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Senior Oration Finalist – Erin Hellman (’14)

We hope you have been enjoying our Senior Oration Finalist coverage.  These seniors are providing interesting and compelling reflections about their formative moments and experiences at Mother So Dear.  If you missed the winning orations read at Founders’ Day Convocation, they are  featured on the Wake Forest News website.

Today we invite you to enjoy “Education Through Service” by Erin Hellman (’14).

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It was the Saturday before Halloween and, like all Saturdays this past fall semester, I was up early, excited to see the smiling face of my favorite 5th  grader, Charice. Last year a fellow Wake Forest senior and I started a program at Ashley Elementary that we call “Saturday Academy.” Ashley Elementary is located less than 5 miles from our campus but is one of the lowest performing schools in the district. 91% of the students are considered low income and fewer than 20% of the students pass the state mandated standardized tests. With this challenge in mind, we began working at Ashley hoping to be one piece to the puzzle of closing the opportunity and achievement gaps that emerge as early as elementary school. With other Wake Forest students who have volunteered their time, we commute to Ashley Elementary every Saturday morning to tutor the students in math, reading, and healthy eating. Although as tutors our intent was to give back to the Winston-Salem community by helping young people, we quickly learned that these students and their families had much to teach us as well. What they have taught me has significantly enhanced by Wake Forest education, providing context for what I have learned in the classroom.

On this particular Saturday morning, the cafeteria was abuzz with students telling us about their plans for Halloween. Charice, greeted me with her usual excitement and immediately began chattering about the costume that she had planned to wear. I always love hearing about what the students are doing and immediately began asking questions. We were having a nice, lighthearted conversation until I naively asked if she would be trick-or-treating in her neighborhood. She adopted a very serious tone, as if she were now an adult talking to a naïve child, and began to tell me about the dangers of her neighborhood, offering a powerful narrative that indicated her awareness of the roles that race and class play in her life.

In my sophomore year after declaring a Sociology major with a focus on education, I began to realize that I would be spending many hours studying inequality in our country. I became fascinated by the many false assumptions that we make about people based on their race or class, and the way in which two individuals living less than 5 miles from one another, the distance that separates me and the students I work with at Ashley, can be going to school with such different perspectives and opportunities.

Many of these concepts were only things that I had read about growing up, having never had the experiences myself. As I became more immersed in my class work, I decided that I needed to know firsthand the people I was studying in order to really understand the issues. This need led me to Ashley Elementary, and there I found what had been missing from my education.

I believe the opportunity and achievement gaps are the largest problem facing American education. As I have learned in my courses at Wake Forest, many of our schools remain deeply segregated by both race and class. Opportunities for students often differ based on where they were fortunate enough to be born, and these opportunities, or lack thereof, have a profound impact on students’ future outcomes. By the 4th  grade low-income and minority students are, on average, already 2 years behind their more affluent peers, and the gap continues to grow throughout their schooling. Of the 30% of low income and minority students that enroll in college, fewer than half ever graduate. Although I had studied these problems in my classes at Wake, only when I immersed myself in the community did I truly begin to understand the inequality of opportunity that exists in our society. These experiences have led to a passion for helping young people and the drive to do something about the inequality that in our society.

The students at Ashley are facing many more challenges than I did as a child, but they have shown more perseverance and hope than imaginable. In spite of their own limited resources, their parents work extremely hard to provide the best that they can for their children. Some don’t even have cars to bring their children to school on Saturday mornings, but they always ensure that they are there and ready to work. All of the students tell me with excitement about their plans to graduate from high school and attend college, although all of them will be first generation college students. Their parents are hopeful as well, despite the fact that many of them know there’s deep uncertainty about their ability to afford college expenses.

My time at Ashley has taught me so much about the “real” world, both in the bad and very good sense; these highs and lows  have contributed immensely to my education. These Ashley students and their families have welcomed me and the other Wake Forest students into their lives, not as “others” but as friends. They have shown us that, although we have had different opportunities and experiences, we all share a hope for our future. We all strive to improve ourselves, and we all have genuine joy in working and learning together. As I study issues pertaining to race, class, and opportunity I can now put a face to the names, better understand the complexity of the issues, and relate them to my own experiences. In the classroom, there is a new depth to my understanding and my ability to formulate solutions, resulting from what my students have taught me.

