A welcome back message from President Hatch for 2015-2016

A message from President Hatch to students, faculty and staff:

Welcome to the 2015-2016 academic year. I can still remember coming to Wake Forest for the first time ten years ago. The same excitement and optimism that filled me then returns at the start of each new fall semester. From year to year, there are plans and surprises, but what I’ve come to know about this community is that it approaches challenges with great passion and careful consideration. With that in mind, let me offer three thoughts to contemplate as we begin a new year together.

I encourage you to follow your curiosity this year. Ask “What if…?” Take a course that you might not have considered at first glance. Consider and challenge the ideas of your peers. Seek out the expertise of our talented faculty. Enjoy the discussions in your classes and take advantage of the moments outside the classroom.

Even as we learn together, we serve together, investing our skills and knowledge in each other and in our community. Giving back is an important part of the Wake Forest experience. Perhaps that means you will feed others through Campus Kitchen, or maybe you will fight for a more just world through community engagement opportunities. Your service might take you across campus, across town or across the globe.

Another part of the Wake Forest experience is simply living life together. Spend a Saturday with your roommates at BB&T Field cheering on the Demon Deacons. Celebrate our victories by rolling the Quad. Meet a friend for a conversation over coffee. Exchange your favorite book recommendations. Attend the Lighting of the Quad and Lovefeast. One of the first opportunities to live life together comes today at “Arrive and Thrive” on Manchester Plaza, where we will encourage each other to seek holistic wellbeing.

Part of living life together is also contending with complex questions, engaging in tough conversations and finding our collective identity as a community. To that end, I encourage each of you to take advantage of multiple opportunities to think critically and connect meaningfully this semester on a variety of current topics.

Sept. 2: There will be a student-inspired conversation, hosted by the Pro Humanitate Institute, discussing southern iconography and the movement to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse this summer.

Sept. 9: We will examine the progress we have made as a community since our Deliberative Dialogue discussions on campus climate last year.

Oct. 20: The Leadership Project, designed to explore various approaches to leadership development, welcomes Jonathan Reckford, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity.

Oct. 23: The LGBTQ Center will sponsor Rising Voices, a conference featuring alumni speakers engaged in scholarship, arts and public policy.

Every university offers opportunities to learn, serve and live in community. What makes our campus special is our intentional approach to improving how we do this together. We are a community made up of all kinds of people, ideas, ambitions, backgrounds and futures. We learn from one another in order to make ourselves better. We serve side-by-side because we can accomplish more with our collective efforts than we could alone. We live life together because it enriches us, and we enrich others.

This year, expect to be challenged. Enjoy your success and embrace the lessons from failure. Keep your eyes open and your kindness at the ready. And at all times, remember that you are a Wake Forester.


Nathan O. Hatch