Wente addresses sophomores

The 14th President of Wake Forest spoke to second-years at an FDOC cookout Monday


Emily Toro, Staff Writer

“Hi, welcome. I’m the new president. I bought the hotdogs for you,” new Wake Forest President Susan R. Wente said to a group of students at the Sophomore Welcome Back Cookout this past Monday. She later admitted she was joking about bringing the hotdogs, though this was something she would have likely done given the opportunity. 

The food, music and giveaways enticed students of the class of 2024 to attend the cookout on Davis field, but many seemed more intrigued by Wente’s presence. She dropped by the event at around 5:30 p.m.

Dean of Students Dr. Adam Goldstein was also in attendance. He described Wente as an “authentic” person and commended her honesty in all her interactions, especially those with students. 

Wente certainly seemed to bring her authentic self to the cookout on Monday night as she addressed every group of students sitting underneath the Davis field tents. She approached picnic tables not only to introduce herself, but also to inquire about the students’ first days of classes. She seemed keen to hear about the students’ experiences, especially in light of the fact that many had not sat through a live class in months.

“I want to let you sophomores know that you are very special . . . I thought about you a lot as we came back for the semester and thought about how you’ve had the most unusual of experiences,” Wente said. “We’re going to look back and look forward from here. We’ve learned so much about each other and we’re going to take care of each other.”

President Wente, eager to find out who had a challenging or dreadful day and who was excited about an intriguing class, asked students about their schedules and other interests. She also took time to highlight the noteworthy aspects of Wake Forest’s liberal arts education and explained her own educational background. She shared with students about how she majored and later received a doctorate in biochemistry, but wishes she had the opportunity to engage in more humanities classes.

Through interacting with students and walking the campus, the newly appointed president quickly recognized the significant presence of the forest’s motto, Pro Humanitate, noting the sense of community the university fosters.

“I’ve lived on college campuses for years,” Wente said. “But what has been most exciting to me is the fact that everyone really loves this place and wants to be connected to one another.”

Overall, Wente plans to leave a lasting impression on the university.

“My time here has been wonderful [so far],” Wente said. “When I retire, I want to leave the place better than I found it.”