@WAKE: Newsletter

January 2024

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

Jan. 26, 2024

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

Silhouette of a man observing a black and white piece of art of a man dancing

Photo: Ken Bennett

Students acquired “Eric,” by Robert Longo, on an art-buying trip in 1985. Last Friday, more than 300 people gathered to celebrate “Of the Times: 60 Years of Student-Acquired Contemporary Art at Wake Forest University,” which highlights the lithograph and other pieces from the Mark H. Reece Collection of Student-Acquired Contemporary Art.

FROM THE EDITOR

A radical idea unites generations

“Art connects us all.”

Those were the words of J.D. Wilson (’69, P ’01) as he pointed to the walls of the Hanes Gallery in Scales Fine Arts Center and one artwork in particular. His was more than an observation. It represented a passing of the torch.

Senior Skyler Edwards, sophomore Roksanna Keyvan and I listened as he recalled his undergraduate days and the impact of Vietnam. He figured he’d leave college and be drafted. That’s the backstory of the Jasper John’s “Flags” lithograph we were admiring. Wilson was on the student committee that traveled to New York in 1969 to buy contemporary art, including this piece, to reflect the culture of the times.

Edwards and Keyvan, both dressed in pink, both nervous about meeting alumni and administrators who gathered on this opening night of an exhibition of the artworks, will travel to New York in March to do what Wilson and selected students since 1963 have done. They will buy artworks for what is now the Mark H. Reece Collection of Student-Acquired Contemporary Art.

The two women and their fellow student committee members have been studying artists and preparing to storm the galleries in search of new pieces. Artist Emma Hapner favors pink for her paintings; students are considering her art as a nod to the movie “Barbie.” The students will have $104,000 to spend. They guess they might buy 8 to 10 pieces.

The idea of giving students money to buy art was radical at its inception. “It allowed students to express what it meant to be a young person making sense of the world in this tumultuous time,” Provost Michele Gillespie told the audience in Scales last Friday. The art-acquisition program remains distinctive nationally and continues to create object-based learning opportunities in a variety of courses.

If you’re in town, stop by Scales to see 37 pieces of the 147-item collection — destined to grow later this year, thanks to current students. The exhibition runs through March 31.

A toast to art,
Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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November 2023

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

Nov. 24, 2023

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

Three photos of groups of Wake Forest at Pitsgiving. The students sit around the table with a Thanksgiving meal on their plates. One group of students poses for a selfie with the Demon Deacon.

Photos: Lyndsie Schlink

Pitsgiving reminds us of the traditions and ties that bind our Wake Forest community on campus and throughout life.

FROM THE EDITOR

Nurturing appreciation

My friend Mary Dalton (’83), a communication professor, published a book a few years ago called “Sharing Gratitude.” In it she presented essays from her network of friends and colleagues about the subject of gratitude.

“I believe our fundamental purpose here is to take care of one another,” Mary wrote. “Pause for just a moment and think about how the world would look and feel if everyone, or at least more of us, approached daily life from this perspective — taking care of ourselves, others, and the planet that sustains us — and if we did so with limitless gratitude.”

It is in that spirit I wish to pause and think about the gratitude I have for the network of Wake Foresters who seek to identify and celebrate good in the world. There’s our small but mighty team at Wake Forest Magazine: Kerry M. King (’85), Carol L. Hanner, Katherine Laws Waters (’20) and Kelly Greene (’91). We have rich collaborations on each issue with Hayes Henderson, freelance designer Julie Helsabeck and photographers Ken Bennett and Lyndsie Schlink. We delight in telling stories that we believe point to the best in our community.

I look back over the year and think about ways Wake Foresters uplifted each other and news worth sharing. A story tip arrived. Did you know that while some philosophy departments are in decline, Wake Forest’s is thriving? Students in that department ponder life’s biggest questions “carefully, slowly and intensely,” as a professor said.

Wouldn’t the world be better if that happened more often?

Dr. Tom West (MD ’81) got in touch. We needed to write about former football star James Brim (’87), Dr. West said, alerting us to how Brim was working wonders in caring for and feeding the hungry in Northwest Georgia. “He’s just a force of nature,” he said. We published the story this fall of how Brim embarks on his mission daily with entrepreneurial zeal and a big heart.

Our stories often exude affection for professors and places that changed students’ lives. Alumni were quick to share with us their memories of Casa Artom and the professors who introduced them to new perspectives on art, culture and global ties. Our community read about Professor Emeritus Jim Barefield, Professor Emeritus of Classical Languages John “Andy” Andronica (P ’89, ’92), Professor of Music Peter Kairoff and Associate Professor of Communication Alessandra Beasley Von Burg (P ’14). All helped shape a magical time for students studying on the Grand Canal.

There are so many more stories we enjoyed telling, too many to list. But a constant, every year, is our honor in featuring Distinguished Alumni Award winners; this year, they were Beth Norbrey Hopkins (’73, P ’12) and J.D. Wilson (’69, P ’01). Lawyer Hopkins was a trailblazer for Black students at Wake Forest when she was an undergraduate and, later, infused Pro Humanitate ideals into the law school culture after she joined the faculty. Wilson, who started and ran a successful local business, has been a stalwart supporter of the University and avid backer of the arts on campus and in Winston-Salem.

“Our job in life, whether that’s at Wake Forest or for me as a person, is to help open doors for others,” he said.

