Nathan O. Hatch was formally inaugurated as the 13th President of Wake Forest University on Oct. 20, 2005. He was invested with the Collar of State by Trustee Murray Greason (’59, JD ’62) and Provost Emeritus Dr. Edwin G. Wilson (’43).
Commitment to Faculty-Student Engagement
It is reported that when undergraduates have a mentor, they are twice as likely to thrive after college. One of the ways Wake Forest promotes this idea is through mentored research opportunities – where students and faculty collaborate on research and present their work on Undergraduate Research Day.
One of Dr. Hatch’s hallmarks as a leader is building strong teams. In 2009, Andy Chan joined the President’s Cabinet and has transformed the Office of Personal and Career Development into a place where students – from their first day on campus – are guided not just to their first jobs but to purposeful careers.
Wake Forest extended its footprint beyond Winston-Salem with the opening of a 30,000-square-foot center in Uptown Charlotte that houses part-time MBA education, certificate programs and summer immersion experiences for high school students.
Celebrating “Faces of Courage”
Dr. Hatch led Wake Forest’s efforts to mark the 50th anniversary of integration in 2012. He welcomes Ed Reynolds (’64), the first black student, back to campus in the signature event of the Faces of Courage project, held on Sept. 20, 2012. Reynolds, a native of Ghana, made Wake Forest the first major private university in the South to desegregate, and he became a distinguished history professor in California.
Create, Educate and Inspire
Wake Forest launched Wake Will: The Campaign for Wake Forest, on Oct. 17, 2013, with an original goal of $600 million for the Reynolda Campus. The effort gains such momentum that it meets the original goal two years ahead of schedule, in 2016. Sensing the opportunity for further impact, Dr. Hatch announces an extension to 2020 and a new target of $1 billion.
Under Dr. Hatch’s direction, Wake Forest created The Leadership Project in part to engage the campus community with inspiring stories of leaders from diverse professional paths, generations and diverse worldviews. The initiative welcomed its first guest, acclaimed football coach and philanthropist Tony Dungy, on March 26, 2014. Other speakers have included Charles Best, CEO of DonorsChoose.org, former U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (’80) and NBA star and philanthropist Chris Paul (’07).
Known as an accessible leader, Dr. Hatch regularly meets with student leaders and has created a President’s Fellowship that invites recent graduates to extend their Wake Forest experience by working alongside a University administrator for a year.
Meeting for the First Time
Move-In Day is a major moment for new students and their families. On Aug. 21, 2015, the president of one of the nation’s foremost universities answered questions from incoming students for more than an hour in an undeniably unique venue.
Dr. Hatch and his wife, Julie, sang a hymn at Wake Forest’s 50th annual Lovefeast, North America’s largest gathering of the Moravian tradition, on Dec. 7, 2014. Nearly 10,000 people participated in the event either in person, via live webcam broadcast or by holding their own Lovefeast with kits mailed to them.
Wake Forest seized an opportunity to convert tobacco warehouses into new biomedical classrooms and labs, which opened to students under the name Wake Downtown on Jan. 11, 2017. Along with the new space came forward-looking degree programs and nationally distinctive academic collaboration between undergraduates and medical students. In addition to the biomedical offerings, Wake Forest College creates a new engineering program with a liberal arts backbone.
Wake Forest opened its academic program, now known as Wake Washington, in the nation’s capital. The newly leased space on Dupont Circle opened during the Fall 2017 semester. Students take classes with a faculty member and work four days a week in internships throughout the city.