After leading Wake Forest University for 15 years, President Nathan O. Hatch announced he intends to step down at the end of the current academic year.

Nathan O. Hatch
Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch at Wake Forest University’s Hearn Plaza.

Hatch had intended to announce his 2021 retirement plans earlier this year. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March, Hatch and the Board of Trustees decided to postpone the announcement while Wake Forest addressed the immediate challenges and charted a way forward. While acknowledging there is more to be done to assure a successful conclusion to the academic year, Hatch and the Trustees felt that now is the appropriate time to make the announcement. 

“It has been the adventure of a lifetime to lead Wake Forest with you,” Hatch said. “I continue on in these next months with many of the same emotions that have driven my time at Wake Forest – excitement for what we can accomplish for our students, enthusiasm for the ways we can explore and innovate within higher education, and a strong belief in the core values that have anchored this institution, shaped our community and will see us into the future.”

Gerald R. Roach, Chair of the Board of Trustees, expressed appreciation for Hatch’s exceptional leadership. 

“President Hatch’s integrity, humility and unparalleled vision inspire our community and enhance our belief in the institution and one another,” Roach said. “His excellence allows us to heighten our sights for what is possible for Wake Forest. The next president will benefit from his steadfast dedication to the University and the broad institutional momentum he enables.”

Roach will oversee the search for the next president, which will begin immediately. If needed, Hatch said he will continue to lead Wake Forest until a new president takes office, even if that extends beyond June.

Hatch was named Wake Forest University’s 13th president on July 1, 2005. He came to Wake Forest from the University of Notre Dame, where he began his career as a history professor before moving into administration. 

Hatch’s presidency has been marked by a commitment to educating the whole person, developing leaders of character and honoring the mission of Pro Humanitate.  

Under his leadership, Wake Forest has transformed the college-to-career experience, pioneered test-optional admissions among top national universities, made strategic realignments in business and medicine and united alumni, parents and friends to support Wake Will Lead, the largest fundraising effort in the University’s history. He has combined bold initiatives with an unwavering commitment to the liberal arts and the residential college experience. 

President Hatch shared a message to the Wake Forest community here.

Additional information about President Hatch’s retirement and his impact on Wake Forest and Winston-Salem can be found here.