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Support the Arts at WFU – These Shining Lives

Here’s another programming note for your students.  We have an incredibly talented University Theatre, and the Daily Deac is a huge fan.  We have a production opening this week and running through the end of September, and we want to encourage your students to go and show their support for the actors, directors, scene painters, costumers, and every one in the WFU Theatre family who make magic happen on stage.

Details below.  There is also a beautiful brochure about the 2014-15 season.

THESE SHINING LIVES20140909theatre0634 by Melanie Marnich

Directed by Cindy Gendrich

7:30 pm September 19-20 & 25-27, 2014

2:00 pm September 21 & 28, 2014

In the 1920s and 30s, “girls who wanted to work” could get good-paying jobs painting the radium dials on watch- and clock-faces. Part fairy-tale, part tragedy, These Shining Lives chronicles the stories of these “radium girls,” and their life-changing friendships. A luminous play about curiosity, greed, heroism, health, time, money, and hope.

The picture at right shows (from left), Wake Forest students Alyssa Gera, Johanna Beach, Natalie Brashear, and Hayley Greenstreet.


First Signs of Fall

For today’s Daily Deac, I took a stroll around campus up through one of my favorite spots, Reynolda Village and Reynolda Gardens.  It is a superb day – high 70s and sunny, light breeze.  Perfect weather.

On the Quad, various student organizations have made banners for Homecoming, which is this weekend.  They are hanging on Kitchin Hall (and probably the others too, I just didn’t make a full lap).  The banners really are more the size of bedsheets, with slogans and images painted on them.  A couple of very good looking Deacons painted on them.  Alas, no pictures – there were students sitting at the cafe tables there and they looked to be studying, and I did not want to get in their personal space to take some photos of the banners.

You can see the first hints of fall as you look at the trees across campus.  Most of the trees are still vastly green, but you can see some of the leaves are starting to turn yellow, or red, or orange.  It’s a small percentage of any given tree that is changing colors, but as the next few weeks unfold, the ratio of green to fall colored leaves will change dramatically.

I also saw a few yellow leaves blowing off the trees in the wind.  One of my favorite times on campus is when it is really and truly fall, and a brisk windy day – then you see leaves coming down like a ticker tape parade of old.  I can’t wait to go walking when those days start.

Your students are seeing a lot more cars on campus this weekend because of Homecoming.  It’s also the weekend where our Board of Trustees and our Alumni Council are meeting.  There are a lot of cars parked on Davis field for these events, and they’ll be more tomorrow when the classes of 1964 (who are being inducted into the Half Century Club), 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, and 2009 return for their reunions.  We’ll have alumni coming to Homecoming from other years too, but we celebrate official class reunions in 5 year increments.  You can see the Homecoming schedule online - and get a sense of the kinds of things your Deacs will be invited to in a few short years.

I passed Davis Field, the library, and the science buildings and headed down to the path toward Reynolda Village.  Reynolda Village is always lovely this time of year.  The walk from campus to the village is mostly through the woods, so it is nice and cool and shady.  It was a lovely walk.  Always better when you are walking it with a friend.

If you are coming to campus for Family Weekend, I highly recommend you take this stroll.   There are good options for lunch there (Silo, Village Tavern, and more) as well as good boutique type shopping.

Start hoping now for weather like today’s to repeat for Family Weekend.   And if your students aren’t getting out and enjoying this fine weather, urge them to take a study break and take a walk outside.  It’s good for the body, mind, and spirit.



9 11 14 signToday is a somber day on campus, the anniversary of 9/11.  The Pro Humanitate Institute has done a beautiful visual display on Manchester (aka Mag) Quad today, with tiny flags commemorating those who passed away that day.  There is also a series of service opportunities for students to take part in if they wish to.   For all our students, faculty, staff, parents, and families who are feeling this anniversary in personal ways today, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

9 11 14 flagsOn a much lighter note, I was in the Benson Center and there were signs for a number of other campus activities coming up.  This weekend is Awake All Night, with the theme of Wakeopoly.  This event is run by Student Union and is always a wonderful way for 9 11 14 awake all nightcampus to come together and have a ton of fun in Benson after hours.

