Media Advisory: Wake Forest University Commencement 2015: Story Ideas


Commencement: Stephen Colbert, comedian and late night television host, will deliver Wake Forest University’s 2015 commencement address on Monday, May 18. The commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on Hearn Plaza.

Baccalaureate: Jonathan L. Walton, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard University and Pusey Minister in Harvard’s Memorial Church will deliver the 2015 baccalaureate address on Sunday, May 17. The baccalaureate ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. in Wait Chapel.

NOTE: Commencement is a private, ticketed event.

The news office will issue a separate media advisory with logistical details for commencement weekend. Media and photography passes must be reserved by Friday, May 8.


Trends in career preparation: Higher education can, and must, teach innovative thinking — The workforce of the future needs individuals who can identify and create value, are agile team players, and have a strong work ethic.“ Colleges and universities with high first destination success ensure students are market ready,” says Vice President of Personal and Career Development Andy Chan, a national leader in rethinking the college to career experience. Employers want highly motivated students who can take initiative, be resourceful and persevere in the face of change and challenge.”

Chan can discuss trends in higher education related to career preparation and skill development for the 21st century – including the importance of creative, innovative and entrepreneurial thinking and how it is not only possible but necessary to provide an environment where students push the boundaries, test new ideas and learn to cope with both success and failure.

For grads, it’s a buyer’s market — Mercy Eyadiel, executive director of employer relations, can talk about employment trends and the improving landscape for 2015 grads. “This year there has been a shift from an employer market to a student market,” says Eyadiel, “The uptick in hiring is definitely playing out for top talent, and it has forced employers to make offers earlier.” Consulting, financial services and information technology continue to be growing fields. This year, jobs in communications, such as public relations, marketing and advertising, are opening up as well.

Is this the ‘right’ job? — How can 2015 grads just starting their career journey improve the odds that the job offer they accept is the right one – especially this year when employers are hiring, and there may be a second or third offer? “It’s not surprising coming out of the previously poor economy, that new grads may feel pressure to accept the first offer they receive, thinking that the ideal job is in a distant future,” says Katharine Brooks, executive director of personal and career development at Wake Forest. “But, there are questions to ask before accepting a job that can help determine if it’s really the best career choice and a good first step.”

Graduating green — Graduation gowns made from recycled bottles are the latest trend. A Triad area company makes the fabric used in the gowns Wake Forest grads will wear as they get their diplomas. This is the sixth year Wake Forest has chosen to use the recycled plastic gowns. Students are available to talk about how this year’s graduating seniors have focused on sustainability, including the pledge many sign showing their commitment to sustainability after they leave campus.

Trash to treasure — When students move out of residence halls at the end of the academic year, Wake Forest partners with Goodwill to collect items for the community. Students donate truckloads of items to the Goodwill through the DEACS Donate program. Organized by students in cooperation with the Resident Student Association and Residence Life and Housing, DEACS Donate makes it easier for students to recycle clothing, small appliances and household items they plan to discard. Last year, they collected more than 7,000 pounds of donated goods. Wake Forest and Goodwill volunteers will pick up collected items as needed through May 9 and again after commencement ceremonies conclude.

Students are also encouraged to recycle textbooks they can’t resell, paper they’ve accumulated through their coursework and reusable to-go box food containers. Learn more about other graduation related recycling efforts here.


First Demon Deacon picked in the WNBA Draft — Dearica Hamby, a psychology major from Marietta, Ga., became the first Demon Deacon selected in the WNBA Draft when she was taken with the No. 6 pick by the San Antonio Stars.

Working for global good — Shoshanna Goldin, a global health studies major from Allentown, Penn., will work for the Office of Pandemics and Emerging Threats in Washington, D.C. this summer. She’ll then begin a two-year Master of Public Health in Global Health Policy at Yale University this fall.

Paying it forward — Daniel Schwindt, a mathematical economics and history major from Winter Springs, Fla., is heading to Washington, D.C. to work as a research assistant at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Pro Humanitate on and off the field — Baseball player Kevin Jordan, a communication major from Vienna, Ga., received a kidney from Wake Forest Coach Tom Walter in February 2011. Kevin now has, according to Coach Walter, “the best tools on the team.” After graduation, Jordan hopes to continue his baseball career.


About Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at


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