Dr. Wente’s Message to the Wake Forest Community

Greetings, Wake Forest community!

My name is Susan Wente, and I am thrilled to have accepted the invitation to be Wake Forest University’s 14th president.

Every meeting and discussion with the Search Committee, and all of my learnings about this distinctive University, showed me how special Wake Forest is, and more importantly, how passionate and how devoted the Wake Forest community is to excellence.

To be welcomed into this community is truly exciting for me and my family. My husband and I are looking forward to being immersed in such a vibrant campus. Education is a central commitment of our family. From the start, my parents instilled in me the importance of service, a strong work ethic and the power of education. As parents and educators ourselves, my husband and I have dedicated our careers to research and education, our older daughter is a teacher, and our younger daughter is a senior in college. And we have all felt the warmth and energy of Wake Forest.

Wake Forest is a place that makes a positive difference in the world. I believe that universities are the lifeblood of a civil society. They have existed across centuries — through wars, through financial upheaval and through pandemics. The call of educational institutions is to be a light in societies searching to become better; and the power of education and research is to be a force for good.

I look forward to building on the strong foundation that exists and writing the next chapter of the University’s story with you — the outstanding faculty, staff, students and alumni. Wake Forest has a history of taking bold steps as a leader in higher education. Together, with this strong foundation, we have the opportunity to envision what the next bold steps forward will be for this dynamic university.

How will we come together as a community to build a vision of our future? How will we use the power of education and research to inspire our nation? How will Wake Forest be the light in our world?

These questions will be part of my guide in the coming year as we get to know each other and begin the work of moving forward together.

I am committed to sustaining what makes Wake Forest unique — its core values, and the culture of friendliness and honor. I am equally committed to enhancing our ability to execute our mission. And I am committed to simple but profound guiding principles: trust, transparency and teamwork.

I believe that through trust, transparency and teamwork, our cohesive community will make bold decisions together that will shape our pathway forward.

For universities and for society, it is a time of change. It is a time of challenge. It is a time of opportunity for those committed to mission and to values.

It is a time for Wake Forest to shine its light even brighter.

I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to lead this distinguished community into the future.

In the coming months, I will be ending my time at Vanderbilt and preparing to join the Wake Forest community on July 1st. I have the utmost respect for President Nathan Hatch, and I admire how he has guided Wake Forest through many challenges and transitions. His leadership will be critical during these next months of his tenure. I wish him, his wife Julie, and the entire Wake Forest community good health and much success in this spring semester.

I am excited about meeting you and partnering together to advance Wake Forest’s mission in July. Until then, please take care and continue looking forward.