9 11 14 hip hopThe Hip Hop Fellow series is tomorrow, and there are a ton of good opportunities to learn and enjoy some well-known artists and speakers.

Tonight is the Secrest Artist Series event.  Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, which is billed as an improvised musical that is based on audience input.  It sounds incredible.  Urge your students to go.   Performances are free for students and there are two shows: 7:30 and 9:30 in Brendle Recital Hall.








We were busy all afternoon Friday so never got you a Daily Deac, but wanted to bring you a recap of the Thrive event.  It was hot, but so much fun.

20140905thrive6694The lower quad (Manchester, aka Mag Quad) was transformed with a public art piece – it looked like the leaf on the Thrive logo, with different colored sections.  There were tables with color coordinated tablecloths to represent each type of wellbeing, with big flags denoting that particular wellbeing area, and activities and food at each station.  You can see pictures from our great photographer, Ken Bennett, at this Flickr site.  There’s also a news story on our main web page.

20140905thrive7254Two of my colleagues who work in the ZSR Library and I were charged with manning the Intellectual Wellbeing table.  We had two different activities people could do:  one was to fill out a card that reflected on something intellectual (a favorite professor or class, the last big idea that really excited you, favorite book/movie/artwork/piece of music, etc.) and then pin the card onto what looked like a big clothesline.  It was so interesting to see people’s responses.  Lots of great and inspiring books, and skills people wanted to learn (evidently we have a lot of budding musicians among our students).  Maybe the most gratifying thing was that some students wrote the name of a professor or class that meant the world to them – and some of the professors actually came by later and got to see these anonymous tributes.  One of them told us “this made my day!”

The other activity at our table was posters people could sign to pledge to do something this semester for their intellectual wellbeing.  They were things like ‘attend an on-campus cultural, artistic, or academic event,’ or ‘pledge to engage in more diverse conversations with people who are different from you,’ or ‘read a book/watch a documentary that has nothing to do with class,’ that sort of thing.

20140905thrive7233It was really gratifying to see how many students, faculty, and staff came to our Intellectual Wellbeing table.  I’d worried our traffic would be slow because some of the other tables had much sexier activities – there was Play Doh, bubbles, and puppies at Emotional Wellbeing, there were chair massages at Physical Wellbeing, there was a wonderful drum circle and meditation at Spiritual Wellbeing, Financial Wellbeing had a tree outline where you could dip a leaf shaped sponge in paint and add a leaf to the tree you wanted to save money for (retirement, vacation, etc.).  Lots of the other dimensions had similarly cool activities.  And at each table there were different buttons you could collect to remind you of that dimension of wellbeing – all with cool slogans and neat graphics.

20140905thrive6818So it was a well turned out event for sure and lots of traffic.  It was beastly hot, though.  Around 4:30-5 pm, there started to be some ominous looking clouds, and around 5ish it started raining for real, and thundering, so the party had to break up early.  For those of us working the tables, it turned into an after-hours close-down party in the rain, trying to lug tables and pick up leaves and generally getting a good soak.  Even that was OK – it was a great example of Wake Foresters from all offices and levels pitching in to do a job that needed doing.  And that is one of the things I love best about Wake – there are always people there to help you when you need it.

20140905thrive6723Great job to all our Thrive organizers, and I hope all the students have some good takeaways for ways to nurture all the areas of their wellbeing.  Not just now, but to keep in practice for good.

Student Involvement Fair and Thrive

9 3 14 student involvement fair 2I had been hoping to be able to get to and from the Student Involvement Fair yesterday in time to add some pics to the Daily Deac (since I had talked about the Student Involvement Fair there), but alas I couldn’t get back in time.  So today is some belated coverage of this event.

9 3 14 student involvement fair 11The pictures probably do not do justice to just how many student organizations were there.  There are rows and rows of tables with posters and displays about each group.  I went down a couple of the rows and saw Golden Key Honor Society, a philosophy society, fraternites and sororities, the ZSR library, intramural sports, and so many niche groups.

