Dear Seniors,

Congratulations! In less than two weeks, you will receive your college degrees. The entire Wake Forest community is proud of all you have accomplished, especially in these challenging times. Given how unprecedented this past year has been, we felt it only fitting to hold a one-of-a-kind Commencement celebration with the entire Class of 2021 to mark your achievements. I hope you and your guests plan to join the rest of your class as we celebrate on Truist Field on May 16 at 8:30 p.m.

Today, I am excited to share news of our distinguished commencement and baccalaureate speakers.

Our Commencement celebration includes three featured speakers who have prepared remarks to recognize your accomplishments, celebrate your resiliency during these challenging months and inspire you on your next journey. Their talks will be shared virtually at various times throughout the celebration.

  • Condoleezza Rice, director of the Hoover Institution, 66th Secretary of State, author and professor, was the first African American woman to serve as both secretary of state and national security advisor.
  • Pete Buttigieg, the United States Secretary of Transportation since February 3, 2021, and the 32nd mayor of South Bend, Indiana from 2012 through 2020.
  • Kendall Hinton, wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, elevated from the practice squad as emergency quarterback to start against the Saints in week 12 of the 2020 season; graduated in 2019 from Wake Forest where he played football as a quarterback and wide receiver.

The program includes performances by the Wake Forest University dance team, the University’s gospel and choral groups, fireworks and a traditional cap toss.

The Baccalaureate celebration will be held virtually on Saturday, May 15 at 10 a.m. Bishop Michael Curry, the 27th and current presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church, will be the speaker.

All of Wake Forest’s degree ceremonies and the Truist Field Commencement celebration are ticketed events reserved for graduates and their guests. Livestream webcasts of all events will be available throughout the day. For more information, visit

I would like to thank the students, faculty members and administrators who served on our Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee.

I wish you the best for the remainder of the spring semester, and I look forward to sharing with you and your families the excitement of commencement weekend.

Nathan O. Hatch