Media Advisory: Wake Forest University Commencement: Media arrangements

Members of the media are invited to attend Wake Forest University’s commencement ceremony Monday, May 18. Stephen Colbert, comedian and late night television host, will deliver Wake Forest University’s 2015 commencement address to nearly 1,900 graduates.

The University has received significant interest in his address and encourages media to read this message very carefully.

The outdoor ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on Hearn Plaza (the Quad). The livestream will be available at

The event is not open to the public and parking passes will be required to enter campus.  All members of the media are also asked to carry their own media credentials. Early morning television crews may arrive as early as 5 a.m.


Media must enter campus through the Reynolda Road entrance. Here’s a link to a campus map and directions to campus. Because of heavy traffic, all members of the media are encouraged to allow plenty of time to park and set up on Hearn Plaza. We suggest arriving on campus by 7 a.m.

Reserved parking for television live trucks and satellite trucks only will be in Parking Lot B, located between Taylor and Davis residence halls on the Reynolda Road (west) side of campus.

Reserved parking for all other media will be on Davis Field, near Scales Fine Arts Center.

Members of the media are encouraged to enter Hearn Plaza through the access point (under the arch) from Parking Lot B and will need their media passes. Someone from the Office of Communications and External Relations will greet media at each entrance and direct them to reserved seating.


To access the WFUvisitor wireless, launch the wireless network connection software on your computer to find and connect to the WFUvisitor wireless network. 
The WFUvisitor wireless network connection has open authentication and no encryption. Open any web browser, type and hit enter. The visitor will be redirected to the “Wake Forest University Visitor Wireless Network” webpage. Input the WFUvisitor username and password that is provided below:

Username:        nmedia

Password            462N6Bjv

Social media:

The commencement hashtag is #WFUGrad and the official Wake Forest Twitter account is @wakeforest1834, Instagram is wfuniversity and Facebook is wfuniversity.


Reserved media seating for reporters and still photographers will be in the front row. Direct audio feeds and power outlets will be provided. Two platforms will be available for TV cameras (approx. 170 ft. from the stage). Though there is plenty of media seating available, it will be on a first come, first served basis.

Recording (video and audio): During Colbert’s speech, recording will be permitted for the first 5 minutes only. This is at the speaker’s request.

Still photography: During Colbert’s speech, photography will be permitted for the first 5 minutes only. Flash photography is prohibited during his or any speech.

Reporter Work Room:

Space is reserved in the Autumn Room in Reynolda Hall (building #5 on the campus map) for reporters. Someone from the Office of Communications and External Relations will direct media to the location on-site.

Inclement weather plan:

In case of inclement weather, the commencement ceremony will be moved to Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (2825 University Parkway) and begin at 9:30 a.m. Media will be notified by early morning May 18 if the inclement weather plan is put into effect. More information regarding media arrangements for the inclement weather plan will be distributed as needed.

Commencement by the Numbers

2015 Graduates (May only)  

1,044  Undergraduates
142      Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
167      School of Law
288     School of Business (graduate programs)
37        School of Divinity
168      School of Medicine (including Physician Assistant Studies)
1,846   Total (6 Fulbright Scholars in the 2015 graduating class)

Commencement: Past and Present

4                Number of graduates in the first graduating class, 1839
12,000      Number of chairs set up on Hearn Plaza
2.5 hours  Approximate length of commencement
1964          The year the first black student (Edward Reynolds) graduated
4                Number of honorary degrees awarded this year
1966         First year commencement was held on the Quad, now known as Hearn Plaza; (from 1957 to 1965 commencement was held in Wait Chapel)
4               Number of times rain has forced commencement inside (2010, 1991, 1983, 1973)
2               Number of times commencement has been held off campus (2010 & 1991, Lawrence  Joel Veterans Memorial coliseum)
1957        First class to graduate on the “new” campus
2 hours  Length of commencement speech delivered in 1858 by Solomon Satchwell
1981        Last class to receive sheepskin diplomas

Post Graduation Statistics

In 2014, 98% of Wake Forest students who responded to the first-destination survey reported being employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation.

Past Commencement Speakers

The list of past commencement speakers is available here.

Categories: Media Advisory