The students at Ashley have taught me that we have an obligation to act. We cannot accept a world without hope or opportunity and be content with our current levels of inequality, the number of children in poverty, and the lack of safe neighborhoods. These students and their families are no longer  “others” to me who I only read about. They are my neighbors, my friends, my “family,” for whom I care deeply. As such, I can’t ignore them, and I must carry with me the education I have received from them, always remembering that everyone who lacks equality and opportunity is nevertheless a person, a member of my community, and a friend.

Thus, the beauty of my Wake Forest education is that I have been able to create a bridge from what I have learned in the classroom to the actual world in which we live. The spirit of “pro humanitate” has had a profound impact on my concept of an individual’s responsibility toward the world and on my plans for the future. I leave Wake Forest a more compassionate and empathetic person than when I entered. We all have great power as educated individuals and the opportunity to choose how we will exercise that power. I am looking forward, upon graduation, to begin teaching and empowering students through education. I thank Wake Forest for putting me on this path, and my wonderful peers and professors who have supported me and inspired me to make a difference.

Senior Oration Finalists – Kimberly Quick (’14)

Daily Deac is continuing coverage of some of the Senior Oration finalists.  As you may recall, the three winning orations were read at Founders’ Day Convocation; links to those speeches were featured on the Wake Forest News website.

Today we invite you to enjoy  ”Flying with a Parachute” by Kimberly Quick (’14).

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I looked at him in disbelief. His English was clear—his diction, precise—but his instructions seemed nonsensical, defying all logic and common sense. “Run until you reach the edge of the mountain,” he told me in his cheerful Swiss accent. “And then keep running.” I stood paralyzed on the summit from a combination of fear and cold that whipped off the mountain, piercing me like an enemy. A champion of the cautious, I naturally asked for clarification.

“So you are telling me to run off the side of the Alps?”

“Well, yes. But with a parachute,” he replied, his calmness in direct contrast to my poorly concealed panic.

The advice of the paragliding instructor has stuck with me, even two years after I returned from my study abroad experience. To the relief of my mother, I don’t treat his words literally, as I have so far only run off the side of that one mountain. But as I floated down over the lake in Interlaken, parachute securely fastened to me, my inner English minor emerged, and I hyper-analyzed the words of the Swiss gentleman who moments before had assured me that I would not only survive paragliding, but would live more fully while in the air.

Wake Forest, for me, has been the parachute. Coming into Wake as a freshman, I thought that I would never end my love affair with certainty. I liked facts, questions with reasonable answers, plans and procedures. College, to me, was a time to learn more of this, to figure out the formula for success and implement it. My education would be earned by walking a narrow path in the classroom, the library, office hours. Sure, I would meet new people, share experiences, and forge bonds of friendship. But these people were unlikely to have definitive answers to my many questions, the multiple opinions muddling my curious mind into a confused mess. Prepared to stand steadfast on that mountain of higher education, I felt safe, if a little cold.

But soon after arriving to Wake Forest, it became clear that my ideas about education were reductive, at best. The newness of the place both frightened and attracted me, and I soon became an eager freshman student, signing up for what probably amounted to 20 different clubs during the activities fair. Without realizing it, I began to form networks within the Wake community. Subconsciously, I pieced together my very own parachute of many colors, panel by panel. I enrolled in a variety of classes, finding numerous interdepartmental themes but various solutions to the same problems. Sitting in the offices of my professors, they told me to read independently and form my own conclusions. The blue panel. Initially attracted to the glitz and glamour of the costumes, I found myself on the Ballroom Dance competition team, a random departure from my much more streamlined background in ballet. The yellow panel. Becoming increasingly interested in concerns over diversity and inclusion at Wake, I joined a committee to plan a campus-wide dialogue on campus culture and the ways in which to improve it. I wove together a group of friends vastly different from me and from each other, and relished in our spirited yet respectful late night debates, which rarely had a resolution. The red. I joined Amnesty International, feeding my interest in international human rights. Before the end of freshman year, I had already planned and committed two study abroad trips—one summer in Ghana, and a semester in London. Green, orange, purple. My parachute was almost ready for use.

My education at Wake Forest has taught me one definitive that I will never forget; that I cannot know everything, and that I certainly do not want to. Very little is in black and white; life is open to interpretation; quests for answers simply yield more questions. Curiosity, not certainty, is tool of the well-educated. Throughout my time here I have formed and reformed opinions, contradicted myself, faced both failure and success, and, I hope, have emerged with an increased knowledge of myself, an elevated ability to think critically, and an increased compassion for and understanding of those who are different from me. The uncomfortable, the new, and the risky serve as my most powerful instructors. I have found these things, not in adventure sports or dangerous activities, but in constantly challenging and expanding what I know of my environment. With each piece of literature I analyze, each nation I study in the classroom, I am inspired to carve out my own place in this vast world. Every new relationship during college teaches me the riskiness of honesty and vulnerability; each new experience, whether initially good or bad, is a vital piece of information about how I would like to live my life. Most importantly, I have learned to appreciate the beauty of the unknown future and the wider world, so full of splendor and potential that it will take me a lifetime to begin to find its treasures. Though change can be frightening, it is simultaneously glorious.

