Bright lights, big city pajama party
I always like to hear how college pals have stayed in touch over the years, getting together for golf outings, beach weekends, wine tastings, you name it. The Wake Forest mystique can be defined in innumerable ways, but one that rises above all is friendship.
The other day I heard one of those stories from journalism professor Mary Martin Niepold. She met with three of her friends from the Class of 1963 in New York City for Broadway shows and a reunion of women who hail from Maryland, Texas, California and North Carolina. She writes, “All of us are back together again after so many years, and all of us are English majors and joined irreparably at the hip, it seems, from the days when we lived either in Johnson or Bostwick dorms and struggled through endless ‘Strings’ meetings.” You’ll read how they spent five days reminiscing and seeing the city, never skipping a beat. It also might serve as a reminder to see details about Homecoming Sept. 19-20.
He’s Number 1
University Photographer Ken Bennett has done it again, garnering an award for a photographic portfolio exemplified by the gorgeous image you see above. Earlier this month the Council for Advancement and Support of Education named him Photographer of the Year, honoring his work in the annual national competition in which portfolios are judged on creative visuals, good technical quality, appropriateness and how well the photography expresses the institution’s mission. The latest accolade comes on the heels of his Master of the Profession award from the University Photographers’ Association of America last year.
Any photographer might be bored after nearly two decades of shooting scenes from the Quad or graduation. Not Ken. He is always looking to top his best efforts. He arrives before daybreak or sets up at dusk to capture a perfect Wake Forest moment in perfect light. I’m proud of faculty and staff who continually strive for excellence. Ken is one of those people. I encourage you to see his winning portfolio.
Hats Off to Graduates
“I’m impressed that your achievements have attracted so much media attention.”
Jill Abramson’s first lighthearted observation came early in the Commencement speech on May 19 that drew national media attention. The previous Wednesday she had been sacked as the executive editor of The New York Times, the first female executive editor in the Times’ history. Wake Forest would end up being the setting for her first public address. While she did not divulge details about her firing, she used her 11-minute speech to emphasize resilience and establish common ground with graduates: “What’s next for me? I don’t know. So I’m in exactly the same boat as many of you. And like you, I’m a little scared but also excited.”
The day was picture-perfect for the 1,100 undergraduates and 800 Wake Foresters leaving the University’s graduate and professional schools. Abramson made sure the media spotlight stayed on them, surprising many by shaking hands with every undergraduate crossing the stage. Read about Abramson’s speech and see photos from one of our favorite days of the year.
Congrats, Class of 2014!
‘DMann Deacon’ enthusiasm!
He climbed aboard the motorcycle to sit behind the Demon Deacon, and then the duo roared onto the Quad. Tots sporting their finest Wake Forest garb, students, faculty and staff cheered at this picture-perfect scene on April 8. The celebration was on for Danny Manning, the leading scorer and rebounder in University of Kansas history, the 6-foot-10-inch NBA veteran and Wake Forest’s new head basketball coach.
“We plan to cut down nets,” he said. You can guess the crowd’s reaction. Manning’s first official press conference also cheered the Forest: “First and foremost, we’re in the education business. We want to make great young men. This is a wonderful University. When you leave here, you will be prepared for life.” Many of us can attest to that statement and noted how the coach embraced the paramount mission. Watch the five-minute video of Coach Manning’s first day here. (Look for the YouTube link.)
No greater honor
With just weeks remaining in the academic year we’re looking forward to Commencement. It is a festive occasion with smiles and tears aplenty as we honor new alumni embarking on life’s next passage. There is no more moving moment than the ROTC Commissioning Ceremony, when the U.S. Army’s newest officers pledge to honor and defend their country. Nearly 27 years after he took that oath, Col. John C. “Jay” Waters (’87) leads the Army National Military Cemeteries program and has no greater honor than to serve military families navigating another of life’s passages. Read his story here. And to Mother, so dear, “All honor now be thine.”
