An update on Wake Forest activities

Letter to the campus community regarding news and progress around the campus

Dear faculty and staff members:

As we look forward to students’ return to campus, I wanted to summarize for you some of the improvements and changes on and near campus, as well as the academic initiatives and other programs that will help make this a great year for Wake Forest.

New Buildings and other Campus Improvements

  • Some of the most obvious changes have to do with eating spaces. The construction fences around Benson have been pulled down to reveal a new Shorty’s with both indoor and outdoor dining. It will soon be expanding its hours to include breakfast and dinner in addition to lunch. I have had several lunches there myself this summer and I think you will find the new space an attractive gathering place. You will also see big changes in the Benson Food Court, which has been thoroughly renovated and now will feature a Tex-Mex venue called Zoca’s; Chick-fil-A; World’s Fare with alternating ethnic cuisines; Grab & Go for quick convenience foods, and Energy Zone offering a variety of smoothies and shakes. I think you will enjoy the new seating and décor — and the new eating options. Finally, be sure to explore the completely renovated Magnolia Room in Reynolda Hall.
  • New Dorm

  • Construction is well underway on the new freshman dorm on the south side of campus, which is scheduled to open in Fall 2010. An open design process helped us to make sure this new building will have many of the features that will enhance residence hall life for first-year students and contribute to the residential experience of the whole campus.
  • New Business Building

  • Our Schools of Business are also undergoing changes, which will include building spaces as well. Last year, as you know, the Calloway and Babcock Schools were integrated in order to provide students with the best programs and the most choices in business education. As part of uniting the two business faculties, you will see new spaces emerging in the Worrell Center and the IS Building, where both Calloway and Babcock faculties will have their offices. These are the first steps in a set of changes that will enhance these spaces to create greater opportunities for courses, space to interact in study groups, and lively new gathering areas.
  • Admissions BuildingBy early 2010 construction will begin on the new Admissions and Welcome Center, which will be located beside Starling Hall. We hope to have the building completed by December 2010.
  • Not too far away from campus, along Deacon Boulevard, you will see a set of new businesses that have been located there with students especially in mind. This is part of a long-term redevelopment program for the area, which Wake Forest has been leading, intended to bring new restaurants, shops, and entertainment-oriented businesses and spaces to the neighborhood. Open for business now are two new casual restaurants and a new party and event space. Student recommendations have been important to helping us envision what kinds of new businesses and atmosphere would be most appealing to our campus community and we would appreciate your feedback as well.
  • Finally, be sure to stop by the new student art gallery, START, in Reynolda Village where Wake Forest student art will now have display space. The initial exhibition is open now, with a new show planned to open in mid-September. In addition to art shows, the new gallery will also be a sales site for student art, a place for music and poetry events, and an extension of the classroom for viewing and critiques.

New Resources for Career Services and Development

One of the most exciting new developments coming out of the University’s strategic plan is the enhancement of career development programs. This summer, we hired Andy Chan as Wake Forest’s first Vice President for Career Development. Andy comes to us from Stanford University, where he was assistant dean and director of the MBA Career Management Center at the Graduate School of Business. At Wake Forest, Andy will oversee undergraduate career development, serve as a liaison with the career offices of our graduate and professional schools, and help to build new mentoring networks between students and alumni. He will also help to build even stronger mentoring programs within the university, and will participate in building new links between academic and student affairs. We also welcome a new Director of Career Services Ladd Flock, who comes to Wake Forest from the University of Virginia. I know that both Andy and Ladd are excited to be here, and I encourage you to get to know both of them.

New Advising Office

The new Office of Academic Advising in the College, also a result of our strategic planning efforts, will help students better negotiate, explore and use the academic advising resources available to them. We see this as one of the most critically important responsibilities of the College — to provide students with high-quality advising that leads to academic success and creative mentoring, and when needed, helps to assure that no student will ever “fall through the cracks.” The new office will be led by Associate Dean Perry Patterson (professor of economics and former chair of Lower Division Advising), and is located on the first floor of Reynolda Hall.

New Investment Officer

We also welcome a new Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Jim Dunn, who will manage the university’s endowment funds and other financial assets from the Reynolda Campus, Wake Forest Health Sciences, and Reynolda House. Jim succeeds Lou Morrell, who had served Wake Forest since 1995 and retired on June 30. Most recently Jim has been a managing director for Santa Monica, CA, based Wilshire Associates, Inc., and chief investment officer and portfolio manager for Wilshire Funds Management. Jim assumed his new duties on July 1.

Special Events to Note

While life quickly becomes busy as classes resume, I encourage you to take advantage of the lectures, plays, conferences, and other events on campus. There are far more events taking place on campus than any of us have time to attend, but let me note a few that may hold special interest:

  • On September 17, Opening Convocation will take place in Wait Chapel, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Law Professor Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) will be the featured speaker, during which we will honor the University’s commitment to service by recognizing the service contributions of many in our community. Following Convocation we will gather on Hearn Plaza for a picnic dinner (which you may recall from last year) for a time of celebration and fun.
  • On October 1, our annual Voices of our Time speaker series kicks off with a talk by Harvard University Professor of Government and former dean of the Kennedy School of Government Graham Allison, who has been a leading figure and analyst of U.S. national security and defense policy, with a particular expertise in nuclear weapons, proliferation and terrorism. His appearance is especially timely, with almost-daily news and worldwide focus on these issues.
  • In February 2010, Wake Forest will host a major conference on energy policies, which will feature high-profile speakers of national and international renown addressing topics and issues such as climate change, traditional and alternate energy sources, the economics of energy, emerging technologies, dependence on foreign supplies, entrepreneurship opportunities, and transportation. World-renowned author and journalist Thomas Friedman has accepted our invitation to deliver the keynote address. You will hear much more about this major event in the weeks ahead.
  • Another wide set of activities, both on and off campus, have been organized under the “Wake the Weekends” umbrella. This initiative is part of our on-going plans to create an exciting recreational atmosphere on campus for students, as well as to introduce new life and options into some of our long-standing activities. Activities for Fall semester alone will include “open mic” nights at Shorty’s, Cinema under the Stars at Reynolda House, films, concerts, a world cultural festival with ethnic foods and performances, and many events and activities associated with football season.
  • Various events this coming year will also note Wake Forest’s 175th Anniversary, including a celebration during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend (Oct. 9-10).

I will be pleased to see the campus once again alive with the energy, activity and creativity of our students! I thank you for the commitment each of you make each day to support the important work of Wake Forest University.


Nathan O. Hatch

Categories: Letters


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