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'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

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Incoming freshmen join university community at convocation

Campus leaders welcome the Class of 2027
President Dr. Susan Wente addresses the Class of 2027 at Convocation (Courtesy of Wake Forest).

Wake Forest Provost Michele Gillespie opened the 2023 New Student Convocation at Wait Chapel on Aug. 25 by emphasizing the importance of academic integrity. 

“Part of being a student at Wake Forest and living out our values in this community is honoring our commitment to academic integrity,” Gillespie said. “I share this idea with you today because it’s critical to the work we are about to embark on together.” 

Gillespie is one of eight speakers who welcomed new students to Wake Forest during the event. New students also signed the Wake Forest honor code and participated in a pinning ceremony. Following Gillespie’s opening remarks, University Chaplain Reverend Timothy L. Auman presented an invocation, offering a prayer celebrating new beginnings and inviting students to take a moment of rest amidst their busy transition to college. 

Wake Forest President Susan R. Wente then reminded the audience that she was once an undergraduate student who was unsure about her future. She drew from her experiences as a former university student, scientist and university administrator to share three reflections with attendees: “you will not walk this path alone,” “college is a group project” and “be true to your north star.” 

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She also challenged students to begin to think about how they will contribute to Wake Forest’s motto “Pro Humanitate.”

“At Wake Forest, people are going to appear on the path before you to help you, guide you and engage you in finding and discovering your place here,” Wente said. “Through academic advising, first-year seminars, your residence hall community and beyond, that is how you will find your unique Wake Forest story.” 

Freshman Jane Ivey Johnson shared that she thinks Pro Humanitate emphasizes service. 

“I love community service,” Johnson said. “[Pro Humanitate means] doing whatever you can for the community.”

Student Body President Jackson Buttler (‘24) led new students in signing the honor code. He emphasized that this pledge extends to all aspects of life, not just academic integrity. 

“Serving as a foundation of our community, the Wake Forest honor code is a tradition that encapsulates our identity and our values.” Buttler said. “This commitment extends beyond the classroom walls and into all facets of your campus life. This code is more than just a mere formality, it’s a living aspect of our community.”

After Associate Dean for Academic Advising E. Ashley Hairston invited students to visit the Office of Academic Advising as they discover and navigate their career path, Vice President for Campus Life Shea Kidd Brown challenged students to remember the “power of ‘we.’”

“You will have bumps, you will have obstacles along that way, and that will build character and resilience,” Kidd Brown said. “Expect them. You are wired to navigate them, and the beauty is that you don’t have to figure them out alone. My advice to you is to talk about them, bring them to light, ask for help and I guarantee you will find that you are not alone. Wake begins and ends with two of the most important letters that form a powerful word: we.”

At the end of the New Student Convocation, new Wake Forest students gathered in small groups for the pinning ceremony. As they attached a small gold pin to their clothing, students pronounced themselves members of the Wake Forest student body. 

“With this seal, I declare myself a full member of the Wake Forest community,” students repeated after senior Brianna High. “I will help shape this institution, respect this institution and honor this institution. I’m in.” 

The ceremony concluded with closing remarks from Dean of the College and Graduate School Jackie Krasas. Colorful confetti fell from the ceiling after attendees sang the alma mater, “Dear Old Wake Forest.” 

“I thought [New Student Convocation] was beautifully planned,” Johnson said. “It was lovely to hear from the president for the first time. I just feel a stronger connection with the Wake Forest community here.” 

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Maddie Stopyra, News Editor
Maddie is a sophomore from Rural Hall, North Carolina who is majoring in English and double-minoring in journalism and psychology. In her free time, you can probably find Maddie reading on the quad or buying too many books at a local bookstore. You will most likely never see her without a coffee cup in her hand.

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