"President Nathan O. Hatch" Archive

Expanding the Narrative of Wake Forest: Update on the Advisory Committee on Naming

University President Nathan O. Hatch shared the following message with the Wake Forest community on March 22. 

Dear Wake Forest community,

Over the course of the last several years, our community has taken important steps to illuminate our history, address our present and reaffirm our commitments for the future. The work of the Slavery, Race and Memory Project as well as the efforts of the members of the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community have led our progress.

As part of this important work, I created the Advisory Committee on Naming in the summer of 2020 to examine how we use names to identify, recognize and celebrate on the Reynolda Campus. Co-chaired by Dean Jonathan Lee Walton and Trustee Donna Boswell (’72, MA ’74), this committee is made up of University Trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni. It is the charge of this committee to affirm a set of principles and decision rubrics for contextualizing sites and elements of honor at Wake Forest. Read more

Leadership and Character conference to explore character in the professions

Poster for the "Character and the Professions" conference March 18-20, 2021 with the text "A virtual conference hosted by Wake Forest University and the Oxford Character Project" and the title "The Program for Leadership and Character" and the seven-pointed star logo

Leading scholars will join physicians, attorneys, religious leaders, government leaders, engineers, educators, business executives and other professionals to explore the role of character in the professions at a three-day virtual conference.

“Character and the Professions,” hosted by the Program for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University and the Oxford Character Project at the University of Oxford, will be held Thursday, March 18 through Saturday, March 20.

In partnership with the Face to Face Speaker Forum, the conference will feature an opening keynote session with former U.S. Secretaries of State, Madeleine K. Albright (1997-2001) and General Colin L. Powell (Ret.) (2001-2005), who will discuss leadership and character in public life. This virtual session will be held Thursday, March 18, at 7 p.m. and moderated by President Nathan Hatch. The conversation is a preview to Albright and Powell’s re-scheduled in-person event on Nov. 9 at Wake Forest.

In addition to prominent scholars from around the world, conference speakers will include former U.S. Representative Donna Edwards, General Electric CEO Larry Culp, former CEO of Catholic Relief Services Caroline Woo and many others across various professional fields.

Wake Forest School of Divinity Dean Jonathan L. Walton will deliver the March 19 keynote address on “Character and Religious Leadership.”

The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Visit Wake Forest News for more information about the Character and the Professions conference and the Nov. 9 Face to Face Speaker Forum event.

COVID-19 update from President Hatch

President Hatch sent the following email to students, faculty and staff on April 30:

Dear Wake Forest community,

Today, as I update you on important matters at Wake Forest, I again want to express my gratitude for your flexibility and patience as we adapt to the changing circumstances related to the COVID-19 crisis. We have experienced a great disruption in the ways our community engages, and I appreciate your effort and resilience. We will have more challenges ahead, and I am confident we will continue to confront them with a spirit of unity and hope.

For now, I want to share more information and details about several specific topics.

Structured Move Out of Undergraduate Residence Halls

We are moving toward a highly structured, phased move out starting the week of May 11th. Please note, there will be a robust set of expectations associated with this process. These expectations are meant to prioritize student and family safety and the safety of our campus community. Individuals who meet certain conditions should not return to campus. Students and families should NOT travel to the Winston-Salem campus to retrieve personal belongings unless approved to do so by the Office of Residence Life and Housing.

If the public health guidance changes, we will have to adapt our plans for the safety of all involved. Because of this, there is a possibility that our move-out plans could change quickly, which could mean postponing or canceling move-out appointments. We share this so you can make an informed decision about your travel plans to Winston-Salem. In the event move-out appointments are canceled, the University will pack and store student belongings.

For students and families who are unable or choose not to come back to campus to move out, the University will provide access to options for pack-and-store or pack-and-ship.

For additional details on our move-out process, including an informational video, please visit go.wfu.edu/s20moveout.

Virtual Conferring of Degrees

As you know, out of necessity, this year’s commencement will look different than our traditional commencement festivities. We will have two parts to our celebration of the Class of 2020. A virtual conferring of degrees for our undergraduate and graduate students will take place on Monday, May 18 at 7 p.m. (EST). The entire Wake Forest community is invited to be part of this celebration and will be able to participate at go.wfu.edu/wfugrad20. Some schools and departments may plan complementary virtual events to celebrate graduates.


As we started planning an in-person commencement celebration, we benefited from the input of our graduates. The desire for community — to be reunited with your friends and your class — was overwhelmingly clear. While each graduate school will conduct its own hooding ceremony, the undergraduate and graduate school commencement will take place outside on Hearn Plaza, weather and public health conditions permitting.

