonderful person.  She gives a lot to her students, helping mentor them.  She worked for several years in the Provost’s office and was a thoughtful and talented administrator, and she was always a hit any time she spoke to groups of alumni or parents.

I know she’ll do a great job for your students as Dean of the College and am excited to see what the future brings.

— by Betsy Chapman

Reminder on Student Health Insurance Requirement

Happy June, Deac families!  We’re starting to get into some important deadlines and details for the fall semester, as crazy as that sounds.  The first one is about our student health insurance requirement.  I was sent the following information from our Student Insurance Administrator to share with parents and families:

All full-time enrolled students, new and returning, are required to have health insurance.  Open enrollment for the Student Blue Plan begins today, June 1st, and will end on Monday, August 3rd.  If your student has health insurance that meets the University’s criteria for waiver, please visit to submit the current policy information and opt out of the Student Blue plan for ’15-’16.  If a waiver is not submitted by Monday, August 3rd, your student will be enrolled in the insurance plan and charged for the fall premium.

Because this is something that we often get questions about, let me stress a couple of points.

– Simply having health insurance for your student isn’t satisfying the requirement.  You have to show that you have coverage by completing the waiver at

– If you do not take any action at all, your student will be automatically enrolled and you will be billed for the coverage

So please do take care of this now and ensure your Deac is covered and there are no unhappy surprises on your tuition bill!

— by Betsy Chapman

Strange Days Indeed

It’s the end of a short work week, Deac families.  Hope that you might have joined in on what we like to call Black and Gold Friday, which means wearing black and gold (or even better, WFU apparel) wherever you live so you can show your Deac spirit.   Feel free to do that every Friday.

Apologies to my P’19 parents who I unduly alarmed yesterday in talking about spam.  The parent communications survey we sent out did not go to incoming freshmen families (P’19s) because you would not have had an opportunity to see a wide range of the things we offer.  So if you are a P’19, this email would never have hit your inbox at all.  Sorry for any confusion.

5 29 15  farrellI went up to Farrell Hall around lunchtime today to grab a bite at Einstein’s Bagels and encountered an almost completely empty Farrell Hall Living Room.  That’s akin to finding a four leaf clover – it just doesn’t happen that often.  It was surprisingly empty, maybe 3-4 people total in the giant space.  By the time my lunch was ready, there was a sudden influx of students coming out of a stairwell; class must have been ending.  Phew.  That seemed much more normal.

5 29 15  clouds5 29 15 rainThe other big oddity happened on the way back to my office.  It’s a beautiful sunny day, with big, white, puffy clouds in the sky.  No storm clouds, just big cumulus clouds.  And then a sudden rain.  First a few drops, then more.  It was one of those sudden and unexpected sunny day showers.  Looking at the sky, you never would have believed it, but the pavement tells another story.

— by Betsy Chapman


5 Places to Try

There are lots of wonderful nooks and crannies on campus where students can go to study, hang out, enjoy the atmosphere, eat lunch or have a coffee. Students will find their favorite spots over time – maybe through trial and error.  If your students have not already discovered these spots, here are five to try during the fall.

The Starbucks in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest.

The Starbucks in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest.

The big back table at Starbucks.  It’s got a lot of room for laptops, spreading out papers, good for group project discussions, etc.  Right now has a little bit of the ‘darkened alcove’ kind of feel, but they are renovating this summer and it may look a little different come fall.  But it is a big, wide open table – nearly always occupied.  But I bet if your students hit the ZSR Library early in the day, they might be able to grab it.  It’s a little close to the end of the bar where the baristas put the drinks once they are made, and it is near the exit of ZSR closest to Tribble, so for some it may be distracting to have constant sound and movement.  But if you don’t mind that (or can tune it out), enjoy all the table space.

A predawn view of the Magnolia Patio and Manchester Plaza on the campus of Wake Forest.

A predawn view of the Magnolia Patio and Manchester Plaza on the campus of Wake Forest

The rocking chairs on the Mag Patio.  If you are the kind of person that wants to take your shoes off, kick your feet up on the rail, and read a book, this is an excellent spot for that.  It is especially pretty in the fall when the leaves have all changed colors.  You can see a great view straight to downtown.  This tends not to be a particularly loud area, unless there is something going on down on the Mag (Manchester) Quad.  The nearby umbrella tables are also a wonderful spot for having lunch.