Occasionally a parent will tell me that their student has told them “there’s nothing to do at Wake Forest” and it is so hard for me to believe, seeing so many of these groups out there for students to join and enjoy.  And while it may be that Organization A or B is not offering a big Friday or Saturday night social outing, that isn’t always the point.  The point is that students can join these clubs and organizations and make new friends, and then the students can contact the new friends and make plans for the weekend.  See the movie on campus.  Go have dinner somewhere.  See a play on campus or whatever.  You get the idea.

9 3 14 student involvement fair 10Amidst the tons and tons of tables, there were a few decorative leaves in the grass, which is a teaser for part of our Thrive event tomorrow.  These are pretty, colorful leaves – stuck in the ground like you see with election signs or real estate signs.  And as I looked toward Reynolda and the Mag Patio, a lot of these leaves were decorating the railing.  On the front of Reynolda too.  I hadn’t realized just how much difference the pop of color makes, but to my eyes at least they made everything look that much prettier.

9 3 14 student involvement fair 12There were students and staff members handing out Thrive Save the Date stickers and encouraging students to attend.  Deac families, encourage your students to attend too.  There are going to be a lot of fun activities, some things that will be thought provoking, lots of free food, etc.

9 3 14 student involvement fair 1I hope your students will not just take advantage of the activities and fun stuff, though, but that they will also begin to be a lot more conscious about their wellbeing than I ever was at that age.  I think about most of the adults I know (parents especially), and it seems like we are forever juggling a million plates in the air – spouses or partners, children, jobs, money/bills, physical and emotional health, etc.  Those plates get heavy and they are hard to keep spinning.  I hear that frustration all the time.   My hope is that if our students really learn to do all this well now, they will do a better job in feeling like they can do what is important to them and let go of what is not – so they get the balance and peace it seems like everyone my age is desperately searching for.

9 3 14 student involvement fair 4And if they won’t respond to the bigger existential ideas of living the best life you can, tell them there will be puppies at Thrive :)

Thrive event email blast2

Still Hot

Yes, it is still hot here in Winston-Salem.  Hot enough that you don’t see quite so many runners and joggers in the heat of midday – and those you see running at the peak heat of the day look like they are well accustomed to it.

This afternoon is an exciting day – the Student Involvement Fair on the Manchester Quad.  All student organizations – clubs, intramurals, arts, Greek, religious, political, service, and more! – will have tables on the Manchester Quad (also known as Mag Quad).  Students can sign up on distro lists to become part of the email chain of these organizations.  It is a wonderful way to get involved.

This Student Involvement Fair can be a time to try something new.  Maybe something you’ve never done before.  I was at a New Student Reception this summer and during the program with upperclass students, one young woman talked about how she had never played rugby before, but signed up to try it and it became one of her favorite activities at Wake Forest.  My own niece did the same with the crew team – never rowed before, but learned.  It doesn’t have to be sporty – it can be any new skill, endeavor, or hobby.  Youth is the time to experiment and try!

We have some news on campus today – a Director of Wellbeing has been announced:

“Malika Roman Isler (’99) has been named Wake Forest’s first Director of Wellbeing.

A doctoral level-trained health scientist, Roman Isler is currently a research administrator and faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She will begin her new role on Oct. 1 with more than 10 years of experience integrating research and programming, developing strategic plans that guide health and wellbeing initiatives, and defining assessment tools to ensure research and program effectiveness.

Roman Isler brings a strong working knowledge of wellbeing as the intersection of emotional, social, physical, financial, occupational, spiritual, intellectual and environmental dimensions of life. At Wake Forest, she will be responsible for coordinating and developing programming for the various aspects of the University’s transformative new approach to wellbeing called “Thrive.” Equal parts education and inspiration, the campus-wide effort – which will be kicked off on Friday, Sept. 5 – aims to give students, faculty and staff the skills, knowledge and perspective to live healthier, balanced lives.”  Read the full article here.   It’s exciting to have Dr. Roman Isler return to her alma mater, and I am sure she has great things in store for our students.

And in case you were wondering, the Quad is still beautiful.  I just took a peek at the Quad Cam and it really is a lovely sight.



