Janet (Bates) Faig

Janet (Bates) Faig (’82) was a member of the 1977-79 Wake Forest women’s tennis team. As a student-athlete, she enjoyed the full Wake Forest experience, including student government and Greek life, while embracing the many cultural and educational events offered campus-wide. Faig currently resides in Gillette, New Jersey with her husband, Chuck (’81). While she continues to enjoy playing tennis and platform tennis, Faig has also enthusiastically taken up golf.

When did you graduate from Wake Forest?

What was your major and/or minor?
Mathematics with a minor in Education

What does being a Demon Deacon mean to you?
There is a sense of pride and love for the school that follows me wherever I go. My husband, Chuck, and I meet and befriend fellow Wake Forest students and alumni everywhere we go, and there is a bond that other people don’t understand. The commonality of our experiences at Wake seem to supersede other differences, especially age since we are now in our 50s.

Why are you still involved in Wake Forest Athletics?
When we were in school, athletics were a big part of our experience. I was a walk-on to the women’s tennis team my freshman year and continued to play until my junior year when my “priorities” shifted. Chuck and I both participated in the intramural sports program, first with our freshman halls, then with our respective fraternity and society (now sorority). We went with friends to all the football games, basketball games and frequented the tennis, soccer and baseball events.

Sports continue to be a big part of our lives and we love to follow Wake, though we rarely get to see the teams live since we live in New Jersey. When the opportunity came up to help sponsor a student to play tennis at Wake Forest, we jumped at it. Being involved makes us feel connected to the school and the student-athletes.

Why do you feel it is important to give back to the University?
As I mentioned earlier, we are very proud of our Wake Forest heritage. Coming from modest middle-class families, both Chuck and I feel that our lives have been so enriched through our education, our experiences and our relationships at Wake Forest. Chuck and I each “did” college differently. I was involved in tennis, student government, Strings, a local church, and tutoring athletes and students from the community; I loved meeting and knowing professors and administrators, community members and students in all capacities. Chuck was a much more conscientious student, but as he would say, “I never let school interfere with my education.” We both loved our experiences and continue to stay in touch with many of our Wake friends. Our lives have been enriched by them and our shared memories. Considering that I met my husband, realized my career path, made lifelong friends and have lived a life better than either my husband or I could have imagined, it feels natural to want to give back.

What is your current occupation?
I taught when I first graduated, then worked in New York City in the telecommunications field for a few years before we had kids. I did not work for 20 years, then started teaching platform tennis almost ten years ago. I still teach a bit but am basically retired now.

What is your favorite memory of your time at Wake Forest?
There are so many…I think that rolling the Quad after big wins is a highlight. Especially my junior year when we were invited to the Tangerine Bowl. Back in those days, we had to camp outside the gym overnight to get tickets to the basketball games, which was a unique experience. There were some amazing games from 1978-82!

What makes you most proud of Wake Forest?
I have always been proud that Wake Forest competes with the bigger schools on virtually every front, but continues to highlight the importance of the relationship between the student and the professor. I feel that the faculty as a whole was, and still is, so willing to get involved with the students, and that sets Wake apart from many other schools. It was fundamental to my success.

When you come back to Wake Forest, you always…
Go first to the Quad and walk around. The trees have died, been replaced and completely reached maturity again since I graduated. I am old! I am overwhelmed with the growth, but it continues to be a beautiful campus.

I was there when…
The only place to eat on campus was the Pit. When the “snack pit” opened, we thought we had really arrived! You could buy fast food after 6:30 p.m.! The Pit was a great place to meet people though. I actually met my husband because tennis practice ended at 6:00 p.m. and my friends went to the Pit at 5:30 p.m. Chuck and his friends went to dinner at 6:15 p.m. Long story, but I started sitting with them, became friends and, ultimately, I started dating Chuck.

Who is your favorite coach at Wake Forest, current or past?
I can’t say that I had a favorite coach. I was not a star athlete and while I interacted with and respected my tennis coach, it wasn’t a relationship that I maintained. My favorite “coaches” would have been Dr. Waddill and Dr. Gentry from the Math Department. They took the time to know me personally, encouraged me through my career search and showed me the grace that I needed as a 20-year-old woman. My life was enriched by knowing them.

(Please note: This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of Gold Rush.)