Site Content


Family Weekend Registration Begins July 18

Today’s Daily Deac is short and sweet – but with an important message.

Family Weekend (which is October 7-9) will open registration on the morning of July 18th.  You can browse the site now and get a sense of the activities being offered, and you and your Deacs can determine what you might like to attend as a family.  Then you’ll be ready on the 18th to go online and purchase your tickets.

As always, it is wise to look at the FAQ page and all the resources online before you begin, just so you are fully informed.  It is possible that some events could sell out, so be aware of that.

Set your calendars and plan to register.  Family Weekend is a great Wake Forest tradition!

— by Betsy Chapman

Something to Look Forward To

Even though it is summer break, we’ll still bring you Daily Deacs – though admittedly they might be a little shorter, as we have a slower news cycle when the students aren’t here.

I happened across this about a week before Commencement, and was so excited to see it.  Our Secrest Artists Series, which is free for our students, brings incredible performing arts performances to campus each year.  In the 2016-17 schedule, I saw this:

Classical Savion

Thursday, November 10, 2016 | 7:30 pm | Brendle Recital Hall

The Tony award-winning dancer and choreographer Savion Glover—described by his mentor Gregory Hines as “perhaps the greatest tap-dancer who has ever lived”—brings his unprecedented talents and creativity to his dance interpretation of musical classics: Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Shostakovich and others. Accompanied by both a chamber orchestra and a jazz ensemble, this performance will be a genre-bending mixture of dance and music at its most extraordinary.

I have never seen Savion Glover tap dance live – yet! – but having seen him perform on television, he is simply incredible.  I cannot believe our good fortune in getting him to come to Wake Forest, and hats off to my faculty friend and former thesis advisor, Scott Klein, the Secrest Artists Series artistic director, for landing Savion Glover.  Huge get.

This will be something your Deacs will not want to miss.  November is a long way away, but this is something everyone should look forward to.

— by Betsy Chapman

The Best Day of the Year

Commencement was today – and in all my 17 Commencements, this might have been the most perfect weather we have ever had.  It was very cool in the am – and the grass was plenty dewy, so I know there must have been a lot of cold, damp feet – but believe me when I say a cool morning and high 60s with sun is infinitely preferable to high 80s and blistering sun.

The Wake Forest home page ( will be posting all kinds of Commencement coverage in the coming days – photos and you can re-watch the ceremony, and more.  So keep your eyes peeled to that.

Here are my impressions of the day:

So many proud smiles.  You’d see parents hugging their kids before they lined up this morning. Or hugging them aftewards.

Cheers.  Sometimes a student’s name was called and you’d hear a big whoop! from the crowd.  Whether that was friends cheering on a classmate or family cheering on their graduate, I do not know.  But it was wonderful to hear.

Flowers.  There were many bouquets being carried by parents and family members to present to their graduates later.

Touching moments.  There were some somber moments – moments in the invocation or remarks that prompted you to be thoughtful.  The awarding of two posthumous degrees, and you could feel the love and compassion from the crowd flowing towards those families.

The ‘hockey handshake’ receiving line.  Just like when hockey players finish a game in the playoffs and they skate toward each other shaking hands, after the recessional the faculty and platform party line up and they clap for the students as they go by.  The ones who know each other really well might high five or hug.  It is one of my favorite moments of the whole day.

Family photos.  After graduation, the newly-minted young alumni would find their loved ones and there were many a picture taken with proud moms and dads and grandparents and siblings and more.  Everyone stands so tall in their cap and gown.

The last group photos with friends.  You’d see big clusters of students huddling around their Greek lounge, or in a given area.  Arms around each other, caps and gowns on, posing in big groups and small.

It was a beautiful day.  P’16s, know that you will always have a place at Wake Forest, as will your sons and daughters.  We say goodbye for now, but I hope our paths will cross again.