My parachute is durable, sewn together by professors that care about me, friends that love me, family that supports me, and my own combination of self-awareness and curiosity. I feel myself gaining momentum, running a little faster, the wind picking up under the panels and preparing to take me somewhere new. Wake has provided the Class of 2014 with the necessary tools to take a major leap of faith, each of us possessing our own personalized floating device. They might take us in different directions, placing us on new lands to begin once again. But for now, the air sure feels good.

 

Spring Break Thoughts

Spring Break is just around the corner, and many of our Deacs will be headed off campus – either home, or with friends to (most likely) warm and tropical destinations.  But not everyone leaves for Spring Break, and the Office of Service and Social Action and the ZSR Library has created a Spring Break “Staycation” option for students who will be in town.  For just $100, your student can be fed, have access to fun activities like movies, dinner downtown, service, even a WFU tunnels tour.  The 2014 Wake Alternative Break Flyer has more information if your student is interested.

And my colleagues in the University Police have assembled some spring break safety tips for students who are visiting foreign countries over Spring Break (on cruises, package vacations, etc.).  While some of these feel like common sense, consider passing them on to your Deacs anyway.

Whether your student stays on campus, goes to visit you at home (or goes to friends’ homes), or has a destination vacation, we hope he or she has a great and safe Spring Break!

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Safe Break

  • Check the U.S. State Department travel warnings website for countries on their list.
  • Remember not all countries have safety requirements or inspections for things such as Zip Lines and Parasailing.
  • Only use established taxis. Some countries allow anyone to act as a taxi with a sign. Ask how much to take you to your destination.
  • Do not go to an unknown destination.
  • Have enough money to get back to your hotel.
  • Take only one credit card and your check card. Keep them on you at all times.
  • Make copies of your credit cards and passport in case they are lost. Including the phone number to call and cancel the cards.
  • Let a family member know your travel plans. Where you are staying and when you will return.
  • Communication is important. Carry your cell phone. You can get it turned on in other countries by contacting your cell provider (check in advance if you need foreign country coverage; roaming charges for service can be VERY expensive). Carry a phone card if your cell cannot be turned on.
  • Remember your medications. Do not try to go a week without your medications.
  • Find out how you contact police, hospitals, and make collect calls once you arrive in another country.
  • Do not accept food or drinks from strangers
  • Arrive in a new country with a few dollars of the local currency. You do not want to stand out in a crowd trying to get change for a 20.00 bill for a soda. (The vendor may not know the rate of exchange)

Senior Oration Finalist – Michael Dempsey (’14)

The Daily Deac is running some of the Senior Oration finalists in the coming days and weeks.  The three orations read at Founders’ Day Convocation were featured on the Wake Forest News website.

Today we invite you to enjoy “The Unspoken ‘Thank You’” by Michael Dempsey (’14).

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When I was a freshman, I took a First Year Seminar called, “Image of Poverty and Wealth in the U.S.” Having just arrived to Wake Forest, I had the quixotic notion that I would take this class to gain a greater understanding of economic theory in order to bolster my background knowledge for my inevitable business major. After almost four years at Wake Forest, I can honestly say that I have never been in a harder class. To give you an idea of the difficulty of this class, our professor assigned us to read the entirety of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Diamond as Big as the Ritz in a week. Each student had a five page essay due every Wednesday, and our class was also assigned a group project due at the end of the semester on how we would solve the poverty crisis in the U.S. Needless to say, my classmates and I had a very stressful first semester of freshman year.

At the end of the semester on the final exam date, after our professor passed out our Blue Books, he walked to the front of the classroom and began to talk about how our First Year Seminar was to be his last class at Wake Forest. When we heard this, a hush swept over the classroom. He continued by saying that he had never taught a class as diligent and committed as ours, and that he was going to miss us immensely. Then, he began to cry. After a few moments, with tears still in his eyes, he pointed to the Krispy Kreme doughnut boxes on one of the tables and said, “For you, if you need find yourself in need of sustenance while you battle this exam.” And then, with as little pomp and circumstance as possible, he slipped out of the classroom, and I never saw him again.