Snowstorms, admissions news
As the photo above shows, February 12-13 brought big snow to campus. Winston-Salem’s official total was 8 inches. Reynolda Campus shut down for 2½ days, but the work of admissions officers hardly missed a beat during their busiest time of year. After the roads cleared, they returned last week to national news affirming their test-optional admissions approach. In short, “Defining Promise: Optional Standardized Testing Policies in American College and University Admissions” found “trivial differences” between the long-term performance of students who submitted test scores and those who didn’t.
On the admissions website, prospective students learn that Wake Forest was the first top-30 national university to make submitting SAT and ACT scores optional in the admissions process. I talked with Dean of Admissions Martha Allman (’82, MBA ’92) about the policy that took effect with the freshman class of 2009 and what the findings in this unprecedented study of test-optional policies mean for Wake Forest. Read about our conversation here.
Our Professor’s ‘Hoop Dreams’ at 20
Maybe you’re one of the lucky cultural mavens who trek to Park City, Utah, every January for the Sundance Film Festival. If you were there this month, you had the chance to see a digitally remastered “Hoop Dreams,” the landmark documentary that won the festival’s Audience Award in 1994. Highly acclaimed by film critics across the country, the documentary tracks two inner-city Chicago teenagers, William Gates and Arthur Agee, who dream of NBA stardom. The filmmakers follow the basketball players for five years, capturing the highs and lows and the loving support of families who dream of more fulfilling lives for the boys.
Peter Gilbert, one of the film’s producers and its director of photography, was on his way to Sundance this month but not before discussing the film’s 20th anniversary. Gilbert teaches in Wake Forest’s Documentary Film Program, where he stresses “we’re in a storytelling renaissance.” Read more about his memories of making “Hoop Dreams” and his teaching here.
A positively sparkling time of year
Admit it. When the lights twinkle around the Quad, luminaria glow to light the path to Wait Chapel and the massive holiday tree outside Reynolda Hall exudes that fresh forest scent, you long to be back here. Minus the exams.
The holiday traditions bring students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community together in ways that strengthen our bonds on campus and off. The largest single lovefeast in North America happens here. The Messiah Moravian Church Band strikes up the brass, the choir leads us in sacred carols and the candles are lit one by one, illuminating our common bonds. You will always be welcomed back to your Wake Forest home, but for those who missed the celebrations, this link offers an array of elegant black-and-white photographs by University photographer Ken Bennett and a short video that I hope will bring back your own December memories from around the Quad.
‘You belong here’ — in dialogue
I know how it feels when the volume is turned up in the national conversation. Across the political aisle and on social media, who is yelling at whom today? Our differences can create a chasm that seems impossible to cross.
That is why I found it so encouraging this month that a standing-room-only crowd gathered in Brendle Recital Hall to challenge the prevalent notion about our country’s lack of civil discourse. “Three living legends” — Reynolds Professor of American Studies Maya Angelou, Provost Emeritus Edwin G. Wilson (’43) and Johnnetta B. Cole, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, gathered to urge individuals to take responsibility for creating a culture of kindness and respect. Focus on what we have in common, not our differences. By striving for that change in perception, we might just change the world. Being the change one wishes to see is something Wake Foresters know how to do, and for that I am grateful. Read more here.
Under the big tent
My students were buzzing about the construction of the big tent on Manchester Plaza. What was up? Last week came the answer, complete with fireworks over Reynolda Hall, the “Fight Song” and happy toasts under an autumn moon. “Wake Will: The Campaign for Wake Forest” officially launched, the largest mobilization of support for the University and the Medical Center in Wake Forest’s 179-year history. The goal is $1 billion.
Skies cleared on Friday for faculty, staff, students and alumni arriving for the start of Homecoming festivities to gather at the big tent for a cookout celebrating the launch. You couldn’t help but feel the camaraderie of people of all ages coming together at a place that always feels like home, with or without a big tent as an assembly point. Sitting on the “front porch” of the tent, I spied all things Deacon, from little footballs sailing through the air to Tie Dye Nation T-shirts, even a professor returning “home” from Salemtowne Retirement Community. I felt the blessings of heritage and the thrill of what might be next for my alma mater. Read about the launch and view videos here.