— by Betsy Chapman

Commencement and New Students Website

P’16s – your Big Day is almost here! There are tons of seniors back from Beach Week/Postexams who are mobbing the Quad right now picking up their Commencement tickets and caps and gowns from the Bookstore.  It’s a happy sight to see.

If you haven’t been keeping an eye on the Quad Cam, the chairs continue to be set out, and our Commencement stage is set up. The sky is blue, the clouds are thick, the trees are green. This is exactly the kind of weather we want for Monday.

I am a superstitious person and a worrier to boot, so I don’t like to look at the weather until nearly the very last minute.  However, you must all have been doing your prayers and invocations (thank you!) because the 5 day forecast looks fantastic.  This is as close to the ideal Commencement forecast as we could have – so keep those good vibes coming.

If this is not your Commencement year, you can still catch the action with the Commencement livestream, which will be broadcast at 9 am Monday on the main WFU page (

We also have an announcement for the newbies – our P’20 parents and families!  The New Students website is also up – so P’20s, let your Deacs know they need to be consulting this now and throughout the summer.  Their hard-copy Forestry 101 books (a manual for Orientation) will be mailed to their permanent address in a couple of weeks.  There will be a separate checklist for parents and families in the book, so make sure they give you your part!

new students parents menu finalP’20s, there is a Parents and Families section of the New Students website just for you.  I am linking here to the main parents page with deadlines and action items that are will be in your paper checklist.  However, there are scads of other goodies on other pages – so be sure to scroll down to the bottom left of any page, where you will see the purple Parents and Families menu, and check out those pages too.

We have started making some of our New Student Receptions pages live, so for our new families, sign up for one if it is in your area.  We will be doing a sort of virtual New Student Reception for folks who cannot attend – more info about that closer to July once I get my act together :).  For our returning parents and families, we always want to have some current upperclassmen Deacs at these events, so if your student wants to be a goodwill ambassador for the new ones, please have them email me at to talk about where they might like to attend.

As I think about our seniors leaving, I recall an old commercial I loved.  It was about cancer survivors, and one woman in the commercial said “In life you take the bitter with the sweet. But I plan on ending up with more sweet.”  So let’s all focus on the joy of our seniors celebrating Commencement and knowing they will go forth into the world well prepared to live with meaning and purpose – and not how much we’ll miss them.

— by Betsy Chapman


Everybody Pray for Good Weather

Since Commencement is coming up on Monday, now is the time to start sending all prayers, positive thoughts, good vibes, etc. for us to have great weather.  So please, take a moment to think good thoughts for us.  Everyone wants to graduate on the Quad.

And for those of you who like to watch the activity on campus, keep your eyes on the Quad Cam.  You’ll see all sorts of moving and shaking as we get ready for the big day!

— by Betsy Chapman

Unofficial Commencement Tips

Every year, I try to provide some unofficial tips for our P’16 parents and families coming for Commencement.   I am assuming, of course, that everyone has referenced the Commencement web site, looked at the FAQ for parents, etc.

So here is my $0.02 based on my experience.

For Baccalaureate:

Seating inside Wait Chapel is limited and on a first-come basis. Tickets do not guarantee admission. Doors open at 9:45 a.m., but guests can expect to wait in line on Hearn Plaza before entering the Chapel. Graduates who process do not need tickets.

There is not a set time to tell you when to get in line.  I can tell you that in past years, people have first been in line at 8 or 8:30 am.  If this year works like all past years have, they will let parents in in 2 waves: the first one to fill the balcony and part of the lower level of Wait Chapel.  Then they shut the door and parents continue waiting in the line until we have seated all students and faculty who attend.

Once the students and faculty process into the chapel, they reopen the line and begin seating the remaining parents until the chapel is full.  In some years, everyone who wants to get in gets in, in other years, some are left in line.

Weather permitting, we stream the ceremony out onto the Quad – and to be perfectly honest, in some ways it would be my preference to sit on the Quad chairs and observe the ceremony there (you can get up and walk around, etc.)  There is no individual recognition of graduates (and they don’t get to sit with their families) so you aren’t really missing anything if you choose to view from outside.

