Irene Picconi has been with Wake Forest for 20 years, spending 15 of those years as Administrative Coordinator in the departments of French Studies and Spanish & Italian (formerly Romance Languages). 

How has Wake changed since you started? 

The campus as a whole has grown so much with increased enrollment and all of the new buildings.  When I started in Romance Languages, we had about 30 professors and now that number has increased to nearly 50.

What have you enjoyed most while working at Wake? 

I enjoyed interacting with faculty, staff, and students. The feeling of being a part of a dedicated community of professionals, while enabling students to become the best version of themselves before venturing off to their careers, has made me appreciate going to work each day.

Tell us about a favorite interaction with a student or faculty member. 

A few years back, I met a freshman who was going through some tough times. Throughout the years, I became a friend and mentor to him. As graduation approached, he asked me to attend his graduation. Of course, I agreed. It was a rainy day and after the commencement, we headed to Reynolda Hall. When he opened the door, the small awning above dumped a large amount of water right onto our heads. We were completely drenched! We could do nothing but stand there and laugh. Memories like this are why I will fondly look back on my time at Wake Forest.

What is a fun fact about yourself that would surprise students to hear?  

Years ago when I was a stay at home mom, a friend who worked as a clown needed someone for a corporate event. I was very reluctant, but that is when Buttons the Clown was born. I learned to make balloon animals, face painting, and magic tricks within a week. I continued clowning for nearly two years.

What activities do you plan to enjoy when your retirement begins?

I would like to do some traveling, spend more time with my grandkids, and take painting classes. I will also be working on “Marie Kondo-ing” my house.

Irene Picconi

Irene Picconi