Homecoming. Who’s in?!
I’ve been happy to hear that friends from my 1980s “Thriller” era are making their party plans to return for Homecoming weekend, Oct. 18-19. As far as I know there are no plans to smash a car on Manchester Plaza, but if you want to hear Provost Rogan Kersh (’86) talk about Gen Y, that’s on tap. So is a tour of the Day of the Dead exhibit at the anthropology museum. How about Jenny Puckett’s (’71) class on Wake Forest traditions, where you can get an insider’s history of Mother, so dear?
Those events and more all happen before the Friday night reunion parties (Beach Boys? R. Kelly? Whitney Houston? Who will be your party soundtrack?) and the football game against Maryland Saturday. Whatever your class year, come back to celebrate campus memories and your pals. Here’s the full list of events with a link to registration.
Move-in Day: New friends for life
When Barb Gehlert Lederer (’87) attended Wake Forest, she lived in what was then New Dorm on Fidele hall. On Aug. 22 she moved her daughter, Anne-Levert, into a room just a couple doors down from her old room in the dorm now known as Luter Hall. Hers is a familiar story. Each year teary-eyed and beaming alumni show up with their children to enroll, hoping the next four years will create equally cherished memories. “These are going to be friends she’ll know the rest of her life,” Lederer said. “When she was accepted, people I haven’t seen in 25 years reached out to her.”
For alumni families, move-in day signified looking back and looking ahead. The Spirit of the Old Gold and Black struck up the fight song on Manchester Plaza, and a new class of Wake Foresters found a home. Read Kerry M. King’s (’85) story about alumni families on move-in day, one of our favorite days of the year.
Thanks for the memories!
Chances are if a Wake Forest photo of Project Pumpkin made you smile or a picture of Wait Chapel moved you to nostalgic tears, those images — and emotions — were brought to you by Ken Bennett. The University’s photographer since 1997, Ken has climbed high and low, far and wide — always with a camera around his neck and a hefty gear bag over his shoulder — to creatively capture campus life through a Canon lens. The University Photographers’ Association of America recently honored him with its Master of the Profession award for consistently high quality work (follow his photo blog, Focus on the Forest). He also won awards for individual images including the one above of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library cupola. Congratulations, Ken, and thanks for the memories!
Oh, The Places They’ve Gone!
Thirty-eight days after graduation, the seniors who crossed the stage to receive their diplomas and emerge as our newest alumni are never far from our thoughts. I’ve heard from some of them about jobs, traveling adventures and plans to stay on campus for graduate school. One of the many treats that arose from Commencement is a gallery of celebratory photographs shot by roving social media experts — led by Gretchen Edwards (’10) from Advancement. “What’s Next?” for the Class of 2013 brings you a taste of an impressive list of destinations and pursuits for post-grad living. From “Med School” to “Love, Work, and Public Policy,” the writing on the white boards confirms that the Class of 2013 will be a globe-trotting, world-changing group. I know you will enjoy seeing the graduates and their white-board ‘bon voyage.’
Talk about timing. Because of tricky and occasionally ominous weather forecasts, students, families, faculty and staff on campus wondered whether Commencement 2013 on May 20 would occur on the Quad or in the Joel. The graduates I talked with were clear about what they wanted: an outdoor Commencement. That’s what the 1,700 graduates got, plus decent weather until the end.
After listening to journalist Gwen Ifill of PBS deliver the address and receiving diplomas, graduates marched, tassels on their mortarboards now on the left, through the receiving line of faculty members toward Reynolda Hall. As if on cue, the clouds burst, dousing our newest alumni with a celebratory drenching. The day’s festivities, despite the rain, inspired the “Wake!” cheer and the “Forest!” answer. Here’s to Commencement.