Do you see a thread here, woven in a luminous fabric described by alumna Mary Dalton and reinforced through the view of alumnus J.D. Wilson? At Wake Forest, relationships make all the difference.

What has come before or what might be possible with open doors are seeds for the stories we tell. So are the ways people are taking care of each other. I can speak for the team in saying we are grateful for the privilege of sharing the good news.

Enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend,
Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu


October 2023

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

Oct. 27, 2023

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

Children dressed in Wake Forest gold and black play with giant bubbles on the Quad. Behind are gold and black balloons

Photo: Ken Bennett

Festival on the Quad during Homecoming weekend

FROM THE EDITOR

Homecoming had it all

Gathered around a table at 1703 Restaurant were les amis from the class of 1983. They met during a semester in Dijon, France, and Wake Forest’s Homecoming gave them a chance to reunite and tell stories about long-ago days when a cottage at Graylyn housed our French-speaking students.

Over at Party So Dear — after the downpour — a member of the class of 2013 was on the move to meet up with his friends. Count him among Deacs in Love on this night the clouds parted. He married a Wake Forester, and the couple now have two children. Yes, you guessed it. They posed on the Quad with their children in front of Wait Chapel for the classic photo, as de rigueur as kids in bluebonnets on a Texas spring day.

Over on Instagram, you couldn’t miss the joy that spanned generations. “Can’t believe it’s been a [Deac]ade,” said one. “Pretty sure we can all still pass for college though, right?” replied her friend. “The best weekend with the best of friends!” said a 1993 grad. One celebrated her 45th reunion by posing with a current student from the town they share, Joplin, Missouri.

The festival on campus for wee Deacs drew romping, laughing, face-painted kids decked out in black and gold. Little did the wee Deacs know they were heading for a nail-biter of a game and a romp back to the Quad at dark.

Homecoming’s exclamation point? A 21-17 win over Pitt. The football team’s Instagram post proclaimed, “Deacs. Never. Say. Die.”

Homecoming reminds us that those sentiments apply to Wake Foresters’ devotion to their alma mater. Let the friendships and fun carry on.

Go Deacs!
Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

AND DON’T MISS THESE STORIES


 

 

September 2023

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

Sept. 29, 2023

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

Una Wilson ('24) presents her poster, How Fungi Can Inspire Social Change, at the URECA Day presentations in the Sutton Center

Photo: Maria Henson (’82)

At URECA Day, senior Una Wilson shares her findings about “How Fungi Can Inspire Social Change,” which she researched with her mentor, Associate Professor of Communication Alessandra Von Burg (P ’14).

FROM THE EDITOR

Celebrate mentoring

When I speak with alumni, I find they easily name their favorite professor or staff member. Their reasons? Quality of teaching, the way a class made them see the world differently and the care they felt.

I saw the beauty of such answers in the making for future alumni last week at the Sutton Center. Here were undergraduate students standing proudly beside their posters describing academic and creative work. Not to be missed on the posters were the names of faculty and staff mentors.

It was URECA Day, sponsored annually by the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Center and a happy stop for parents in town for Family Weekend. I wandered through the crowd and chatted with students. Here was junior Jiale “Jack” Zhu, who studied the complex emotions Chinese immigrants expressed in poems carved on the wall of Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay. Here were seniors Monica Soni and Jasmine Marshall. They researched questions relayed on their poster, “College Experiences and Crises of 2020 and Beyond.” Soni is hooked and wants to do research in her medical practice someday. Marshall wants to be a counselor and says she now has a better understanding of research findings.

In Reynolda Hall, administrators refer to URECA Day as one of the best days of the year. After a stroll through the Sutton Center, who would argue?

Go Deacs!
Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

AND DON’T MISS THESE STORIES

 

August 2023

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

Aug. 25, 2023

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

Resident advisers cheering for their new residents in Luter Hall

Photo: Lyndsie Schlink

Resident advisers welcome new students to Luter Residence Hall

FROM THE EDITOR

They’re Here!

This is the month of the big move-in and, for parents, the teary move-on. This week the parade of cars made its way to what’s affectionately known on South Campus as “Freshmanland.” Out popped family members to pop the trunks and briskly unload the piles that somehow miraculously transform tiny rooms into showstoppers of dorm décor. Yes, it’s always a miracle, but year after year families find a way to make the haul fit.

The Class of 2027 is in the house. This group is nearly 1,400 strong, representing 32 countries and 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. We know from this story of alumni children that these newest members of the Wake Forest community have high ambitions. Learn Italian, says one. Keep learning Mandarin, says another. Join the marching band. Embrace independence. Study politics.

Alumni children have the advantage of feeling at home before their parents wave goodbye. They arrive ready to launch. They’ve heard their parents’ stories — from falling in love to rolling the Quad to finding just the right mentor on faculty or on staff. It’s a joyous time of homecoming for alumni parents (despite teary goodbyes from which there is no escape).

It’s my hope that the students who aren’t children of alumni quickly find their own sense of comfort on campus. I want all the members of the Class of 2027 to know that they are walking a path together, feeling the warm embrace of this community and starting their journeys toward lifelong friendships and lifelong learning. From Day One, in the end, once a Deacon, always a Deacon.

