Over the past two semesters, senior Parker Beverly, has been focusing her efforts on the collecting of oral history interviews through the Expanding Wake Voices: Inclusive Student Life project. Thanks to donor support, this important work continues to expand the History of Wake Forest oral history project, with a new focus on the student experience throughout the decades. Parker is from Pensacola, Florida majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies (American Studies) and minoring in Film & Media Studies. At Wake, she has been a student assistant in the Special Collections & Archives since her freshman year and serves as the President of the ZSR Ambassadors. Thanks to donor funding, she is now our Oral History Coordinator. Throughout her pursuits, she maintains a love for storytelling and a passion for uncovering historical narratives.

Throughout the spring semester, Parker will continue to conduct interviews. We also hope to hire some additional students to assist with interviewing, so if you or anyone you know is interested, please contact me at zanisht@wfu.edu.

By Parker Beverly, ‘23

Throughout this summer and the fall semester I have had the pleasure of working as the Oral History Coordinator of the Expanded Wake Voices Oral History Project. This has been such a fun experience for me as I have thoroughly enjoyed every interview I have conducted. As a student interested in documentary filmmaking and history this is the perfect fusion of the two worlds as I can hone my skills as an interviewer while also documenting the important history of the University through gathering the perspectives of alumni and former faculty and staff members.

I first began this oral history journey last fall, reaching out to Wake Forest women from across the decades to participate in interviews for a documentary I was making on the history of women at the University. I was amazed by the outpouring of support by these women and struck by the insight their perspectives provided into the evolving character of life for female students. Without these women and their pioneering pursuits, I and countless other students today would not be able to aspire to the heights we are today. Having worked in the Special Collections & Archives since my freshman year, I knew of the vast number of resources that I had access to produce this film, especially the wealth of digital photographs and digitized copies of The Howler which proved essential in my research and production.

The nearly thirty voices that comprised the documentary were the first additions to the Expanded Wake Voices Oral History Project which now houses seventy interviews. These interviews were done throughout the course of the summer and fall semester. Interviewees have come from a wide range of backgrounds with graduates coming from the class of 1957 to the class of 2022. Some came from long lines of Demon Deacons while others ventured to Wake Forest as the first in their family to attend college.

Conducting these interviews has been a highlight of my time with the Special Collections. Many of the interviewees I have continued to stay in touch with. My family and I affectionately refer to a few of the special Wake Forest women in my life as my adopted Demon Deacon “grandmothers.” All of these interviews have allowed me to better connect with the Wake Forest community. When walking on campus I often pass by spots that were mentioned in an interview and fondly recall an anecdote.

I look forward to continuing these oral history interviews and encourage anyone interested in speaking with me or who would like to recommend an interviewee to please reach out to me at bevepg19@wfu.edu.

Strings Parlor Dedication
Parker attending the Strings dedication of the new lounge with WF Vice President for Student Life Shea Kidd Brown, WF President Susan R. Wente, Former Chair of the WF Board of Trustees Donna Boswell, and Presidential Endowed Professor of Southern History and WF Provost Michele Gillespie. Photograph by Rebecca May.