Introducing Distinguished Alumni
University leaders, trustees and graduates celebrated the newest recipients of Wake Forest’s Distinguished Alumni Award at a gala dinner Friday night.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (’78) of Winston-Salem, Jane Owens Cage (’78) of Joplin, Mo., and the late Graham W. Denton Jr. (’67, P ’93, ’97, ’10) of Charlotte were honored for service to community and their alma mater.
Read about these honored alumni and their love for Wake Forest. Videos and photos also tell their story.
“Retirement” for Chris Paul
As Rob Daniels writes for Wake Forest Demon Deacon Athletics, “You can hang your hat on the numbers and the memories. Sometimes, you hang a jersey on something more.” That something more refers to the rafters in The Joel, which now display Chris Paul’s jersey No. 3.
On March 2 Olympic gold medalist, NBA superstar and local philanthropist Paul became the 11th Demon Deacon to have his jersey retired and the first since Josh Howard in 2004. He received a standing ovation during a rocking celebration on Chris Paul Day (CP3 Day). The Wake Forest basketball point guard from Lewisville, N.C., turned pro after his sophomore year in 2005 but continues to return to campus in the summers to work on finishing his degree. Read about CP3 Day, the triumphant return of the Los Angeles Clippers guard and famed Demon Deacon.
The lure of Reynolda Gardens
The spring issue of Wake Forest Magazine celebrates Reynolda Gardens, a serene place many of us love. We ran there after we stayed up all night to finish papers. We walked there with our friends to chat about the day’s news. It was our peaceful getaway for enjoying trees and birdsong.
We are pleased to bring you photographs by Travis Dove (’04), who studied communication and studio art and now works as a popular freelance photographer in North Carolina and nationally. Space prevented us from featuring all the photographs he shot for us in the print issue, but we don’t want you to miss a single image. Click here to see a slideshow (with music) of all his Reynolda Gardens photos.
Who Inspired Mr. Wake Forest?
Provost Emeritus Edwin G. Wilson (’43) enchanted generations of students with his recitations of the poetry of William Butler Yeats, William Blake and Dylan Thomas. It’s hard imagining him as a young man seeking out a mentor of his own. But he did just that. Read here about Edgar E. Folk Jr. (1921) and how he mentored the 16-year-old Ed Wilson with what Dr. Wilson calls “a mysterious quality that I’ve seldom encountered.”
Lovefeast and community
Earlier this month in Wait Chapel, more than 2,000 of us gathered for the beloved campus tradition, the Christmas Lovefeast. As we sang “Morning Star” and touched beeswax candle to beeswax candle to spread light amid darkness, we were engaging in a sacred Moravian ritual about hope and marking the advent of the holiday season for the Wake Forest community.
Read about the Lovefeast. May the story bring back happy memories and may you have holidays worthy of song.
New twist on Pro Humanitate: Welcome, human!
We are always searching for stories to celebrate Pro Humanitate, the Wake Forest motto that encourages us all to serve humanity. Emily Brewer (’98, MA ’03) spread the spirit in a global way when she helped deliver a baby girl at a UNC Chapel Hill bus stop this month. Her story went viral, with Brewer, a Ph.D. student at Chapel Hill, now referred to in some circles as the “delivery angel.”
She wrote about the experience of suddenly becoming famous and — spoiler alert — welcoming a wee little girl namesake into the world for Wake Forest Magazine online. Read about the good Samaritan.
Pro Humanitate: close to home
When Linda Tuttle, a staff assistant in the Department of Chemistry, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she never imagined her experience would inspire colleagues to develop a new treatment for the disease. Tuttle’s use of the drug tamoxifen inspired medicinal chemist Uli Bierbach and research colleagues Song Ding and Xim Qiao to develop a targeted therapy — one that sneaks up on breast cancer like a “Trojan Horse” attack.
