Senior Orations

Last night I was fortunate to be able to attend the Senior Orations. Each year, a select group of seniors are invited to write an oration that deals with “a reasoned critique of culture or higher education or an unusual insight learned, in or out of the classroom, during their tenure at Wake Forest.”

This year, thirty-five students submitted essays. The top 10 finalists got to read their oration to a crowd of faculty, administrators, and students. Faculty judges will, I believe, narrow it down to three finalists, who will read their orations at Founders’ Day Convocation, which this year will be held on February 21st at 4 pm in Wait Chapel.

Once Founders’ Day Convocation has concluded, the Dean’s office usually sends us all ten finalists’ essays, and I will run one every week or so in the Daily Deac.

Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that lastnight I heard orations that made me cry, orations that were funny, and creative, and poignant, and insightful. I wish I knew every single one of the finalists personally, because they all told stories that were moving and remarkable.

It also struck me that in nearly every oration, the students acknowledged or thanked their parents or grandparents (or the people that matter the most to them). Parents and families, your impact on your children is profound, and they think of you with great love and reverence (even if they don’t always show it to you, it came out loud and clear lastnight).

I hope your Deacs mark their calendars for Founders’ Day. This will be a great set of orations.

 

— by Betsy Chapman ’92, MA ’94

 

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