For Commencement:

The Quad opens at 6 am.  Some families come as early as 6 or as late as 8:30.  Your arrival time is a matter of preference.

Generally speaking, the earlier you are there, the more likely you have your pick of seats – the later you arrive, the more limited are your choices.  My late father was a very much Type A guy and he came at 6 am with coffee and a newspaper and staked out seats.  Others come at 7 or 7:30 if they want to arrive later.  It is completely your call.

You cannot stake out seats the night before with signs or tape.  Those will be removed when staff arrive at 5 am to get the Quad ready.

Bring something to wipe off your seat – some paper towels, a washcloth from your hotel (return it of course).  The dew collects overnight on the folding chairs, and while we try to wipe off 10K+ chairs before the ceremony starts, it is not always possible to get every one.

It can be cool or hot, so layer appropriately.  Pay attention to the weather report so you know how to dress.

In terms of what to wear, you will see a wide variety of attire.  Many tend to dress nicely (suits or jackets for men, dresses or nice suits for ladies), others go with a more business casual approach, some do golf shirts and slacks, etc.  The key is layering to account for weather.

Sunscreen is a must.  You are sitting outside for around 3 hours.  Some wear hats, if they are especially sun sensitive.

Ladies ought not wear their best shoes.  The Quad grass is moist with dew and with 10K+ people walking on it, there will be patches that get worn down and muddy.  You would hate to ruin your best shoes that way.

If you have elderly relatives who have difficulty being in the sun or the heat, or have issues with mobility such that they don’t want to have to do a lot of walking, they can watch a livecast of the Commencement ceremony in Pugh Auditorium of the Benson University Center.  That is indoors, air conditioned, and with close access to restrooms.


Hope these are helpful tips as you get ready to celebrate your Deac’s big day!

— by Betsy Chapman

Photo of the Day

The Daily Deac is on the road – so for the next couple of days, we’ll give you a few of our favorite pictures from Ken Bennett’s archive.

Today’s topic is Commencements past.  Hopefully this will give all our parents and families something to look forward to when their Deac’s time comes.

And a belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the special women in the Wake Forest family. Whether you are a Deac mom, stepmom, grandmom, aunt, or other gentlewoman raising one of our Deacs, we celebrate and salute you!

— by Betsy Chapman

20090518grad_kb7240 20090518grad_kb6935_1 comm 11 tears comm 11 rotc comm 11 couple pic comm 11 hatch commencement afterwards 20130520commencement1710

20130520commencement1071 20130520commencement1901

A Message to Our P’16s

This is the time of year that is bittersweet for me.  I am so excited to welcome our new Class of 2020 (and their P’20 parents and families) to campus, but I am sad to see our Class of 2016 graduate and have them (and their P’16 parents and families) leave us.

P’16s, I have been privileged to know some of your kids.  I wish I knew them all.  10 of them I had as advisees, and I have had a number of others make their way to my office for some reason or other.  I probably met between 125-150 of the Class of 2016 at their New Student Receptions in the summer of 2012.  Others I have come to know through activities or events on campus.

They are wonderful young men and women, and you are deservedly proud of them.   I have been amazed by their talent, their boundless energy, their service, their desire for peace and justice for the world, their sense of fun, and their love of Wake.  My fondest wish is for them all to go on to live lives of meaning and purpose, full of love and happiness.  I wish that for you too, P’16s.

On any given day I don’t know who reads the Daily Deac.  Some of you have written me over the years, others have written in recent days as Commencement approaches.  Those mean the world to me.

So many thanks to all of you – for entrusting your kids to Wake Forest.  For all you have done to support us – whether that is via the Parents’ Campaign, being a cheerleader in your home town, recommending students to look at Wake – whatever.  For reading the Daily Deac and letting me have a little piece of your WFU experience.

I hope to pass you on the Quad at Commencement and will give a big cheer for all of your kids.  Even though it is theirs (and your) time to go, please know that you will always be part of the WFU family.

