A Senior’s Reflection on WFU

We had a wet and wild Family Weekend.  Hurricane Joaquin never did make it our way, but rain from the west kept us soaked for most of the weekend.  Still, our Deac families didn’t let the rain get them down, and we had a wonderful Family Weekend – and a very exciting football game – nonetheless.

I had the opportunity to hear a speech by senior Adam Hammer (’16), Student Government president, this past Friday.  He reflects on his time at Wake Forest, and it was so fantastic that I asked him if he’d let me have the text so all parents could see it (he agreed).

Here are his reflections about Wake Forest now that his time here is coming to an end.

— by Betsy Chapman


Good afternoon – I’m excited for the opportunity to speak here today. I’m thankful that my parents can be here as well. The braved Hurricane Joaqun and flew up from Houston for my final parents weekend. It’s a privilege to speak here and address such a devoted group of parents.

Today I’m going speak a little about my experience at Wake Forest, and what I believe to be some of the defining factors of this community’s culture.

When I arrived at wake forest three years ago to begin my freshman year, I was amazed by the work ethic that students displayed.

I specifically remember my first week of school as a first year student. I remember waking up in the morning, leaving my Luter dorm room to enter the lobby and seeing students who I saw the night before studying, were in the exact same place wearing the exact same clothes – they hadn’t moved, they had studied all night, and we were in the first week of school.

It was in that moment that I realized the nick name Work Forest was not a misnomer. I was still buying books, while my classmates were cranking all-nighters.

I quickly learned that this community values grit, and similar to the process of making diamonds, Wake Forest pushes and presses under intense pressure to make a gem, to forge students into leaders – visionaries, and world-changers. And for students that were still buying books, while others pulled all-nighters, iron-sharpened iron, and eventually, all students embodied the culture of Wake Forest.

When the world doesn’t offer a neatly hedged path, this community – both the institution and the students – forge their own path. The university is constantly leading, more specifically, Wake Forest is perpetually pioneering. Trail-blazing runs deep in this community’s DNA. It has been embedded in the dogma of the Wake Forest since its origin. The university has undergone remarkable change since its beginning as an all-white, all-male school dubbed, Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute, but it’s commitment to leading, pioneering, and progressing has never wavered, in fact, pioneering has been the common denominator for years of change at Wake Forest.

Students led the charge for integration in 1962, and Wake became the first private institutions in the south to integrate. Wake Forest was the first major university to adopt a test-optional admission policy, and our institution’s OPCD office is a model for schools across the country, students and faculty alike are constantly pushing the boundaries – this community refuses to be labeled a small southern school in the sleepy-town of Winston Salem, but rather a center for progress, innovation, and a leader for colleges across this nation. Our size may be small, but our influence is far reaching.

Wake Forest has always valued grit, vision, and courage, and students leave these grounds having adopted a fearless pioneering spirit to dream beyond boundaries. Four years here teaches us that the only thing standing between us and our dreams, is the work in between. As I told first year students during my convocation speech, at wake forest opportunity is ubiquitous – anything is attainable for a demon deacon – this community teaches us that the only question is – how much work are you willing to put in?

Alumnus Carl Townsend, Class of 1924, remarked that his favorite word in the English lexicon was the verb “to be”; he states that the greatest contribution Wake Forest has to offer is that “she has a way of instilling into a large percent of her students an intense desire to be somebody.” This quotation from nearly 100 years ago embodies the spirit that defines our Mother, So Dear: still today, a hunger to be somebody and lead peers is not an esoteric feature that only some students and some alumni of this university embody, it exists in all Demon Deacons, and always has.

Attending Wake Forest is the best decision that I’ve made. I’m thankful Wake has pushed me – I’m thankful that the culture of this campus is an incubator for growth. And I’m thankful that at the foundation of this community, there lies a group of parents devoted to this culture and the time-tested ethos of this community. Thank you for all your support and you really mean a lot to this university.

Go Deacs!

— Adam Hammer (’16), Student Government President

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