Lots and lots of news today

Today a major University update went out to students, faculty, staff, and parents/families from President Hatch. You can read it here. Lots to digest, so I want to give what context I can.

We have announced a highly-structured and controlled self-move-out process so students can get their belongings. You can see the details here, including a webinar we recorded about the process. We have been making decisions in light of the current context with public health – and as of just a week or two ago, given what we knew, it seemed like there would not be a safe way to bring students back and we were looking to pack and store all students’ belongings.

Due to our excellent local and state efforts on social distancing, that public health landscape changed, allowing us to offer a structured, controlled move out process. I am glad that our students will have more control and decision-making about their belongings. It’s important to stress that there is a pack-and-store option for students at no cost to them, so folks are not required to come back. Additionally, the public health context may change again (in the negative direction) and if so we would need to pull back.

In terms of in-person Commencement for the Class of 2020, we have announced October 31st as the date. One of the biggest driving factors here was hotel availability, because we needed to make sure Winston-Salem could support a big weekend. We also wanted to listen to students’ voices, and many had expressed a strong preference for a fall date. Knowing many would have jobs or graduate school, it also needed to be a weekend. Whenever we choose a date for a major event (be it Homecoming or Family Weekend or whatever) there are a billion considerations, all of which must be weighed to the best of our ability, knowing there is never a perfect solution.

Everyone of course wants information about what the fall semester might look like. We have a group tasked with defining a roadmap for safely returning to in-person classes and usual operations. As with all things, health and safety of our community is the primary concern, and public health officials are active partners. We are planning for multiple scenarios that would prepare us to return to campus in a safe manner. Note that we will provide another update on or before May 15, so mark your calendars for that next update.

Dr. Hatch also sent a similar message to P’24s – parents and families of the incoming Class of 2024. Now that our ’24 class is coming online, there will be increased communications with all our P’24s and we welcome them warmly into the WFU family.

And while all of that is certainly news, we had additional news in the hiring of a new head basketball coach, Steve Forbes. I have to get the Daily Deac to print earlier than I used to so that it can get scheduled for afternoon distribution, so this news is breaking as I finished creating today’s blog. Here is a quick intro, but you will be able to read more at godeacs.com

A 30-year coaching veteran, Coach Forbes is a proven winner and builder of championship cultures with a 260-77 (.722) overall record in his five years as the head coach at East Tennessee State and at three previous community college head coaching stints. ETSU won 130 games and two SoCon championships during his tenure, while all 22 of his seniors earned their ETSU degrees. Forbes joined elite company in 2018-19, becoming one of just 10 active Division I head coaches who have reached the 100-win mark in their first four seasons.

Welcome to Wake Forest, Coach Forbes!

Given that every day feels like Blursday, I missed two opportunities yesterday. The first was to acknowledge that yesterday was LDOC (Last Day of Classes). Your Deacs are now gearing up for finals, and we hope you will help us leave Words of Encouragement for them here. The second thing was to share the most recent video message from Chaplain Tim Auman called Don’t Forget About Your People. I hope you will take a moment to hear Chaplain Auman’s calming voice and wise words.

View of the Quad from the Quad Cam 4/30/20Stay safe and well, all. Here’s a shot from the Quad Cam.

PS – I received a question yesterday from a Daily Deac-er about what is the Class of ’27 that I sometimes talk about. I tried to reply (but kept getting a bounceback saying my email was blocked), then I thought others might have the same question so I will answer here. Class of ’27 is my 15 year old, a freshman in high school. His projected college graduation will be Class of ’27, so that is how I often refer to my son here 🙂


— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

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