And because I am an infinitely sappy person, and because you are the right generation to appreciate this, I thought I would share a little video with you 🙂

— by Betsy Chapman

5 Senses of Campus Day

Today is the second (and final) Campus Day for Accepted Students.  I have been perched in Zick’s all morning because it is raining.  Had Campus Day been *any other day* this week, the weather would have been beautiful.  We got a bad roll of the dice today.

So here are your Five Senses of the Start of Campus Day

I see…

A rain that is sometimes steady, sometimes pelting, sometimes just a misty sprinkle.

Lots of umbrellas.

Some parents that seem to be scrambling for umbrellas.  I predict the Deacon Shop will do a lot of business today.

A couple of really killer sets of rain boots on some very stylish moms.

Flat hair or frizzy hair – you fall into one camp or another.

Smiles on a lot of the students’ faces, tinged with a hint of anxiety.  Choosing a college is hard, and this is a big transition.  It’s a mix of feelings.

Lots of people coming in to Zick’s scrambling for hot coffee.

tableMany friendly parents and families coming up to our Parent Programs table to chat.  We met families from GA, FL, NY, NC, PA and some others.

An intermittent strobe light looking thing – which turns out to be my friend Ken Bennett taking pictures of a student outside Zick’s.  The flash is coming through the window.

One of the large TVs in Zick’s showing images of Prince singing.  (RIP Prince, you were a big part of my late high school/early college years). Sadly that TV is on mute.

Very few current students at this hour.  The ones in the Quad residence halls must be sleeping in or don’t have 8 am classes.


I hear…

Squeaky shoes as the wet soles hit the wood floor of Zicks.

The plastic coffee lids being snapped on the cups.

The sloosh sloosh of the coffee being poured out of the dispenser.

NBC Sports Network is on one of the big TVs in Zicks, so if you listen in a given moment you can hear the talking heads dissect the sports issues of the day.

The kitchen of Zicks is banging pots and pans and silverware around in the distance, presumably prepping for lunch.

Pride in parents/families’ voices as they tell me about their student.  Part of that is pride in their kid, and part of that is pride in being accepted at Wake.


I feel…

Cold and damp, as I am sure all the other parents do.

The wet of my shoes.

Warm hot coffee as I take a sip, happily warming me from the inside.

Blasts of cold air as the doors open or close.

A sense of calm when the bulk of the parents and students go to Wait Chapel to start the program.  We’ll hopefully see them back during the break between this session and the next one.

The comfortable chair I am sitting in.


I taste…

Coffee, which is much needed.

A delicious Krispy Kreme, a staple of Campus Day. (THANK YOU, ADMISSIONS!)


I smell is pretty much covered by three things: coffee, donuts, and rain.  All told, that is not a bad combo.


So that’s your early 5 Senses of Campus Day.  Enjoy your weekend, Deac families.  Call your kids today 🙂


— by Betsy Chapman

A Very Funny (and Famous) WF Grad Tonight

Your students are probably aware of, a website filled with college-appropriate humor (read: some adults might find some of the jokes offensive, but typically the humor kills with the 18-24 year old set).

They may not have known that a Wake grad was co-founder of  Tonight they have a chance to hear from him.  The Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship is sponsoring a talk with him.  See the details below.


A Talk with Alum Ricky Van Veen, Co-Founder of CollegeHumor, Vimeo, and BustedTees

On Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 5:30 pm, Ricky Van Veen will be on campus for a fireside chat with Provost Kersh! The talk, followed by the ICE Awards, will be in the Broyhill Auditorium in Farrell Hall. 

While working on his Information Systems degree as an undergraduate at Wake Forest University, Ricky Van Veen co-founded CollegeHumor in 1999. Since then, CollegeHumor has exploded into the largest comedy property on the internet and the most viewed comedy channel on YouTube. He is a pioneer in digital content development, production, and marketing, as well as brand management. 

— by Betsy Chapman