All best wishes,
Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

AND DON’T MISS THESE STORIES

July 2023

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

July 28, 2023

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

A student interacts with children at Freedom School at Wake Forest

Photo: Ken Bennett

Anthony “AJ” Williams, a senior communication major and member of the Wake Forest football team, with students at the Freedom School program

FROM THE EDITOR

Don’t be fooled

After trucks ferry away the 13,000 chairs on the Quad after Commencement and the newest alumni drive off to their post-grad lives, the campus falls quiet. Where are the clusters of laughing students? Where is the steady parade of undergrads streaming through ZSR’s front door? Which dining spots are open for lunch?

Those are the questions we ask during the quiet weeks. I say look closer, though, and don’t be fooled. While the masses have gone for a summer break, the campus has a distinctive, hopeful buzz. You’ll see activity here. Yes, you’ll see Wake Forest students studying for those summer school credits. But you’ll also see a most hopeful sign of all: a glimpse of the future beyond the Class of 2026.

Look for the tangible cardboard signs planted beside sidewalks: “Pre-college” and the ones I saw this morning directing participants to “Summer Immersion/High School Students.”

I think about how often I have heard alumni say they first learned about Wake Forest and decided to come here because of their summer experience as high school students. In recent years, Wake Forest has welcomed even younger fry. In the Freedom School program, Wake Forest students help teach elementary schoolchildren about the joys of reading and writing. Pumped with inspiration and possibility, the little ones can begin to imagine themselves at college one day. For all of us who know what it’s like to be Demon Deacons, the buzz about the high school camps and the Freedom School strikes us as the first chapter of a summer romance that just might last a lifetime. I’ll keep looking for the signs.

All best wishes,
Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

AND DON’T MISS THESE STORIES

May 2023

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

May 26, 2023

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

A student dancing while walking across the stage at commencement. He faces an audience of graduates and family members.

Photo: Lyndsie Schlink

Commencement 2023

FROM THE EDITOR

Congrats, newest grads!

They came. They studied. They conquered, despite a global pandemic that upended the normal WFU experience during spring break of their first year.

Clouds formed but no rain doused the pomp and circumstance for the 1,185 resilient undergraduates in the Class of 2023 and their families on May 15. There were 1,016 additional students receiving graduate and professional degrees at hooding ceremonies throughout the weekend. The Quad was packed! Check out the photos here.

I never tire of seeing such a joyous day. The bedecked mortarboards – “Time for the next adventure,” said one. The jumps for joy. The parents bestowing flowers and kisses. The oath to uphold and defend the Constitution by ROTC cadets, sworn in onstage to be U.S. Army officers. The hugs and tears of our newest alumni making their exit and saying final goodbyes to their professors.

Who can imagine what the future might hold for graduates? We were fortunate to welcome two home for the festivities: Baccalaureate speaker, the Right Rev. Kimberly “Kym” Lucas (’92, D.D. ’23), and Commencement speaker, Kathy Killian Noe (’80, D.D. ’17, L.H.D. ’23). Both embody Pro Humanitate through lives well lived in service to others, modeling lessons not only for graduates, but for us all.

Sincerely,
Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

AND DON’T MISS THESE STORIES

April 2023

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

April 28, 2023

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

Portrait of J.D. Wilson (’69) and Beth Norbrey Hopkins (’73) in front of the Sutton Center before the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Photo: Ken Bennett

Beth Norbrey Hopkins (’73, P ’12) and J.D. Wilson (’69, P ’01) received Distinguished Alumni Awards.

FROM THE EDITOR

Celebrating star alumni

Last Friday night guests stepped into the Sutton Center to a gym festooned in black and glittering gold and transformed into hallowed ground. The 2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards found its home for the evening, and all who entered eagerly came to honor two of Wake Forest’s finest: Life Trustee Beth Norbrey Hopkins (’73, P ’12) and J.D. Wilson (’69, P ’01).

The event remains one of my favorite traditions. The video tributes to the winners reveal ways the alumni have served and mentored others throughout their lives. The winners’ speeches remind us that in a world shaken at times by chaos and conflict there are humans who hold tight to a vision of what the world could be and what they can offer as their authentic, best selves.

As a Black woman who helped integrate WFU dormitories and with the attendant hardship, Hopkins left after graduation vowing never to return. Her faith, her friends and her husband’s devotion to Wake Forest led her back. She became a law professor, mentor and a change agent for pro bono and public interest programs.

Wilson crossed the Appalachian Mountains from Kentucky to attend Wake Forest and discover a spark that would motivate him forever. He was selected as one of four students to travel to New York for the student art-buying program. He’s been a patron of the arts on campus and in the city ever since. Never missing an opportunity, he used his platform Friday night to implore donors to support improved teaching, learning and exhibition spaces.

Read more about these distinguished alumni here, and join me in congratulating them. I am proud to call them both friends.

Sincerely,
Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

AND DON’T MISS THESE STORIES

March 2023

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

March 31, 2023

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

Bryan Stevenson (LL.D. '17) sits with legs crossed in conversation at Face To Face event in Wait Chapel. Stevenson is smiling.

