Big News Today! Stephen Colbert!!!

stephen cThis might be the biggest Commencement speaker news Wake Forest has seen since we announced then Secretary of State, Colin Powell.  Today at 10 am, we announced that the 2015 Commencement speaker will be comedian Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report.  I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when the seniors received the email from President Hatch announcing him as our speaker.  My hunch is that your students are super stoked.  You can read the official announcement here.

I’ve been at Wake Forest for 15+ years and I don’t think we’ve ever had a TV personality of this degree of fame speak at Commencement.  We have had many Commencement speakers from the political realm and the business realm, but rarely (never?) A-list entertainers like Stephen Colbert.  (Little known fact: we do not pay our speaker, so we have historically relied on our network of alumni, parents, and friends who have connections to potential speakers and can encourage them to accept an invitation from us.  You rarely get a big name speaker with a cold-call letter of invitation.)

There is no denying Stephen Colbert’s popularity, particularly among the Millennials and Gen Xers (and yes, I am a proud owner of one of his WristStrong bracelets; he and I both had wrist injuries about the same time).  The Colbert Report always had a strong fan following, but the last several episodes of his show were just tremendous.  And if you haven’t read his books, they are fantastically satirical, biting, and hilarious.  Loved them all.  His work on the show was recognized with multiple Emmy Awards and even a Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting.

I predict a Stephen Colbert Commencement speech that is funny, pithy, and poignant at the same time.  I can’t wait to hear him – can you?  Would love to hear the reactions of your students, too.  If you want to share them (anonymously as always), you can email

While Stephen Colbert is certainly the biggest news of the day, it is not the only news.  Spring Break is just around the corner.  Student Health has asked us to pass on this Spring Break medical advisory for students who might be traveling to the Dominican Republic:

“The Quebec Department of Public Health has reported that three (3) Canadian citizens who traveled to resorts near Punta Cana and Bávaro Beach in the Dominican Republic since December 2014 have developed malaria. Previously, travelers to this resort area were not thought to be at risk for malaria.

Students traveling for spring break 2015 to resorts in the Punta Cana area or in the area nearBávaro Beach (in La Altagracia province in eastern Dominican Republic) should take precautions to limit their risk for acquiring malaria. These include:

1. Prophylactic antimalarial medication such as doxycycline or Malarone (atovoquone/proguanil). These are available through the Student Health Service pharmacy or can be obtained from your primary care physician.

2. Personal protective measures to minimize the risk of mosquito bites.

For more detailed information about preventing malaria please see:

If you are going to this region in the Dominican Republic for Spring Break and wish to get preventative medication from the Student Health Service, please contact the pharmacist by email ( or by phone (336-758-5218 menu option “2”).”

Finally, we have some news about an opportunity for students who are interested in Campus Kitchen and leadership roles.  Every spring, Campus Kitchen offers a short mentoring program for students who are interested in serving in leadership roles within the organization but don’t know what that looks like.  Campus Kitchen has a cohort of eager mentors ready to go and they are still recruiting mentees.  This program is open to any student with no experience needed.  This might be a terrific opportunity for students who have shared that they don’t know how to get involved and are interested in a service/mentor experience.

Campus Kitchen is advertising this to students as follows:

“Are you curious about what it takes to be a Campus Kitchen shift leader?  Would you like to get “more involved” but you don’t know how?  Join the CKWFU mentoring program. The mentoring program is open to any student considering applying for the 2015-2016 leadership team.  Participants will be matched with current leadership team members for a three-week period from March 16-April 3rd.  During these three weeks you will shadow the shift leader and meet with them to talk about the responsibilities of shift leaders. The program will conclude with a reflection dinner where you can have any questions answered before CKWFU Shift Leader applications open. No prior experience is needed. Fill out this form by Monday, March 9th to enroll in the program. Contact Shelley Sizemore with questions at

— by Betsy Chapman

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