P’ years and what they mean

I’m on PTO all this week, so I have pre-written a number of Daily Deacs to run in my absence.

Occasionally I get a question from a parent or family member asking me why I talk about someone as a P’19 – what does that mean? That P is for Parent, and the number afterwards indicates what year their student is at Wake Forest.  Here are some examples:

So if you see Pete Jensen P ’19, it means he has a student who is in the Class of 2019 and will be graduating next May.

If you see a Maria Gonzalez P’20, ’22 it means she has one student in the Class of 2020 and one in the Class of 2022.

It can get even more complicated when you add alumni in there. For example, if we flash forward five years and all the planets align properly, I could be Betsy Chapman ’92, MA ’94, P’27 (translation: I graduated from Wake in 1992, got my Master’s in 1994, and have a member of the Class of 2027).

Now let’s really blow your minds…

Sometimes our students are being raised by grandparents instead of parents – and in that case, it would show up as John Washington GP’21 – the grandparent of a member of the Class of 2021.

Or sometimes parents have twins who are both at Wake Forest. Then they would be a P’21, ’21 – parents of two Class of 2021 students.

We started listing parent years in publications and on nametags at events because parents or family members wanted to have a way to be recognized as having their own Wake Forest affiliation. So many of our Deac families are just as energetic about the University as their students, and I frequently have family members tell me they wish their own undergraduate experience was as fulfilling as their student’s time at Wake Forest.  Adding that P’ year just makes them feel a little more a part of our community – so that’s why we do it!

One more note of explanation – we often talk about “parents and families” instead of just “parents” because while most of our students are living with parents, some live with grandparents, guardians, or aunt/uncles, etc. and we want to be respectful of all the different family constructs we have. While we use the generic P’ year, it is meant to encompass all relationships.


Categories: campus life


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