Photo: Ken Bennett

Bryan Stevenson (LL.D. ’17) with Vice President for Campus Life Shea Kidd Brown

FROM THE EDITOR

Banking on hope

Bryan Stevenson (LL.D. ’17) returned to Wake Forest a few weeks ago to deliver potent messages about hope, love and healing to a multigenerational audience in a sold-out Wait Chapel. He was the first speaker in 2023 in the Face To Face Speaker Forum, which has graced our community with such notable guests as former President George W. Bush and Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Stevenson did not shy away from the difficult topics of mass incarceration or a moment that shaped his life that could have meant death. He stayed in his car one night too long listening to music in his apartment complex parking lot in Atlanta. Suddenly, the police were there, demanding that he get out of the car. His hands shaking, the officer pointed a gun at him, and Stevenson — a Harvard man — had to talk him down.

Stevenson went on to become a public interest lawyer and the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. The nonprofit’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice is dedicated to the victims of lynching in the United States with the hope its markers “can help transform our national landscape into a more honest reflection of the history of America and reflect a community’s ongoing commitment to truth-telling and racial justice.”

This National Humanities Medal recipient and MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Prize winner traced his belief in hope back to his enslaved ancestor who learned to read despite his circumstances. The endeavor meant he had a hope one day to be free, and he was right to hope. After slaves were freed, the man would read to them and teach them. It was an act of love, then passed on to Stevenson’s grandmother, always a domestic worker but one who believed in better things to come for her grandchildren.

You can read about Stevenson’s discussion with Wake Forest students who met with him before Face to Face here. This 2020 interview on “On Being” also provides a rich conversation with insights into Stevenson’s unwavering commitment to human rights and justice. I recommend them both for a dose of hope.

Sincerely,
Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

AND DON’T MISS THESE STORIES

February 2023

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

Feb. 24, 2023

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

Table centerpiece of heart-shaped macarons, brownies and chocolate covered strawberries. Lauren Hiznay and JP Rotchford posing for a portrait. Bottom right Keith and Karen Sherman

Photo: Lauren Olinger (’13), Red Cardinal Studio

Top, Lauren Hiznay (’13) and JP Rotchford (’13, MSA ’14), bottom, Karen Grove Sherman (’76, P ’06, ’10) and Keith Sherman (’75, MBA ’78, P ’06, ’10)

FROM THE EDITOR

Here’s to love!

You never know how a Deac will meet another Deac, fall in love and marry. No matter your class year, you’ve seen cupid’s dart hit Deac couples through the years, and occasionally, as certain Valentine’s Days draw near, you are able to learn how the love stories from long ago — or recently — are going. We had the privilege this month to see hearts still aflutter.

Alumni Engagement team members welcomed 50 alumni couples back to campus for “Deacs in Love” festivities. Who met in line at the bookstore back when students had to haul heavy textbooks to their dorms? Who met at romance central, Venice? Who met via “step-step-step-step-close” on the dance floor? (Yes, you can find love in a Wake Forest tango class.)

Enjoy a sample of Deacs in Love stories, and know that with every graduating class there will be more tales to tell. As novelist Paulo Coelho wrote, “I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.” Sometimes that universe exists just outside a dorm window with a view across the Quad.

All best wishes,

Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

AND DON’T MISS THESE STORIES

January 2023

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

Jan. 27, 2023

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

A group of Wake Forest alumni delegates, with Ed Wilson ('43) at front, in Wait Chapel.

Photo: Lauren Olinger, Red Cardinal Studio

Provost Emeritus Edwin G. Wilson, center, represents the class of 1943 among alumni delegates at the inauguration of President Susan R. Wente on March 25.

FROM THE EDITOR

Happy 100th!

I’m calling for the bells of Wait Chapel to ring out mightily and joyfully on Feb. 1. Provost Emeritus Edwin G. Wilson (’43, P ’91, ’93) turns 100.

Many of you know him for the steady hand he employed as a visionary leader of Wake Forest for decades. Others know him from listening to the pleasing timbre of his voice as he read aloud passages from the poems of William Butler Yeats, Dylan Thomas and William Blake in his famed poetry classes. Younger alumni, alas, might not have had the privilege of meeting the man whose devotion to this campus community is woven like shimmering threads into the tapestry of Wake Forest’s history. But his mark is not to be ignored. Nor are his words.

When I first returned to Wake Forest in 2010, I listened as Provost Emeritus Wilson delivered a speech titled “The Essence of Wake Forest.” He recollected the days of his freshman orientation and a vital symbol in use for generations. “When I begin to think of the Wake Forest I know and love,” he said, “two words come at once to my mind: friendliness and honor.” He shared how for years freshmen wore badges that displayed those two words. And he went on to speculate whether a third word should be added in the mix: “friend.”

There has been no better friend — a constant and true friend — to Wake Forest than Ed Wilson. I hope you will read this tribute by a former trustee who is one of Wilson’s former students. And join me in wishing Provost Emeritus Wilson a happy birthday. If you’d like me to pass along your wishes, email us at magazine@wfu.edu. I will print copies of the messages and deliver them in person.

Applause for our favorite centenarian,

Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

AND DON’T MISS THESE STORIES

November 2022

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

Nov. 25, 2022

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

Wake Forest students go through the buffet line for Pitsgiving. In the middle of the tables of food, a Harvest Table employee smiles.

Photo: Lyndsie Schlink

Pitsgiving 2022

FROM THE EDITOR

Breaking Bread Together

As they settled into their desks, students in my 11 a.m. journalism class last Thursday announced the first report. The line to enter The Pit, they said, was already winding outside Reynolda Hall and down the stairs. Pitsgiving was on!