We have a campus event coming up next Friday that I wanted to share with our parents and families.  We hope your students will attend this event (free food! fun and games! and some very special activities your students won’t want to miss – but I won’t spoil the surprise here).

thrive logoThe event is our Thrive kick off – which will be held on Friday, September 5th on the Manchester Quad (aka Magnolia Quad, near the first-year dorms and academic buildings) from 3-6 pm.  The Thrive event will be a campus-wide festival with dozens of fun and thought-provoking activities designed to help members of the Wake Forest community to take control of their personal wellbeing and empower others to do the same.

The idea of Thrive is not just a one-and-done party, though.  It is so much more.  Thrive is a thoughtful, conscientious approach to helping our students (and faculty and staff) think about the idea of wellbeing.  How can we lead healthier, more balanced lives – now, and for the rest of our lives?  How can we attend to all the dimensions of our wellbeing: intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, occupational, financial, environmental, and social?  We want to make sure our students are not just learning facts and figures and theories and concepts here, but the skills, knowledge and perspective so their lives thrive in all ways possible.

There is a Thrive web site that talks about the various dimensions of wellbeing.  There is also a terrific story on our News Center page about the investment Wake Forest is making in wellbeing on campus.   A fascinating part of this article is the story of John Marbach (’16), who had accepted a prestigious $100K entrepreneurship grant to start a venture, but ultimately returned to Wake Forest because he missed the social and intellectual environment and the wellbeing that comes from living in a community and learning and growing with peers.

One of the first visible signs of Wake Forest’s wellbeing efforts will be upcoming demolition work at the former Leighton Tennis Stadium adjacent to Reynolds Gym.  That space will be used to create an addition to the [very old] Reynolds Gym and then we’ll have a phased renovation of the gym into a more dynamic, modern facility.  Read more about the vision for this project.

And there will be other visible signs and hints of Thrive in the coming days.  Your students will begin seeing things on campus related to Thrive and the kickoff.  I was in a meeting yesterday about the September 5 Thrive kick-off and I promise you the Manchester (Mag) Quad is going to be spectacular.  Your students won’t want to miss it.

So encourage them to c0me next Friday, September 5th from 3-6.  But more importantly, encourage them to take very seriously the idea of their own wellbeing, across all dimensions.   Sometimes our students feel like they need permission to relax, permission to take care of themselves, time to decompress and just be.  To the degree that you can influence them, encourage them to begin really paying attention to their own wellbeing.  The more they learn balance and healthy living (in all its aspects) now, the better they’ll be prepared for the rest of their lives.

New Student Convocation

class of 2018 photoIt’s been a long weekend of Orientation activities for our new first-year Class of 2018s.  I caught the tail end of yesterday’s events – dinner with academic advising groups over at the football stadium, followed by Wake the Demons, a spirited pep rally kind of evening where new students learned cheers and the fight song and such.  One nice outcome was a class picture – so behold, the Class of 2018!  It will be hard for you to find your Deac, but your student can probably tell you the general area to look.

This morning all of the new students went to one-on-one meetings with their academic advisers.  Those appointments give students a chance to talk about any schedule items that they had questions or concerns about, but also provides an opportunity for the adviser and student to get to know each other better, set any expectations of what they want from their advising relationship, etc.  And it gives the advisers an opening to offer some tips or advice on how to get a good start.  It’s always fun getting to know a new group of advisees.

After lunch we had New Student Convocation.  This official academic ceremony provided a venue for the new class to gather with their student adviser (and academic advisers if available).  I attended this event and wanted to offer a brief recap.

Sarah Martin (’15), the student representative on the Committee on Orientation and Lower Division Advising, offered her top 1o pieces of advice for new students as they start their college careers:

1. Strive for milestones.

2. Work hard.

3. Don’t fear failure.  (She got a big audience chuckle when she said – tongue in cheek –  ’Remember that falling on your face is still forward movement.’)

4. Seek help and use campus resources.

5. Find a mentor.

6. Get involved.

7. Roll the Quad!  (I loved her explanation – that rolling the Quad is so much more than about athletic victories – it represents the coming together of our community).

8. Make the most of your time here.

9. Be kind.

10. Live Pro Humanitate [our motto, 'For humanity']

University Chaplain Tim Auman followed.  He invited everyone to share in the blessing he offered for the new students, in the spirit of everyone’s faith traditions.  What struck me the most in his blessing was his invocation of the notion of wisdom, civility, compassion, and generosity of spirit.

