Susan Wente

Dear friends,

In 2034, we will celebrate the bicentennial of Wake Forest University. To prepare for this historic milestone, our community engaged in a University-wide strategic framing process to reflect on our institution’s history, mission, and values, as well as to outline our collective hopes for the future. It will be unsurprising to learn that themes of “leadership, character, and integrity” emerged over and over again as an institutional priority in strategic framework community dialogues, working groups, and public forums during the past year.  

The Program for Leadership and Character is central to elevating our institution’s commitment to leadership, character, and integrity. Recent strategic framing efforts have also revealed the pervasiveness of these values and commitments throughout the University. As we move toward the University’s bicentennial, I encourage you to look for – and share with us – stories that capture Wake Forest’s distinctive commitment to educating the whole person. I hope you are as energized as I am by some such stories from this Program.

The growing influence of the Program for Leadership and Character is nothing short of inspiring. In the last five years, the Program has grown from a small but significant effort focused on undergraduates to one that touches nearly every department and school across the University. The Program and its leaders are also increasingly involved in efforts and initiatives beyond Wake Forest. In particular, the launch of the new Educating Character Initiative is enabling Wake Forest to become a national hub of learning and development for other colleges and universities as they seek to integrate character into their curricula and culture. This expansion is responsive to the call of our motto Pro Humanitate, which challenges all of us to be a catalyst for good in the world.

The extraordinary growth and impact of the Program in recent years is no accident, of course. The work of the Program would not be possible without the strong investment and insight of our supporters. From students, parents and alumni who have experienced first-hand the Program’s transformative potential to national foundations and higher education leaders who see the Program as a willing partner for reshaping higher education, many individuals and institutions have advanced our University’s mission to serve humanity.

Thank you for contributing to this inspiring and transformative work.


Susan R. Wente, Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor of Biology and Biochemistry
Wake Forest University