Some of my students had worked out their plans for having friends hold tables for them for the all-day parade to the turkey and fixings. In some cases, my teaching was the only thing standing between them and the pie. Sorry about that.

I always look forward to hearing the excitement about this Wake Forest tradition. It’s the pre-game warmup of what’s to come wherever and however students celebrate Thanksgiving on the official holiday. (Hope you had a great one yesterday.) Studies have shown communal meals serve as a social glue. There are mental health and productivity benefits as well. But, most of all, the communal meals are fun and give people a sense of belonging and mattering to others.

Pitsgiving is a microcosm of some of the best things about the Wake Forest community. It showcases traditions such as Turkeypalooza, rituals and a tight social bond. We matter to each other. Wearing our sweatshirts or caps, we Wake Foresters recognize our tribe anywhere in the world. Immediately, we extend a greeting. It’s even better if we have a chance to break bread together, for old times, for Mother, So Dear.

With gratitude,

Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu


Wake Forest Magazine
University Advancement
Box 7227, Winston-Salem, NC 27109
1.800.752.8568

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October 2022

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WAKE FOREST MAGAZINE

October 28, 2022

News & Notes from Wake Forest Magazine

Students walk to class near Tribble Hall under the glow of a bright orange tree. Bright orange leaves cover the ground.

Photo: Ken Bennett

This 2010 photo is one of our favorite iconic shots of autumn on campus.

FROM THE EDITOR

Embracing fall in the Forest

The leaves of Wake Forest shiver with that shimmering red and gold that marks autumn in Winston-Salem. You will remember the blue skies, crisp air and crunch of fallen leaves as you walked to class. (More recent grads, like those in the Class of 2016, might have slightly different memories. Their October time meant rain boots and slosh-sloshing their way to Tribble Hall.)

This month has featured fall in its full glory along with the traditions that delight us. Hit the Bricks brought out the runners, the walkers and the costumes. If you missed last month’s story about how that fundraiser for cancer research got its start after rumors abounded about an impending boot to fraternities, here it is. Project Pumpkin’s fun on the Quad was on tap as I prepared this newsletter. Concerts and speakers filled our calendars. And proud families stopped by on Family Weekend to be awed by the more than 150 students displaying posters about their original research in collaboration with faculty members. Heads and hearts? We’ve got it covered.

This is one of the best times of year to be on campus, and I’m betting you remember. Come back soon. It’s still a home away from home for all seasons.

Go Deacs!

Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

AND DON’T MISS THESE STORIES


September 2022

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Sept. 30, 2022

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

Collage of images from Homecoming 2022. On left, women with hands in air dancing; at right, Kool and the Gang points at the crowd; at top, stage with band has signs that read: 2022, Homecoming and reunion weekend.Kool & The Gang puts the “party” in “Party So Dear” on Manchester Plaza. Photos by Lyndsie Schlink.

EDITORS’ PICKS

Yahoo!

Kool & The Gang knew how to write a classic with these peppy lyrics: “Yahoo! This is your celebration. Celebrate good times, come on! There’s a party goin’ on right here. A celebration to last throughout the years. …”

And Wake Forest proved it at Homecoming this month. Crowds returned to dance and sway to the band on Manchester Plaza. Little folk proudly wearing Wake Forest clothes came out to play at Festival on the Quad on Saturday morning, and the game was a sunny-day sellout that gave fans a win.

My class marked its, ahem, 40th reunion year, which seems impossible to fathom. That’s especially true when many of us can recall that it feels like only yesterday that we were dancing to DJs playing the “fresh, exciting” Kool & The Gang on a De-Lite record at T.O.G. and Oscar’s. I snapped out of it at Party So Dear when I realized that I was seeing some of my journalism students on campus to celebrate their fifth and 10th reunions, but even they seemed to get a kick out of the “old-school” tunes and the alumni who graduated decades ago still trying to boogie. Take a look at the happy scenes here.

We won’t have a date until later in 2023 for next year’s Homecoming, but it’s worth rounding up your friends to make a pledge to come back next year. You will notice the changes — more buildings and students on campus — but no difference in the ties that bind. Coming home to celebrate friendship and college milestones is always worth a “Yahoo!” to last throughout the year.

Go Deacs!

Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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August 2022

 

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Aug. 26, 2022

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

Hundreds of first-year students throw colorful paper airplanes in Wait Chapel during an orientation eventNew students “launch” their journeys by turning worksheets of their skills and career interests into paper airplanes during orientation with the Office of Personal and Career Development. Photo by Ken Bennett.

EDITORS’ PICKS

Move-in Memories

They rolled up, just like old times. Parents inched toward “Freshmanland” with their car trunks overflowing with their first-year students’ bins, mirrors, pillows and clothes. SOTOGAB played with extra vigor to enliven the scene. The Deacon mascot made the rounds. Student-athletes and staff members were quick to lend a hand for the trips up and down steps.

I couldn’t help but smile upon seeing the renovated Bostwick and Johnson dorms. When my friends and I arrived at all-female Bostwick, our parents helped us unload, gave us a hug after inspecting our dorm rooms and said, “Good luck. Love you.” We cranked up our window fans, decorated our bulletin boards and thought about the upcoming dinner with our “brother hall” at The Pollirosa: Home of Grandma’s Country Kitchen. We waited in line for the hall phone to call our parents and tell them how things were going those first few days. Parents these days stick around a lot longer and exchange minute-by-minute texts with their students about what’s next for orientation.

