Susan Wente, Scientist And Academic Leader, Named Wake Forest President

Susan Wente, Scientist And Academic Leader, Named Wake Forest President

8:24am Feb 01, 2021
Dr. Susan Wente. Photo courtesy of Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University has tapped Vanderbilt’s Provost Susan Wente to be the school’s next president.

She’ll be the 14th president in Wake Forest’s history when she officially takes over July 1 and the first woman to lead the school.

Wente has a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. She began her teaching career at Washington University’s School of Medicine, where she was a faculty member from 1993 to 2002. 

At Vanderbilt, she served as a professor and chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, and later as associate vice chancellor for research and senior associate dean for biomedical sciences.

She has been at Vanderbilt since 2002, rising through the ranks to become the school’s first female provost while also serving as a vice chancellor of academic affairs.

Wente is credited with appointing Vanderbilt’s first female athletic director and creating the university’s Office of Inclusive Excellence. She also guided the university’s pandemic response.

Wake Forest’s board of trustees recently approved Wente’s appointment following the unanimous recommendation of a search committee.

She’ll join a campus where women have prominent leadership roles. That includes Julie Freischlag, CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Dean of the School of Medicine, and Chief Academic Officer of Atrium Health Enterprise, and Jane Aiken, Dean of the School of Law. 

Wente will take over the Wake Forest presidency from Nathan Hatch, who announced his retirement last year. He has served as president since 2005.

Hatch’s legacy includes the establishment of Wake Downtown and facilitating the merger between Wake Forest Baptist Health and Charlotte-based Atrium Health. 


Copyright 2021 WFDD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
Support your
public radio station