I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had just seen. So, after my exam, I sent him an email that I still have today and would like to share with you. I said:

I just wanted to let you know that I am proud to be one of your students, and I thank you so much for being a role model.

Simple, concise, and all that I was capable of sharing with him as a nebbish freshman. He responded the next day, and I would like to share his response as well. He said:

Thank you very much. Such a response is why we teach. I look forward to hearing of great and worthwhile things from you.

So, here I am: a senior about to leave Wake Forest with great dreams and illusions like everybody else in my class. I’ve had an incredible experience here, but there are still a lot of things that I want to do with my life as is the case with every graduating senior. Our real stories have yet been told, and they will begin after we receive our diplomas on that either blisteringly hot or tempestuously flooded day in May. But, there is one thing I want to do right now in honor of my teacher. I would like to elaborate on that first email I sent to him almost four years ago because I think he might be interested to know how one of his former students is doing. A former student who was absolutely petrified when he had to give a speech in class defending the robber baron, Jay Gould. A former student who eventually got over his nervousness to speak in front of a class and would then perform in 12 theatre productions at Wake Forest. A former student who never did become a business major and instead chose to major in English because he enjoyed reading and writing so much in his First Year Seminar. A former student who never fully said “thank you.” So here it goes:

 

Dear Professor,

I just wanted to let you know that I am proud to be one of your students, and I thank you so much for being a role model. A lot has changed since we last spoke, and I’m sorry that we haven’t really had the opportunity to speak with each other since our class four years ago. But, I think you would be happy to know that I have done exactly what you told our class to do while at this University: to experience. I can honestly say that the main thing I have done for the past four years here can be summed up in your words, “to experience.” I have experienced the exuberance of life at this school, and it’s hard to believe that in just a few months I’ll be gone from here. But, I just wanted to let you know that the student you taught years ago is not quite the same, and I have you and many others to thank for it. I recently learned that you worked graciously with this University for 45 years, and I want to say that seeing your service in action is something that inspired me and my classmates to do so many things for this school. So, you should know that you to know that you made a bigger impact on me than you could’ve possibly known. Actually, now that I think about it, I think you did know. I think you did know that our class needed to experience life in both triumph and tragedy in order to truly become a part of this University, and subsequently, world. You did know, and for imparting such integrity and scholarship to a class of 20 nervous freshmen, I hope this speech in your honor expresses my eternal gratitude. I wouldn’t be here without people like you. Thank you.

Flow House in Vienna

Today’s Daily Deac is guest authored by David Taylor, Director of Global Abroad Programs (with some collaboration from students and colleagues).

But before we get to David’s comments about the Flow House, let me add mine.  I have a niece who studied there in the early 2000s and she said it was one of the most phenomenal experiences she had at Wake.  (My elderly mom traveled over to Vienna to see her and said the Flow House and the surrounding neighborhoods were magnificent.)   I also know a faculty family who spent a semester there teaching Wake Forest students and to hear them talk about the bonds they formed with their students and the fun they had – well, it is nothing short of extraordinary.

Again, studying abroad is but one part of Wake’s rich buffet of experiences.  Going to the Flow House could be the very schnitzel at the buffet that could transform your Deac!

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2 26 14 vienna 1Wiener Mélange photo collage created by WFU student John Henry who recently studied at the Vienna Flow House. He described his photos thusly, “Vienna is the coffee capital of the world, and its signature drink is the Wiener Mélange. There is a coffee shop on every single street corner, and as a coffee addict myself, I visited just about every single one of them.”

 

With mid-terms rapidly approaching and student coffee consumption increasing, it makes us think fondly of the Viennese coffee house. And as central as the coffee house is to today’s U.S. student culture, it’s a whole new experience in Austria where art, literature, history, business, politics and culture are all on the menu….

2 26 14 vienna 2Applications are currently being accepted for fall 2014 at Flow House in Vienna. Encourage your students to consider spending a semester in one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. In addition to experiencing the rich and varied cultural heritage of Wien, your student will study under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Hughes of the History Department. Dr. Hughes will teach two history courses taking students from the formation of the Habsburg Empire through Fin-de-Siecle Vienna. These courses will fulfill both major and divisional credit. Your student can also satisfy his/her fine arts divisional with a wonderful course on Austrian art and architecture. And for students interested in business studies, a BEM courses on comparative management will be offered as well. Like any good coffee house, there’s a little something for every taste!