No matter the era, though, the excitement about the start of the fall semester crosses generations. You can see that in our magazine story about alumni who returned with their children for move-in day on Aug 17.

This week I thumbed through a Wake Forest Magazine from my first semester and realized these words of Provost Emeritus Ed Wilson (’43, P ’91, ’93) ring true today. He hoped Wake Forest in 1978 would be what it was when he first saw it: “a place where reason, imagination, and faith flourish, a place eternally and fearlessly in pursuit of truth; a place which is open, hospitable, generous, loving and free.”

Here’s to the start of a great year,

Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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July 2022

 

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July 29, 2022

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

Photo by Ken Bennett of the arch on the Quad with the sun shining behindPhoto by Ken Bennett

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Rethinking a cultural touchstone

Summer is the best time to savor a few moments to relax and catch up on reading. These days the books on my list also need to make room for podcasts, and I have one to share with you today.

Have you ever thought about the line “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Kanye West sings about it, and so does Kelly Clarkson. Movies about superheroes only reinforce this American cultural touchstone. But NPR’s “Hidden Brain” podcast a few weeks ago made me stop and question the “superhero trope” that suggests if something bad happens to you, something good is going to come out of it and you’ll be better than ever.

The podcast featured Eranda Jayawickreme, the Harold W. Tribble Professor of Psychology and the senior research fellow at the University’s Program for Leadership and Character. His insights challenge how post-traumatic growth has been measured and how the research has caused us “to jump ahead” to conclude that trauma is an automatic catalyst for positive personality changes. Jayawickreme argues for a nuanced view of how someone emerges from adversity. There might be an increase in compassion or creativity, while simultaneously there might be mental health challenges. He’s already won multiple awards for his research, and my bet is there will be more to come as he works on developing interventions to help people manage and recover from different types of adversity.

Here’s to our professors and their groundbreaking research.

Sincerely,

Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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May 2022

 

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May 27, 2022

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

A graduate raises her diploma above her head at commencement 2022.Photo by Ken Bennett

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An end is the beginning

Here’s to pomp and circumstance! The big news in May was that Wake Forest conducted its array of Commencement events right on time and with all the ceremonial, in-person joy we should never take for granted. Blue skies. Sunshine. Chairs aligned with precision. The Quad abuzz.

When I looked out over Hearn Plaza on Monday, May 16, and at the photos afterward, I saw the graduates in goofy sunglasses, some wearing bedazzled mortar boards, some wearing chucks, one wearing a kilt. All were beaming. I saw parents sporting Panama hats, at least two waving huge “faces on sticks” and all looking proud.

It’s the first Commencement I remember that can boast this singular tweet: “Louisa and Summertime Graduate College!” Louisa is wearing her cap and tassel as she poses near a barn with a horse. Summertime, I presume? Congrats!

Take a few minutes to peruse photos from Commencement 2022. You are bound to appreciate those whose journeys are just beginning.Go Deacs!

Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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April 2022

 

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April 29, 2022

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

Eric Olson, Donna Boswell and Rodney Rogers.Award winners to be honored tonight are Eric Olson, Donna Boswell and Rodney Rogers.

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A celebration delayed but not forgotten

Amid the pandemic’s myriad effects since 2020, certain Wake Forest traditions were canceled or delayed in the interest of public health. One of those beloved events was the in-person dinner to honor three of Wake Forest’s finest graduates.

Tonight, if all goes as planned, we will gather, finally, to celebrate the Distinguished Alumni Award winners named in 2020. We will pay tribute to Donna Boswell (’72, MA ’74), the first female chair of the University Board of Trustees and a constant and true presence for the betterment of Wake Forest; Eric Olson (’77, PhD ’81, D.Sc. ’03), a groundbreaking scientist who leads the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine in Dallas; and Rodney Rogers (’94), one of the most gifted athletes to ever play at Wake Forest and someone who has exemplified Pro Humanitate in his endeavors despite an accident that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Read about them here.

I don’t know about you, but for me the gatherings after the isolation of the pandemic have been more vibrant, more meaningful and more cherished. It seems there is a stampede to the dance floor at weddings. Hugs last longer. Enthusiasm abounds at concerts, and on campus I can’t help but notice how students are fervently back to ticking off items on their senior bucket lists.

I am expecting tonight’s celebration to reflect the appreciation not only of our honored graduates but also of our good fortune to be together again. Wake Foresters understand the value of community. Wherever you live, I will lift a glass of the finest to you in that spirit.

Here’s to our Distinguished Alumni Award winners –

Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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March 2022

 

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March 25, 2022

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

President Susan R. Wente joins attendees as they gather for tea and cookies on the Quad before the Lovefeast ceremony. Photo by Ken Bennett

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A historic day

I wish you could be here today to see the campus adorned for a major event in the life of Wake Forest. Susan R. Wente, Ph.D., will be installed officially as the 14th president. The inauguration ceremony promises pomp and circumstance with faculty in regalia and alumni representatives from classes dating back to the original campus on hand to witness the event. You can watch it here at 3 p.m. by livestream.

While Wente has been on the job since July 1, the inauguration ceremony serves as the official installation, a celebration and an opportunity for the president to share her story. The biomedical scientist talked with me last year about how one adviser in college changed the course of her life. She has made it clear she wants Wake Forest students to feel safe in discovering their full potential.

