Courtesy of Wake Forest

University, SG presidents welcome Class of 2026 to campus

The presidents offer advice and encouragement to the incoming freshmen

August 18, 2022


Courtesy of Wake Forest

From University President Susan R Wente

To the Class of 2026,

Welcome to the Demon Deacon family. You made it! I hope your first week on campus goes well as you move in, make friends and learn more about your new community. Undoubtedly, it will take some time to get settled, but don’t worry — this time last year, I was also new on campus. I am proud to call Wake Forest home, and very soon, you will, too. 

As a professor of biology and biochemistry, I’ve spent my career studying the inner workings of living cells. At first glance under the microscope, everything appears chaotic — there are millions of molecules and chemical reactions going on every second and in every corner of every cell. But if you keep looking, studying, asking questions and inviting in different perspectives, you start to see patterns and processes, rhythm and logic.

In a similar way, Wake Forest may feel a little chaotic and frenetic right now — but this is actually what thriving looks like (And you are going to thrive here)! I assure you that amidst all the newness, excitement, activity and revelry, you will find structure and rhythm; discovery and collaboration; inclusion and belonging and that each of us forges our own pathway, we’re united by a common desire to be catalysts for good in society. 

I use those words — pathway and catalyst — very deliberately. To borrow again from my experience as a scientist, while cells are home to many different types of chemical reactions, it is the job of catalysts to accelerate and modulate those reactions. To put it as simply as possible, catalysts speed things up and lower the barriers to success. 

As your president, I view this as an apt metaphor for what you will experience at Wake Forest. As students, you will encounter many different types of catalysts on campus — a class, a club, a paper, an interaction with an advisor, counselor or professor; an assigned reading or guest lecture, a service project or study abroad experience or even a walk along one of our campus trails. These catalysts will combine over the course of your Wake Forest journey to yield your own unique pathway to discovery.

As you begin to explore campus this week, understand that everyone here — your fellow students, your teachers and your advisers — are partners in your individual pathway. And in your own unique way, you will be a catalyst for others too. 

Again, my warmest welcome to Wake Forest. We can’t wait to see what you discover, and we will be with you on every step of your pathway. 



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Courtesy of SJ Willis

From Student Body President Pilar Agudelo

Dear Class of ‘26

Welcome to Winston-Salem, also known as Deactown! My name is Pilar Agudelo, and I am your student body president for the 2022-23 school year. Three years ago, I arrived at Wake Forest for the first time as a new student. But far before then, I had called Winston-Salem home. This is a place where I spent my summers, attending soccer camps and enjoying Lexington-style barbeque (FYI, I highly recommend Real Q). Winston-Salem was home for a long time before I arrived here in 2019. I am certain it will also soon feel like home for you. 

There is no easy tip or hack to college, and each of our experiences are vastly different. However, one thing remains the same: none of us are alone in this experience, even if we may sometimes feel this way. 

You will come to meet new people on this journey, other students, staff and faculty. They will help make this place your home; sometimes, they will push you to grow, and other times, they will laugh and cry alongside you. College is not easy. It’s many things, but easy is not one of them. It’s a period of growth and change, and with that comes challenges. But Wake Forest is unique in that it truly strives to provide a supportive environment for its students. 

This is not to say that Wake Forest, like every university, does not have its unique challenges. We are known as “Work Forest” for a reason. Over the coming weeks, you will engage in countless events, activities, and more, and you will likely want to be part of it all for fear of missing out. You may not attend every sports game or each Pit dinner, but the opportunities here are endless, and prioritizing yourself pays off in the long run. If you have had a long day, skip that late-night event and get some sleep. Despite what some may say about college dorms, the beds here can be quite comfortable.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out for help. There is no shame in caring for each other. While asking for it may be the greatest challenge of being an “independent college student,” the reward of support is far more valuable. 

In all sincerity, Wake Forest has been both a place of love and of frustration for me. No one is perfect, and neither is Wake Forest, but you will find the people who will become your circle, and be patient, as it may take some time. In the meantime, I can promise one thing: I am here to support you all — yes, all 1500-something of you. And there are countless others here to do the same. 

Even though you may not remember all of my advice in the coming days, I hope that this has provided some comfort and reassurance that this is your place— your home. 

I wholeheartedly welcome the Wake Forest Class of 2026, and I cannot wait to meet and see you all. Come find me most of the time in Benson 304 along with all of our amazing Student Government representatives. To all the sports games, events, meetings, classes, and more. 

Welcome to college. It’s about to be a good one. 


Pilar Agudelo

Your Student Body President

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