2 26 14 vienna 3As many of you may know, Flow House is one of our premier WFU abroad properties and is located just one block from the Turkenschanz Park in the prestigious 19th district – an area well known for its embassies, diplomatic residences and distinguished private homes.  The house accommodates 16 students featuring five bedrooms, library, wireless internet, dining room and living room.

The upcoming semester will feature walking tours throughout Vienna, outings to musical performances and museums, a cooking lesson where the students make schnitzel, requisite trips to the local coffee houses, and a ten-day fall break (perfect time for families to visit).

2 26 14 vienna 4When the autumn begins, students can attend Almabtrieb Festival where farmers dress up their cow herds and return them form the Alpine Pastures. The festival is celebrated with music, dancing, and naturally, cows in headdresses and flowers.  As students complete their semester in Vienna, they will experience the magical Christmas Markets lighting up the city before they return home to you.

Find the application and learn more at the Study Abroad website for the Flow House. Contact Jessica Francis (francija@wfu.edu) in the Center for Global Programs and Studies with any questions.

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Tony Dungy Coming to Campus

This email just popped into my inbox, and I have to say this is a pretty exciting thing.  Tony Dungy, Superbowl winning NFL coach, is coming to campus for a leadership initiative.  Full details are below in an email from President Hatch.

Please, please urge your students to take advantage of this opportunity.  This is not just an opportunity to hear from a famous and popular football coach, but is a chance for students to reflect on what leadership is, how they want to learn to lead meaningful and purposeful lives – in other words, lessons that will be invaluable in Life After Wake Forest.

As I often say, Wake Forest is like an amazing buffet – and those who take a lot of bites and sample as much as they can will have a more meaningful and profound experience here.

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Dear Wake Forest students, faculty and staff,

I am pleased to announce the Leadership Project, a bold new initiative that engages Wake Forest students and our broader community in a personal and reflective conversation with leaders who span diverse career paths, generations and worldviews.

Intimate, enlightening, and revealing, the mission of the Leadership Project is to invite leaders to Wake Forest who will share their personal principles, triumphs, and challenges. In turn, students and guests from the community will consider their own humanity, values and skills and learn how to channel them in meaningful ways.

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. Doors to the event will open at 5:45 p.m. with seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

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.

In keeping with our mission to educate the whole person, Dungy seemed a natural choice to kick off such an important and meaningful conversation – both online (#wfuleads) and offline – about one of society’s most pressing issues today.  The Leadership Project reaffirms Wake Forest’s promise to prepare students to lead lives that matter – building upon existing programs, courses and career development opportunities to help students discover who they are, understand what’s required to become an effective leader, and determine what actions to take to improve their own personal development.

Sincerely,

Nathan O. Hatch
President

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Week

2 24 14 tie 2If your students have been up on the Quad, they will have seen yellow informational signs all over the place, as well as chalk on the bricks.  This week is Tie A Yellow Ribbon Week, which is a campus-wide sexual assault awareness week.  I took some pictures of the signs on the Quad, and the statistics may seem (or be) startling to you.  Some of them were to me, and probably to your students as well.  But this is an important topic for both women and men.

2 24 14 tie 1There are a number of Tie a Yellow Ribbon events this week, and I hope they will be well attended by our student body.  Looking at these national statistics on the signs, it is possible your students may know victims of sexual assault  at some point in their lives, or could be victims. themselves

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Week helps share information that can make a big difference - how to help support friends affected by sexual violence, where to turn if you are a victim, what resources are available.

There are survivors of sexual assault that will tell their stories (or read stories of other survivors) during Speak Out, which is an incredibly powerful program.

2 24 14 tie 3So urge your students to stop by the tables outside the Pit and get their own yellow ribbons to wear this week.  Show their support and compassion for sexual assault victims.  Learn the facts.  Find ways to help.  Be an ally.

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Spring? And Senior Orations

This weekend we had our first hints of spring.  The weather was sunny and warm and beautiful.  It was the kind of weekend where it was not ridiculously warm, but if you sat outside in the sun for a while you might begin to feel a hint of sunburn on your cheeks or arms.   On campus you could see the shoots of daffodils beginning to pop up, and the pink blooms of the cherry trees are starting to hint at opening.

Spring at Wake is a glorious thing.  And after all the cold and grey and snow and winter, I think the campus is eager for it.  Unfortunately, today it feels cold, and it looks like the 60s we felt over the weekend are going to evaporate later this week.