For context, before today only seven Wake Forest presidents had official inauguration ceremonies, beginning with Thomas H. Pritchard in 1879. His inaugural address was titled “A Plea for Higher Learning.” He delivered it at our original campus, founded in 1834, in Wake Forest, North Carolina. A train of 150 people chugged along from Raleigh to the event, attended by the governor. Think how far we have come. To witness history you need only click the link above!

All best wishes,

Maria Henson
Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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February 2022

 

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February 25, 2022

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

Yo-Yo Ma raises his hands as he plays cello with a student quartet at Joel ColiseumPhoto by Ken Bennett

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Balm for a weary world

Last week Grammy-winning Yo-Yo Ma spoke and played for our community at an event that drew young musicians from across Winston-Salem. He appeared as part of the University’s Face to Face Speaker Forum, and Wake Forest students were welcomed for free. The event exemplified what many of you will remember at Wake Forest when you happened upon a speaker, a play or a musical performance that shaped the way you wanted to live your life, open to art and possibility.

 

The conversation with Ma had many moments of beauty, but one in particular will stay with me.

 

A string quartet played to open the event. Three were our students. At the end of the evening, they were invited back onstage. Ma was going to play with them, an unexpected turn of events. To the student cellist, Ma asked, “Would you like to play my cello?”

 

He gently handed over his cello and carried the student’s cello back to his own chair. As they tuned up, you could feel the electricity. Together the quartet began to play “Salut d’Amour” by Edward Elgar.

 

Sitting next to Ma was the violinist, senior Uzo Ahn of Cleveland, Ohio. His eyes above his COVID mask flashed joy and wonder as he played and glanced to his right at Ma, a global star who has been offering #SongsofComfort to those on the front lines of the pandemic. That look of joy and wonder in the student’s eyes? It seemed to me, in LJVM Coliseum, it went viral.

 

The next day I asked Ahn if I had interpreted his look correctly. “It was joy unlike any I have felt in my life,” he said. “I’m still trying to process a lot of what just happened.”

 

I am, too, left with a memory of generosity of spirit on display.

 

May you find unexpected joy today,

Maria Henson

Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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January 2022 

 

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January 28, 2022

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

Photo of Maya Angelou in chair in Wait Chapel smilingPhoto by Ken Bennett

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Maya Angelou (L.H.D. ’77) makes history again

If you are like me, in the next couple of weeks you’ll be checking with a local bank to collect a keepsake: a Maya Angelou quarter.

The U.S. Mint announced the first batches of new quarters shipped on Jan. 10 as part of a four-year program featuring coins with the reverse (known as tails) designs honoring accomplishments of trailblazing American women.

The Mint lauded the late Angelou, named the University’s first Reynolds Professor of American Studies in 1982, as a “celebrated writer, performer, social activist.” Not only is she the first Black woman to have her likeness on a quarter, but she also ranks first in line among the trailblazers on the quarters. In 2022 quarters will later recognize astronaut Sally Ride; Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation; Nina Otero-Warner, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood.

“These inspiring coin designs tell the stories of five extraordinary women whose contributions are indelibly etched in American culture,” said the Mint’s then-Acting Director Alison L. Doone last fall. “Generations to come will look at coins bearing these designs and be reminded of what can be accomplished with vision, determination and a desire to improve opportunities for all.”

Read more about the Mint’s program and selections here. If you know students in the Maya Angelou Residence Hall, urge them to tuck a quarter into a special spot in the dorm to remind others one day of a gifted honoree who has made Wake Forest proud.

 

All best wishes,

Maria Henson

Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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November 2021 @WAKE Newsletter

 

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November 26, 2021

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

Pitsgiving 2021Pitsgiving 2021 drew crowds of students embracing a treasured tradition. Photos by Ken Bennett.

EDITORS’ PICKS

From Pitsgiving to Thanksgiving

Before class last Thursday, my journalism students were buzzing about Pit strategies. Someone’s friends had started lining up at the cafeteria at 6 a.m. Others discussed plans to “hand off” tables throughout the day. Pitsgiving’s official start was 11 a.m., and these students were at the ready, despite dutifully attending my 11 a.m. class where, for the next 75 minutes, I stood between them and the mashed potatoes.

I launched into my old-timer routine. Going to the Pit in my day was never about the food, I told them. One friend of mine existed on cheeseburgers, fries and “Polar Bear” ice cream bars for every lunch and dinner from October through finals. No one praised Pit food. And the only reason anyone anywhere might line up at 6 a.m. was to snag ACC basketball tickets.

I got a kick out of the students’ excitement about what is now an established  Wake Forest tradition. Pitsgiving marks a day for gathering friends to dine on turkey and the fixings, a preview of the Thanksgiving holidays. Pit food is considered truly tasty now — I’m serious, old-timers — and the turkeypalooza of main events is Pitsgiving.

Today, as you rest from yesterday’s Thanksgiving feasts, know that for students the festive gatherings around food and friends started a week ago at dear old Wake Forest.

All semester, students have been reclaiming traditions shelved a year ago at the height of the pandemic. They’re cheering on our teams in record numbers. They’re rolling the Quad like crazy. For me, to see that kind of school spirit is another reason to be grateful.