President Nathan O. Hatch addressed the group next.  He shared stories of some of his college professors.  One had picked on him, singled him out in class, threw him curveball questions and tough assignments.  Dr. Hatch came to realize he was not being picked on, but intellectually engaged, because his professor saw something in him that made him want to press harder.  ”He understood that a student’s mind is not a bucket to be filled, but a fire to light,” said Dr. Hatch.

He also talked about a class that was really rigorous – 12 research papers due in a 15 week term.  Dr. Hatch recalled having to spend two days each week researching and writing those papers.  And while the workload was challenging, he discovered by the end of the term, he’d learned how to take his research and writing to the next level.  Dr. Hatch said it was as if his mind had been to the gym and his mental muscles had grown from so much practice.  He also said that he discovered that learning needs both silence and solitude, and that class helped him focus and concentrate.

Dr. Hatch concluded by urging students to chew on the big questions outside of class.  What do I know?  In what can I believe?  How can I serve?  In what do I want to invest my life?  And that students should explore the big questions of life and think about developing both mind and character in college.

Meredith Mulkerrin (’15), Student Government President, reflected on the transition from high school to college.  She said that most Wake Forest students arrive at college being used to being big fish in a small pond, and the sudden realization that you are a minnow is an adjustment.  And that during Orientation (and at the start of your first year) EVERYONE is offering you advice about everything.  But in class, everything is different.  In class, you can use your voice – ask questions, challenge assumptions, examine and expose.

She concluded with offering this advice and predictions for the future:

- in the last 4 hours of Orientation, soak up all the advice you can.

- in 4 days, follow up with your student advisers and faculty advisers.  Talk to them – tell them how you are, or if you need help.

- in 4 weeks, you’ll learn who you click with (and who you don’t).  You’ll also learn your caffeine delivery device of choice.

- in 4 months, take your pulse.  You’ll be home and reseeing your friends from high school.  You’ll have time to reflect on the semester.  Who are you? What have you learned? How have you changed?

- in 4 years, you’ll have a list a mile long of why you love Wake Forest!

Before the singing of the alma mater and the recessional, Christy Buchanan, Associate Dean of Academic Advising, presented the awards for Excellence in Academic Advising.  This year’s winners were Mary Gerardy, Associate Vice President and Associate Dean of Campus Life, and Luis González, Associate Professor of Spanish.  Dean Buchanan offered one final piece of advice to the new students: communicate.  In person whenever possible, but communicate with your new faculty, peers, and community members.

The convocation concluded and the new students went back out to the Quad, which was a near perfect mid 70s and sunny.  A picture perfect WFU day.

Classes start tomorrow.  The adventure begins!

Orientation Wrap Up

Orientation activities are largely over for new parents (or the P’18s, as we call them).  The grand finale was a huge picnic on the Quad, followed by the “Making of a Demon Deacon” ceremony.

During the event, there were speeches and remarks,  musical performances by singing groups and the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black Band, and it was generally a really festive (if hot!) atmosphere.

There was some audience participation too:  parents and loved ones wished the new students well in unison (with phrases like “We believe in you.”  ”We trust you.”  ”We love you.” – brought a tear to my eye, I confess.)   Students learned to sing the alma mater, they pinned a WF pin on each other, which we’re told they should keep, as they will need them again at Commencement 2018.  And finally they got some instruction in rolling the Quad from upperclassmen, then they took to the TP like champs and rolled the trees on their own.  (Interesting aside, I have heard some of the upperclassmen refer to the new students as Baby Deacs or Baby Deacons.)

And then at the end of that event, I saw a lot of hugs and kisses and some misty eyes.  Many (most?) of our parents and families are departing soon, because your formal activities are finished.  However, the activities for your new students will continue throughout the weekend.

A couple of newsworthy items to mention.  For those of you who could not attend Orientation – or those who want to revisit it! – we have made some of the parent Orientation handouts and slide shows available online.  We were piloting the recording of some of today’s events for parents and families and hope to put them online next week at this same website if the quality is acceptable.  Let me manage expectations for a moment and tell you that this was a volunteer (read: free) effort; we are trying to be good stewards of our resources, so we were trying to do this in house using existing technology.