One of the swings on Davis Field sits empty early on a misty morning.

One of the swings on Davis Field sits empty early on a misty morning.

Davis Field swings.  There are a few swings on the big trees on Davis Field.  On the weekend you might see local families with young children exploring campus and swinging on the swings.  In the fall you can see the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black marching band practice on the lower field, and on the weekends the field gets used for some high-spirited football games (since it is already marked with the yard lines).  The swings are a moment of whimsy and students can take a few minutes and swing like a kid again.

The Special Collections room in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library  at Wake Forest.

The Special Collections room in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest.

The Rare Books Room.  Do your students know that there is a Rare Books Room in the ZSR?  It has the University’s collection of old and rare books as well as other archival items.  They can go in and browse what is there, or ask one of the librarians to access some of the items in the cabinets.  At minimum, everyone should go in there and have a look around.  There are some exceptional things to be seen.

Cafe tables on the Quad.

Cafe tables on the Quad.

The cafe tables on the Quad.  These tables provide a nice spot for impromptu dining al fresco, having a cup of coffee, or just sitting for a few peaceful minutes and watching the world walk by.  Students can take board games off the nearby carts and play a vigorous round of Connect Four with a friend, etc.  My favorite time for the cafe tables is the spring, when all the pink flower petals are falling off the trees and it looks like pink snow beneath them.


— by Betsy Chapman


Happy Memorial Day!

Today is Memorial Day and the university is closed for the holiday.  Wherever you are, I hope you will join me in taking a few moments to reflect on the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, as well as their families.  We are grateful to all for their service and sacrifice, and particularly those who died while serving.

Think, too, of our newest ROTC graduates in the Class of 2015 who were commissioned last week.  May they be safe and well during their time in the service.

– by Betsy Chapman
Wake Forest University holds its 2015 Commencement ceremony on Hearn Plaza on Monday, May 18, 2015.  Graduating ROTC cadets reenact their commissioning on stage.

Wake Forest University holds its 2015 Commencement ceremony on Hearn Plaza on Monday, May 18, 2015. Graduating ROTC cadets reenact their commissioning on stage.

Wake Forest University holds its 2015 Commencement ceremony on Hearn Plaza on Monday, May 18, 2015.  Graduating ROTC cadets reenact their commissioning on stage.

Wake Forest University holds its 2015 Commencement ceremony on Hearn Plaza on Monday, May 18, 2015. Graduating ROTC cadets reenact their commissioning on stage.

In Advance of Memorial Day

We’re at the start of a 3-day weekend, Deac families.  The university will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

For so many years while I was growing up and in college, Memorial Day seemed like a very abstract concept.  It was about the military and those who had died in service to our country.  But I was not from a military family and didn’t have other friends who were, so it did not hit home.

During the fall of my junior year at Wake Forest, my roommate/best friend and I went abroad to Dijon, France.  One of our excursions with our faculty member was going to Normandy and to the D-day beaches.  And as soon as my classmates and I stepped onto that hallowed ground, the meaning of Memorial Day, and sacrifice, and loss, became painfully obvious.

It is a beautiful, beautiful memorial.  Overlooking the water, with perfect rows of seemingly endless graves of American soldiers.  We walked through and read some of the tombstones and could see these soldiers were our age.  That hit home.

This was one of the most painful but important learning moments of my time at Wake Forest.  I don’t know what will be your students’ transformative moments while at Wake, but surely they will have some that will change them profoundly and completely.

They had leaflets at the memorial site – and one of them was this prayer below in French.  My French is rusty and I won’t try to translate it here lest I get it wrong.  But it is a really beautiful and lyrical prayer about the past, present, and future.

In the first stanza, the writer asks God to tell us how to hold in our hands the sand of our lives.  The second stanza is a prayer to be taught how to hold on to the past the right way.  The third stanza asks to know how to hold on to the present without being absorbed by it.  The fourth stanza is a prayer to be taught about how not to dread the future.  The final stanza says [roughly] “God of the past, the present, and the future, help us every day to discover you.”

I’ve carried this in my wallet since the fall of 1990.

For the memory of the soldiers in Normandy who helped me learn about Memorial day, as well as all the others who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we honor you this weekend.

— by Betsy Chapman

dday beach final