Enjoy those leftovers,
Maria Henson

Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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October 2021 @WAKE Newsletter

 

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October 29, 2021

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

Members of the Wake Forest community participate in the annual Hit the Bricks for Brian cancer research fundraiser on Hearn Plaza 9/30/21.

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Traditions return

Today is a huge day on campus. We are welcoming back graduates for Homecoming weekend to cheer on the Demon Deacons and expecting to see signature dancing and swaying at Party So Dear with The Commodores on Manchester Plaza. Fall semester is in full swing — as much as possible — as we continue to navigate COVID-19.

Seeing these traditions reemerge for in-person events after 2020’s challenges makes them even sweeter. They are proving more popular, too, when we have chances to high-five each other in real life rather than give each other a Zoom wave.

Hit the Bricks once again brought out the crowds to thunder around the Quad. A record 1,693 participants logged nearly 5,700 miles and raised more than $202,000 for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund.

I find it uplifting to see how the campus community continues to honor the memory of Wake Forest football legend Brian Piccolo (’65, P ’87, ’89) with sustained, impressive fundraising for cancer research through Hit the Bricks and other student-led events. Piccolo died in 1970 at age 26 of a rare form of cancer, but his legacy lives on as students put their hearts into honoring him and other loved ones who have had cancer. Have no doubt that the Pro Humanitate spirit on campus this fall is alive and thriving.

Go, Deacs! Beat Duke!
Maria Henson

Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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September 2021 @WAKE Newsletter

 

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September 24, 2021

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

2020 commencement, held 16 months later in September 2021 because of COVID-19

Graduates toss their caps during Commencement 2020, which was delayed 16 months due to COVID-19.

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Live in hope

We are accustomed to stories having a beginning, a middle and an end. Members of the Class of 2020 built the chapters of their story upon arriving in August 2016. They began in a circle on the Quad with the provost and their parents. They hummed the alma mater when they didn’t know the words. They wrote their first papers, cheered their teams’ victories, nursed pangs of homesickness and looked around at some point to recognize that these buddies of theirs might indeed become friends for life. They went abroad. They assisted refugees and tutored little kids. They talked smack in the dorms. They learned to speak other languages. They noticed — maybe without stopping in their tracks — how the bells of Wait Chapel rang every day at 5 p.m. And then, in March 2020, they went away for their final spring break only to receive a warning, a dire interruption: There’s a global pandemic. Don’t come back.

But that didn’t stop their senior year. Alone, they kept studying and attending class remotely. To mark completion of their academic work, they watched a virtual program to mark the passage from students to official graduates. Perhaps they were with their loved ones who toasted their achievement. But they weren’t on campus with the friends, faculty and staff who had walked beside them.

For their story, in such unfamiliar terrain, there was no true sense of an ending.

That changed — dramatically, joyfully, tearfully — last weekend. More than 700 of the members of the Class of 2020 returned with family members in tow. They ran across Magnolia Patio to embrace each other. They gathered outside the food court. “What’s up?! Everybody got haircuts!” they shouted. They danced to the band on Manchester Plaza.

And then they arose on Saturday, bleary-eyed, and, in full regalia, took their place in line on the Quad. And their parents beamed as each name was called for their children, who were grownups now, in grad school or working in their second year as Wake Forest graduates. No matter about the technicalities. As if in a time warp, they were marching on a sunny day to the stage in front of Wait Chapel to shake the hand of President Emeritus Nathan O. Hatch (L.H.D. ’21) and to receive a diploma.

“Take joy in doing the right thing even when the future is unknown,” Hatch told them.

And so their story ended; and while their (and our) futures remain as uncertain as ever, for a few hours at home at Wake Forest, their future (and ours) was brighter on such a very fine day.

Here’s to the powerful Class of 2020,
Maria Henson

Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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August 2021 @WAKE Newsletter

 

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August 27, 2021

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

Images of Move-in Day 2021

ABOVE: Move-in days highlights, including a signed welcome from President Susan R. Wente.

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They’re back!

The beat of the drum. The shout of “Go, Deacs!” The sight of tubs, wagons, trunks and comforters on parade. Move-in days last week brought a cheerful arrival, including for the Class of 2025 that was 1,400 undergraduates strong.

I sat in the lobby of Benson University Center last Thursday, where I looked up to admire the flags representing our students from around the world and thought about how grateful I was that students were moving to campus to begin or renew friendships in person and engage with professors again.

Soon my reverie was broken. Parents were stopping by to ask questions and write post cards for their new Demon Deacons. I asked most of them why their children chose our alma mater. Wake Forest “set the bar” during college visits, and no other school met it, one answered. Wake Forest “scored 10” on the visits. A daughter knew right away this was the one. A son wanted to come South, where he liked the idea of being outdoors much of the year and prized the University’s academic reputation. The size was right. The campus was beautiful. For another couple’s son, it seemed “meant to be” when a student tour guide turned out to be a graduate of the same Massachusetts high school.

They had flown or driven from Minneapolis, Boston, Atlanta, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, to name but a few of their homes. They were wearing masks, but their eyes beamed when they expressed their delight about their children’s college choice.

All of us who are alumni remember those move-in days, how transformative they are for students and parents. To all in the Class of ’25 and to their older classmates, I wish them an academic year filled with happiness and rich memories that start the minute one walks in the dorm room door. Take it from me, those Demon Deacon memories last a lifetime.

Here’s to Deacs, new and old!
Maria Henson

Maria Henson (’82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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