Their inspirational story, where innovative research meets real life, reaffirms Wake Forest’s commitment to Pro Humanitate — whether halfway around the world or right here at home.
Fore! More gold for Arnold Palmer
In the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, golf legend and Wake Forest luminary Arnold Palmer (’51, LLD ’70) received the Congressional Gold Medal on Sept. 12, two days after his 83rd birthday. Congress recognized his service to the country in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship. Along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom (Palmer received that honor in 2004), it is the highest civilian award in the United States and dates back to 1776, when the Second Continental Congress awarded the medal to George Washington. Read more about Palmer’s honor here.
Alumni on Move-In Day: Back to the Future
The “snake pit” is long gone, formal parlors for greeting suitors are passé and no one is expected to yell “Man on the hall!” But alumni who arrived last Friday to help their children move onto South Campus for freshman year could not have been more pleased about the positive qualities that endure at Wake Forest.
Read more about continuing the legacy as alumni pass on the Wake Forest experience to their children.
Wake Forest Olympians going for the gold — and black!
If you’re planning to watch tonight’s Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, you can expect America’s delegation to sport red, white and blue. But inside those uniforms — and the uniforms of several other nations — will be athletes who bleed black and gold. Eight current or former Wake Foresters are Olympians!
They’re “constant and true” in red, white and blue — or any other colors!
Read about them here, and Go Deacs!
From ‘Pro!’ in L.A. to ‘Humanitate!’ in Richmond
A tip of the hard hat and a wave of the hairnet to the more than 400 Wake Foresters who showed their Pro Humanitate Spirit this month.
The first Pro Humanitate Days, also known as “4Good,” saw Deacs from 18 Wake Forest clubs across the country respond to the call to volunteer en masse. Coast to coast, they pounded nails to build a house in Palm Beach, prepared food in Houston, organized a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Richmond and cleaned a park in Atlanta.
Commencement: A day for memories and memorable quotes
Among the fun aspects of being back at Wake Forest is hearing how visitors view our traditional campus events. At Commencement Monday, happy quotes were flying. Here’s one of my favorite exchanges:
“Our grandson’s girlfriend is graduating summa cum laude.”
“What about your grandson?” asked a WFU staffer.
“He’s thank the laude!”
Wake Forest as ‘idea factory’
In Wait Chapel earlier this month, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called American colleges and universities “centers of creativity and innovation” and the “idea factories for our country and world.” She kicked off the national conference “Rethinking Success: From the Liberal Arts to Careers in the 21st Century,” examining the value of a liberal arts education in the workforce. The conference on April 11-13 attracted presidents, career officers, deans and faculty from more than 70 colleges and universities.
March 2012 @WAKE: The Alumni Newsletter:
Extreme explorer with Pro Humanitate spirit
Meet an intrepid Demon Deacon. Carlton Ward Jr. (’98), an eighth-generation Floridian, imagined bringing attention to conservation and habitat issues in his home state. He envisioned a 1,000-mile journey over 100 days, and it has come to pass. An environmental photojournalist, he credits Wake Forest with giving him an undergraduate education that he calls “a process of discovery.” He also got a professional start here by shooting Wait Chapel during a perfect crimson sunset.
February 2012 @WAKE: The Alumni Newsletter:
Our newest Distinguished Alumni share WFU memories
As Cherin C. Poovey (P ’08) writes in this month’s newsletter, the newest recipients of Wake Forest’s Distinguished Alumni Award embody the spirit of Pro Humanitate through service to the community and their alma mater. Humanitarian, public servant and entrepreneur — they are friends many of you might remember.
Rogan Kersh: ‘You had me at hello’
There, on the local front page Saturday, was Wake Forest’s new provost visiting with our esteemed provost emeritus, the self-proclaimed romantic. Befitting a storybook moment, Rogan Kersh (’86) will walk in the footsteps of Edwin G. Wilson (’43), who couldn’t stop smiling about Kersh’s appointment Friday to his former job as chief academic officer.