Wake celebrated a milestone last Thursday, and that was Founders’ Day Convocation, recognizing our 180th year of existence as an institution of higher education.  Each year, three students are selected to deliver an oration on Founders’ Day that addresses how they have changed during their four years at Wake Forest.

The winners of the 2013 Senior Orations Competition are:

These are excellent orations and well worth a read.  They provide unique and compelling perspectives, and we congratulate these three young men for their fine work.  We’ll also be running some of the other Senior Oration Finalists in coming days at the Daily Deac.

Founders’ Day also is the time when many faculty awards are given – and you can see some of those winning faculty members here.

Founders’ Day Convocation – Today at 4 pm

There is an important event in the life of the University this afternoon at 4 pm in Wait Chapel.  It is Founders’ Day Convocation.  Convocations are defined as follows, according to Wikipedia:  ”A convocation (Latin, “calling together”, translating the Greek ἐκκλησία ekklēsia) is a group of people formally assembled for a special purpose.”  Normally in a university setting, it is an all-call assembly for an academic purpose – to welcome new students at the beginning of their orientation, or to provide a venue for the president or other speakers to address the campus community, typically with some ceremony or recognitions (such as faculty awards, advising awards, etc.)

The Founders’ Day Convocation has a very special twist to it, and that is that we will have three members of the Class of 2014 read their Senior Orations.  These are papers they have written and submitted for consideration for this honor.  In past years, these have been really arresting speeches – sometimes reflections of a favorite WFU experience, other times on a challenge or personal growth the students had while in school.  They are always very moving.

Three will read theirs aloud today, and later today or tomorrow those should be posted on the Wake website (we’ll link to it).  There were ten finalists for Senior Orations, and most years the finalists have granted permission for me to reprint their orations here in the Daily Deac.  If they do so again, we’ll post them throughout the next couple of weeks.

Bottom line: encourage your students to attend.  There are only 8 or so Convocations in a student’s time at Wake Forest, and there is something to be said for some academic pomp and circumstance, as well as hearing from their peers.  Plus, there is a reception following, and your students can get some free food and mingle with the faculty, which is something that not every school does.  Encourage yours to take advantage of this great event.

More information from an email I received about Founders’ Day Convocation is below.

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Please join us Thursday, February 20th at 4:00 p.m., as the Wake Forest community of students, faculty, and staff gather in Wait Chapel for the Founders’ Day Convocation. 

Seniors Michael HunterDavid Inczauskis, and Melvin Washington will present their winning orations.  Faculty awards for teaching, research, mentoring, and service will be presented to individuals from the College departments of Biology, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, and Religion and from the School of Law.  President Hatch will present this year’s Medallion of Merit to Margaret Supplee Smith, the Harold W. Tribble Professor Emerita. The Medallion of Merit is the highest honor bestowed by the University.

A reception following the Convocation will be held in the Lobby of Scales Fine Arts Center for all attendees. Hope to see you there!

Seen Around Campus

Today started out as a grey and rainy day, but is now a beautiful sunny afternoon and probably 60ish degrees.  I had to walk to the center of campus this morning and had to go off campus later in the day, and the difference between the am and pm students I saw was startling.  Early in the day when it was still nasty outside, the students were in their rain gear – parkas and hoodies and the like – but now that it is warm I saw some shorts on guys and skirts with bare legs on the lady Deacs.  Hopefully the sun will continue.  I get the sense from everyone that they are ready for spring.

On the Quad earlier was what looked like a sidewalk sale getting ready to happen – clothes and accessories, mostly for the women, were being unloaded from a big truck.  As I got closer to the ZSR Library, I saw a big group of touring prospective students and parents.  As we get closer to Spring Break for high schoolers, these sorts of visits are going to pick up.  Inside the ZSR, the new cork floor in the atrium looks great.  Starbucks was packed at 11 am, which is not much of a surprise.  Coffee reigns supreme.

intramural sports regI saw a flyer today for 4th Quarter intramural sports registration.  If your student likes sports and has not gotten involved with a group, this could be a wonderful outlet for him or her to meet new friends, get some exercise, and maybe even earn some bragging rights.  Campus Recreation has a whole host of great programs.

One other item to note – campus received an email today from Student Health about illness on campus.  You can read the full message online.   My takeaway is that everyone ought to practice “common sense” hygiene measures – although in truth we ought to be doing that sort of thing all the time.  Rest assured that if your student does need to see the doctors in the Student Health Service, they are all fantastic.  I would send my son to them at any time.