Stephen Edwards (’10), Office of Alumni Services Young Alumni Programs
firstname.lastname@example.org / @stephenjedwards
Welcome to the Alumni Family, Class of 2014!
From the moment you enrolled at Wake Forest four years ago, you probably had little idea how much fun you would have, how hard you would work, and how you would feel at the end of your Demon Deacon career. While you may be having mixed emotions about leaving a place so special to us all, let me give you a piece of encouragement: the connection does not have to end here.
Four years may seem like a long time, but if you eat your vegetables and take your vitamins, you may live to be 100! You have merely scratched the surface to what is a lifelong relationship with Mother So Dear, and leads to all sorts of wonderful friendships, experiences, and much more.
In order to make the most of your alumni experience, I want to encourage you in 5 specific ways that have made my four years as an alumnus that much greater:
1. Stay in Touch with Friends
You don’t need me to tell you that Wake Forest is special. Campus and it’s daily life has a certain mystique to it, that I would argue, is all about the people. If you had an experience at Wake like I did (and I hope you did!), you made some incredible friends along the way. Whether classmates, professors, mentors, coaches, or other colleagues, Wake Forest is filled with wonderful people that make this place so great. When you graduate and move to somewhere exciting for a job, graduate school, or other opportunity, I encourage you to stay in touch with your fellow Deacs. Though at times it may be hard due to a new work and social schedule, or different life changes, it is a worthy investment. The relationships you have developed in these four years have come during some of your most formative years, and staying connected with these friends and mentors as you embark on the next stage in your journey, will serve you well.
2. Come Back and Visit Campus
Whether it is for Homecoming (which is September 19-20 this year), to visit underclassmen friends, take a stroll on The Quad, or dinner at Putter’s and a basketball game in the Joel, I encourage you to visit, and visit often! There are few things as fun as Homecoming festivities for alumni, and each visit back to Winston-Salem connects you, your family and friends, on an even deeper level, as you are reminded of what makes Wake Forest the school you chose to attend, and the alumni status you are increasingly proud of among your peers. When you visit, try to connect with those friends mentioned in point one; catch up with a favorite professor, grab a cup of coffee in Campus Grounds with a mentor, or coordinate with friends what time to meet at Shorty’s. No matter what brings you back, just know that we LOVE having our alumni family on campus.
3. Utilize WFU Professional Resources
Now that you have graduated, you may think that your professional relationship with the University will be drastically different. It doesn’t have to be! Take advantage of the resources provided by your alma mater.
- Alumni Office: Update your contact information, set up your Gmail account, use the alumni directory, and more
- OPCD: Utilize the career coaches if you are looking for a job or graduate school placement
- ZSR Library: Take advantage of free database resources whether you are in graduate school or as a tool in your industry
- LinkedIn: Join the WFU Alumni Group and the 25+ alumni subgroups by industry and geography
- Twitter, Instagram & Facebook: As always, stay connected with Wake Forest via social media for updates on news, events, and much more.
4. Get Connected with Your Local Alumni
When I moved to Dallas, TX after graduating four years ago, I knew no one in Texas… except for a few Demon Deacons! This connection runs deep, and I was able to really begin to meet people, make meaningful social and professional connections through this network, and I encourage you to do the same. There are nearly 50 local WFU Alumni clubs around the world, so wherever you are moving, more than likely, there is an active group of Deacs waiting for you to get connected with them! You can find the list here.
Take advantage of the affinity we share as Wake Forest graduates; it allows you opportunities like meeting Deacs in the NBA following a local game, getting a book signed by author Emily Giffin at an event in NYC, hearing from a panel of experts within the tech industry in San Francisco, attending the symphony in Philadelphia, watching the Deacs play football at a Dallas restaurant, or serving at a food bank with a group of Miami Deacs. Regardless of how you want to stay connected as an alum, the local clubs are a great way to deepen your relationship with other Deacs, and the University.
5. Be an Ambassador of Wake Forest
Lastly, I encourage you to look for opportunities to be an ambassador of Wake Forest, living out a spirit of “Pro Humanitate” the rest of your days. That may mean serving regularly with a community partner seeking to meet social services or make an impact on areas of injustice in your city, but it can also mean other things as well. Consider serving with the Admissions Office, as an alumni volunteer, partnering with the Alumni Office as a local club young alumni leader, or investing in the future of Wake Forest as best you can.
Most importantly, always share your love of Wake Forest with your family, friends, and local community, strengthening the ties to Wake Forest wherever you are from, or wherever you live now.
All the best to each of you in your personal and professional endeavors. While graduation may seem like an ending of sorts, it is the beginning of an exciting journey! There is nothing like the Old Gold and Black. I look forward to staying connected with you.