The Program for Leadership and Character is animated by Wake Forest’s motto, Pro Humanitate – for humanity – which calls us to develop the qualities of character that enable us to serve humanity. Because of our commitment, Wake Forest’s approach to leadership and character is distinct in several ways.

We focus on both skills and character.

At Wake Forest, we are committed to educating both intellect and character. Our program teaches students to be not just effective leaders, but also ethical leaders whose values, virtues and vision orient them toward the common good.

We combine character and community.

To educate students who will lead not only for themselves but for humanity, our program integrates individual virtues of character with community service and civic engagement.

We focus not only on heroic leaders, but also on everyday leaders.

While heroic leaders are important, they are not the only kinds of leaders. We are committed to expanding conceptions of leadership and helping all students realize their potential to be leaders, no matter what they do.

We base our program in rigorous academic research.

Thanks to The Character Project and The Beacon Project, Wake Forest has some of the world’s leading experts on how character is developed and measured. This cutting-edge academic research informs every element of our program.

Our program is inclusive and pluralistic.

Given our history and heritage, we recognize the importance of moral and religious traditions, but as a pluralistic university, we support students from a variety of backgrounds and traditions.

Our program is radically innovative and radically traditional.

We are committed to the traditional idea that strong communities need good leaders and that good leaders need strong character. But we are also innovative in how we conceptualize these leaders, knowing that what worked for previous generations might not work for millennials and Generation Z.

We draw lessons of leadership from the liberal arts.

Much of the recent leadership discourse has been confined to politics and business, but we also draw lessons from our strong tradition in the liberal arts to expand students’ moral imaginations and supply an urgency to their study of the liberal arts and sciences.


“Through our new Program for Leadership and Character, we are creating a one-of-a-kind program, informed by cutting-edge research, that inspires students to become leaders of purpose, commitment and character.” Nathan O. Hatch, President