Our plans to celebrate the Class of 2020 are as follows:

  • Commencement for the Class of 2020 will take place on Saturday, October 31 at 1 p.m. (EST).
  • Graduate and professional school hooding ceremonies will also be held during that weekend. Details are forthcoming from each program and school.
  • Should public health concerns prevent us from gathering in large groups on October 31, our alternate commencement date will be Saturday, May 22, 2021.
  • Additional information, ticket distribution, registration and a schedule of events will be updated frequently. Please visit wfu.edu for the latest information.

Read more

The Days Ahead: Uncertainty and Confidence

President Hatch emailed the following message to students, faculty and staff on April 14:

Dear Wake Forest community,

I am writing to you today to share my thoughts on the days ahead. I want to be realistic about the pain and uncertainty that all of us feel. I want to share my profound appreciation for all that is being done in the face of daunting challenges. And I want to express my unwavering confidence in our future.

A month ago, when we were still working in Reynolda Hall – with social distancing – I encountered a colleague in the hall and blurted out, “Welcome to a new year.” We had entered, it seemed, a whole new dimension of time.

That shock has only continued. I don’t underestimate for a moment what each of you and your families are going through. The stress, the disappointment, the uncertainty almost take our breath away. There are good reasons why we feel so deeply.

Some in our community have actually contracted COVID-19 – with its pain, its very real threat and its forced isolation. Many have watched loved ones and friends endure this trauma. And still others have had to be isolated and quarantined because of potential exposure. All of us fret about any unexpected contact.

Like so many around the globe who are selflessly dedicated to those they serve, our doctors, nurses and staff at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are working under acute stress. Their lives disrupted and their days precarious, they are the true heroes of the moment.

This pandemic struck at an unparalleled pace – like a bolt out of the blue. On the Friday that spring break began, I remember a budget meeting when everything seemed normal. By Monday, three days later, we were in full crisis mode, with meeting upon meeting. Another 48 hours and we had come to the difficult decision of asking students to stay home and faculty to teach remotely. With little time, and no real applicable experiences, we moved forward in lock-step with our public health advisors.

We are also exiled in our own homes. Unlike crises of the past – World War II, the 9/11 attacks or the financial meltdown of 2008-09 – we cannot physically come together to face the crisis and build solidarity. Zoom and WebEx do provide amazing platforms for communication. But even at their best, they do not allow the deep satisfaction of being together – rigorous back-and-forth in the classroom, banter in the hallway, engagement with dozens of friends and colleagues each day, taking note of a colleague who is downcast, celebrating a birthday. I miss terribly a regular Saturday morning basketball game where the quality of teasing and “trash talk” – out of friendship – far exceeds the quality of play. We miss all the occasions of connection that provide meaning, purpose and joy to our lives.

Our professional lives have been radically reordered. Many research labs remain dark, art studios empty, internships postponed and practice fields vacant. Faculty have worked with enormous energy and creativity to teach courses remotely, and students have embraced this new medium with grit and goodwill. All of that determination, on both parts, doesn’t alter the deep sense of loss of the kind of interpersonal exchange in classrooms and faculty offices that is a hallmark of Wake Forest.

Families also face new levels of stress. For some, that involves the challenges of unexpected home schooling of younger children. For other households, it means finding appropriate privacy – and bandwidth – for your own work and that of high school or college students.

Read more

Categories: Inside WFU

Wake Forest recognized for exemplary personal, career development

Wake Forest has been awarded the 2020 National Career Development Association’s (NCDA) Exemplary Career Center Program Award. The award recognizes a career center program for their commitment to thoughtful, innovative and effective initiatives that support career development.

Under the vision of President Nathan Hatch and leadership of Vice President, Innovation and Career Development Andy Chan, the University has become the national model for creating a college-to-career community designed to help students prepare for a lifelong career journey, not just a first job after college.

After 2008 during the Great Recession, when many colleges and universities cut funds for career development, Wake Forest invested. Under Chan’s direction, the University’s new Office of Personal and Career Development set out to prepare students to launch careers in less than ideal economic conditions.

“Though students often have a career and life vision, we know that over a person’s lifetime crises happen that may involve job insecurity. Our most important work in career development is to prepare students for whatever economic environment they may face,” Chan says. “It’s easy to get a job in a good economy when the wind is behind your sails, but sometimes the wind changes direction.”

The entire story is available here.

Categories: Inside WFU