Dr. Wente delivers first Presidential Address

On November 19, 2021, Dr. Susan R. Wente delivered her first presidential address as the 14th president of Wake Forest University. In her remarks, she shared about her journey of discovery, engagement and initial observations. Watch the video or read the text of the speech below the video.
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Categories: Speeches

Leading with Trust, Transparency and Teamwork

From Wente's Desk logoSince my sophomore year in college, and up until 4 months ago, I was leading or part of a research laboratory. From these experiences, I naturally find familiarity in complex questions; and given the trial and error nature of doing experiments, I’m not easily shaken when a solution doesn’t work and we have to search for another possibility. I also know the exhilarating feeling of coming across an unexpected discovery that opens up new opportunities.

I remember a time as a junior faculty member when we had a set of lab results that just didn’t make sense. We shared the results at national meetings and through our networks to see if others might provide insight. Finally, a colleague at another university suggested I send samples of our materials to them to do a special test. Packaging the materials up to ship away, I was glad to have their trusted partnership. The test revealed a surprising answer — our results didn’t make sense because our genetic strategy had uncovered an enzyme pathway, which we couldn’t have realized until our colleagues conducted a precise biochemical test. What we discovered generated a new field of research with multiple unexpected impacts on biology and medicine. It was an incredibly exciting and proud moment, and teamwork and trust were the keys.

My experiences in research seeded critical aspects of my leadership philosophy. What was most important to creating productive environments? What slowed progress or led us down a dead end? From my various roles and responsibilities both in and out of the lab, I realized that a thriving organization must have trust, transparency and teamwork. Read More »

Categories: From Wente's Desk

A University Council to Support Diversity and Inclusion Progress

From Wente's Desk logoSince arriving at Wake Forest, I have heard the community’s call for us to better promote an inclusive learning and working environment for all who wish to make our campus their academic and professional home. Similar calls to address diversity, equity and inclusion challenges are happening on university campuses across the country and throughout society. For Wake Forest, a critical question facing us is: How do we ensure continued, thoughtful progress?

As leaders in higher education, I view this work as essential to our broader commitment of preparing our students for the world they will enter and the realities that await them — a world that is dependent on future generations laying bare divisive, complex and intersectional problems in search of solutions. Read More »

Categories: From Wente's Desk

Reflecting on Recent Campus and Community Events

Recent events on and near campus, including concerns about sexual assault policies, instances of racial profiling and a shooting at a high school near campus have caused unease in the Wake Forest ...

Categories: Presidential News

An Update on Remembering and Honoring

On August 10, President Susan R. Wente shared her institutional commitment to promoting and sustaining a sense of belonging and inclusivity. Moving forward with this work, the Office of Diversity ...

Categories: Presidential News


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