Events open the gates

A conference for higher education administrators to contemplate what success means for college graduates, writers sharing their craft with community schools, technology and entrepreneurial innovation and a variety of speakers came to Wake Forest during the academic year. Here’s a look back at some of the major events on campus.

Rethinking Success

Over three dynamic days in April, presidents, career office directors, liberal arts deans, and faculty from more than more than 70 colleges and universities – from Ivy League institutions to large public schools to small liberal arts colleges – addressed and shared solutions to prepare students more effectively for life and work after college. Leading off the session, a keynote from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. At the center of the debate: the role and value of the liberal arts education for 21st century careers.

“This conference has far surpassed my expectations,” said panelist Mark Smith, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director, Career Center, Washington University, St. Louis. “With a student mindset of ‘what have you done for me lately,’ we must always reinvent.”

Read more about the conference and follow-up action steps at

Words Awake

Words Awake, a celebration of Wake Forest University writers and writing drew more than 250 people to campus in March 2012 for discussions, networking and readings.

Aspiring middle and high school writers also had the chance to meet and be inspired by established Wake Forest authors. Eighteen alumni visited local schools to talk about their work.

The event offered 16 panel discussions on topics ranging from writing poetry to the changing landscape of journalism to the art of teaching writing.  At a banquet on Saturday evening, 15 past and present Wake Forest writers were inducted into the newly-created Wake Forest University Writers Hall of Fame.

The event also prompted a flurry of social media conversations. You can read them in this Storify account.


A group of students, with faculty advisors, brought the inspiring TED talks to campus in February 2012 with a locally organized event called TEDxWakeForestU. The event, which drew an audience of 1400, is one of the largest TEDx events ever held on the East Coast.

Eighteen speakers took the stage, talking about technology, social impact and entrepreneurship, following the TED mission of “Ideas Worth Spreading.”

Unlike a typical lecture on a college campus, TEDx speakers are limited to 18 minutes. “Most of the talks are about a speaker’s passions, research or new ideas about how to innovate,” said Polly Black, director of the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest. “They are highly accessible, informative and entertaining. They are designed to spark the audience’s interest in a new way of thinking.”

Read more about TEDxWakeForestU in the Winston-Salem Journal.

Categories: Events, For Alumni, For Parents, National, Scholars and Scientists, Speakers, Top Stories, Wake Forest College