A Farewell Message from President and Mrs. Hatch

Dear Wake Forest community,

For 16 years, we have had the pleasure of serving Wake Forest University beside you. What we have achieved together in the last decade and a half has taken the best of all of us in this community, and we have realized the joy of accomplishment as we have moved the University forward together. Wake Forest is an ever-evolving learning community, and we are excited for its future as new leaders take up the worthy effort to expand its reach, open its doors and become a more welcoming place for all.

We are here to educate leaders of character for the next generation. Our primary mission lies in the potential and future of students, and it has been a great privilege to know so many throughout the years. We have enjoyed book clubs at the Garage, Calls to Conversation around our dining room table, President’s Balls and hearing about first-year students’ experience during the pandemic while sitting around the fire pits on Manchester Plaza. Relationships with students are at the core of the college experience, and we will treasure the many students who spent their years at Wake Forest working beside us to make this a wonderful community.

Commencement is one of the best days at Wake Forest. Year after year, I watched as faculty members were overjoyed celebrating the accomplishments of our students. The lifeblood of a university is the faculty, and here at Wake Forest, we have some remarkable faculty members. Excellence and creativity have always had a human face at Wake Forest, and brilliance continues to be linked to a powerful commitment to students.

During the pandemic, we witnessed the lengths that our staff goes to provide a meaningful home and experience for our students and community. What they did to keep Wake Forest running was monumental. But even before the pandemic struck, we knew the great dedication of Wake Forest staff. We are a better community because of those who have invested their professional careers here, those who serve with humility and excellence, and those who have been a constant support to the students and educational mission of Wake Forest.

One of our favorite traditions was to meet and shake hands with any parents and families that wanted to meet us on move-in day. It was a delight being introduced to the parents of our students. We have appreciated the commitment and engagement of our parents, and it has been a joy to welcome them as part of the Wake Forest family.

We have also felt the great support of the University Trustees. It is the commitment and generosity of Trustees, most of whom are not educators, that allows so much of American higher education to thrive. We have been privileged to work with talented and committed trustees. Good trustees ask tough questions, demand high performance, sustain institutional ambition, offer insight and advice, and provide financial resources that allow our institutions to thrive. We are so grateful for the way Wake Forest Trustees have pulled together – like a rowing team catching the rhythm of swing – in order to advance this institution.

Ultimately, the proof of the impact Wake Forest has on the world is through the lives of our alumni. We are so proud of the thousands of graduates who are leading and serving in their careers and communities. Using their talents and gifts, they are truly making a difference for humanity. We have been humbled to watch and cheer on our alumni as they serve those around them in the spirit of Pro Humanitate.

The last 16 years were possible because of all of you. Any achievements we have realized were done together. Any accomplishments we can boast are because of all of us. Any success we celebrate deserves the credit of this entire community.

On our last day, we leave Wake Forest two profoundly grateful people. You have enriched our lives immensely, and because of you, we leave this presidency better people than when we came. Because of you, and in your company, truly our cup does run over.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

With deep gratitude,

Nathan and Julie Hatch

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