In academic reporting news, some of you might be familiar with FERPA (Family Educational Right to Privacy Act) – which controls the release of academic information.  New students received an email about how they can go online and grant proxy access to various parts of their academic experience.   So if you want to have access to your student’s academic information protected by FERPA, please encourage them to complete the proxy access process.

And because it is Friday and we have a lot of new parents and families onboard now, we’ll close with a couple of our oft-preached refrains.

We like to think of Fridays as Black and Gold Fridays. Translation: show your support for Wake Forest every Friday by wearing black and gold, or WFU apparel.  This gives you a tie to your students, but it also can give Wake some valuable exposure in your home areas, particularly if you wear something that says “Wake Forest.”  It is a tradition we would love to see our Deac families adopt.

And since it is the first weekend of school for our new students, we hope they will all exercise good judgment and make wise decisions, particularly in manners of their personal safety.  Your new students are finishing a Staying Safe at Wake session right now where they are hearing from campus experts.  But you can do something too.

Christy Buchanan, who is our Associate Dean of Academic Advising as well as a developmental psychology faculty member, shared this at the parent Orientation session about alcohol:  call your student sometime on a Friday and have a meaningful conversation with them.  It has the potential to influence your student’s behavior for the weekend in a positive way.

You don’t have to talk directly about alcohol or tell them to be good.  It can just be a friendly conversation. There is research that showed that students whose parents and family members called them on Friday tended to engage in less risky behavior than students who did not hear from loved ones.

The idea is that when students have contact with parents and loved ones on a Friday, there is a subtle reminder of the values of home, and expectations of parents.  And then they behave with a lower degree of risky behavior.

Even if you just left campus, consider picking up the phone later today and every Friday and have a nice chat with your students.  Nothing to lose and everything to gain.  You might be the bump in the right direction as the weekend starts.


Final Thoughts Before Orientation

T minus 24 hours to go and we’ll be seeing 1,250+ new students and their parents and families.  Move-in Day is always one of the happiest on campus, and we can’t wait to meet you.

Here are a few final thoughts for those of you who are new parents (and if you are an upperclassmen parent, share any Move-in Day tips by emailing and we’ll try to post them here).

Our special issue of Wake Parents and Families e-newsletter went out yesterday just to new first-year parents and families.  It has a lot of factual information, as well as tips and suggestions.  (If you are a first-year parent who submitted an email address on your Parent Record Form and you didn’t see the e-newslettter in your inbox, check your spam filter or your junk mail folder to see if it was rerouted there.  If your email is searchable, you can search on either the sender “” or the subject line “Wake Parents and Families” to find it.  Then add us to your ‘safe senders’ list or mark us as ‘not spam’).

We have an addition to the Orientation schedule.  New this year, Wake Forest has a Pre-Graduate School Adviser:  Dr. Cecilia Solano.  Dr. Solano will be available to talk to parents and students about preparing for a future that includes graduate school.  The session for parents will be held on Friday, August 22, 9:45-10:15, Greene Hall 414.  The session for students will be held on Monday, August 25, Greene Hall 444 (drop in as you can between 9 and 4).

Keep an eye on the weather for both Thursday and Friday.   As of my typing this in the morning, predicts a 40% chance of rain.  So be thinking about whether you will want rain gear or umbrellas with you.  If you’ve already left home without them, the Deacon Shop on campus can be your go-to place, and there is a very close Target on University Parkway, as well as other stores.

We hope that you’ll stop by the Campus Services and Information Fair in the Benson Center tomorrow (8/21) between 8-4.  Your students will have a lot of things to do while they are there – and we have a Parent Programs table, and hope you’ll come and say hello and pick up some information from our table.  If you did not complete a Parent Record Form (or if you have changes to it since submitting it), there will be a table next to ours where you can complete the form.

Finally, enjoy the experience!  The many offices on campus involved in Orientation and Move-In (and there are *many*) try their best to make this a smooth and easy time for you and your students.  Have fun when you can – take pictures (and tag them with #WFU18 as you post to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram), hug your students, tell them you are proud of them, meet the hallmates and other parents, talk to staff.  We hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between your family and your newly-adopted Wake Forest family!