Dear Wake Forest students, faculty and staff,

Today as we launch this new semester, I share my warmest welcome to all who are returning or arriving for the first time to our campuses — whether in Winston-Salem; Charlotte; Washington, D.C; London; Venice; Vienna or elsewhere. I hope you each found time during the winter break to engage in what is most meaningful to you. I especially enjoyed spending time with family and friends and recharging, as well as cheering on our Demon Deacons as we won the Gasparilla Bowl and seeing basketball season kick into gear.

With the first day of classes, there will be new projects, new assignments and reading lists, and perhaps new challenges — but also new opportunities to learn from each other, to gain and discover new knowledge, to make new friends, and to collaborate in building our campus community. 

I’m looking forward to many things this semester, including the launch of the second phase of our University Strategic Framework process. Phase One, conducted over the fall semester, helped us articulate the who, what and why of Wake Forest. Phase two is about defining the how — that is, how we take action toward who Wake Forest will become. You can read more about Phase Two in my recent blog post. There is also one more “w” that I want you to remember: “we.” Your continued input into the Strategic Framework process is essential because the questions of who, what, why and how can only be answered by the we of Wake Forest. 

Over the next few weeks, I hope to see many of you at the 22nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. keynote address in Wait Chapel on January 16, which is part of a day of collaboration with Winston-Salem State University to honor the legacy of Dr. King. And on January 17, I will be in Charlotte to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for The Pearl innovation district and Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s second campus. It is exciting to partner in these efforts as the academic core of the newly formed Advocate Health and expand our capacity to address the pressing healthcare challenges of today through excellence in education and research. 

In February, we will hold our annual Founders Day event on the 16th, followed that week by the opening of “Stephen Towns: Declaration and Resistance” at the Reynolda House and Museum. From plays and recitals, to exhibits, panels and workshops, to athletics events and our Face to Face speaker series, there is such incredible depth to our community life. I encourage all of you to embrace these events and moments throughout the semester as opportunities for deeper engagement and learning – and gaining a deeper sense of what it means to be Wake Foresters. 


Susan R. Wente, Ph.D.

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