Our Motto

Wake Forest University’s commitment to academic excellence; embrace of a relational and inclusive campus community; and partnerships in Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Washington, D.C. and around the world are all in service of our motto: Pro Humanitate. Translated as “For Humanity,” Pro Humanitate calls upon the entire University community to engage in the fundamental questions about what it means to be human. It invites us to use our ideas, knowledge, talents and compassion on behalf of humanity in all its difference and diversity — in short, to be catalysts for good.

What does Pro Humanitate mean to you?

In their own words, Wake Foresters share the meaning of our motto.

Share your story

Pro Humanitate is for everyone.

That’s the whole idea. No matter the size or scope of the act, placing the needs of others before our own is a tradition Unrivaled by Any. We hope you’ll add #OurMottoMeansMore to your posts celebrating Pro Humanitate. We’d love to hear from you.

It’s in the way we learn.

Hands-on research makes a real-world difference

The undergraduates and faculty mentors collaborating on these studies are just three examples of the more than 50 research projects funded during the summer of 2023 by Wake Forest’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Center (URECA).

Learn more about URECA and student-faculty research projects

Into the Wild of Peru

Students and faculty travel to Peru to witness, document and communicate the devastating consequences of deforestation and the global importance of the Peruvian Amazon.

See how immersive learning could help save the Amazon

Anthropology Adventure

Hex Li (’22) researched and curated an exhibit at Wake Forest based on how she and some of her fellow Chinese students define and create a sense of belonging.

Explore a student exhibit about belonging and identity

Medical Students Learn about Leadership and Character

Dr. Marcia Wofford used some of the Program’s seven strategies in her orientation for first-year students. Now, it’s leading to bigger changes at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Read more about Dr. Wofford’s work

Call to Conversation

Personal engagement is a cornerstone of the Wake Forest experience and the mission of Pro Humanitate. The Call to Conversation program brought Wake Foresters from across the globe together for candid exchange in order to achieve perspective and understanding. It is a tradition that continues to this day.

See what our students had to say

To me, it simply means ‘for the people.’ It means being a part of a community with people, thinking about what they need, and creating ideas and answers to meet those needs. That’s Pro Humanitate.

Damisha Moore (MDiv ’25)

Master of Divinity student

It’s in the way we teach.

Good done anywhere is good done everywhere.

Maya Angelou (LLD ’77)

Poet, actress, author, civil rights activist and Wake Forest professor

Dr. Maya Angelou’s legacy reaches far and wide. The impact of her life’s work echoes throughout Wake Forest University, from scholarships to curricula to a residence hall that bears her name. The inspiration she has provided for so many through her strength, vision and talent is an example of Pro Humanitate cherished by many.

Walk with Wente

To celebrate our community of inquiry, President Wente invites faculty members to share their contributions and insights with the Wake Forest community.

Watch the Walk with Wente video series

Expanding the Science of Honesty

“Honesty promotes trust, shows respect and prevents harm,” says philosophy professor Christian Miller. “Especially in today’s world, whatever we can do to better understand and ultimately foster the virtue of honesty seems incredibly worthwhile.”

Read about the Honesty Project

The Redemption of Private Brown

After seven decades, the Wake Forest University Veterans Legal Clinic joins the fight to help a soldier clear his name.

See how Wake Forest Law puts Pro Humanitate in action

How to Think About the Planet

Teacher-scholars are posing research questions for their students and guiding them to deeply consider their relationship with the natural world.

Read how research-centered classes explore humanity and the environment

Leadership & Character

Thanks to the Program for Leadership and Character, the Character Project and the Honesty Project, Wake Forest has some of the world’s leading experts on how character is developed and measured. We draw on this cutting-edge academic research to inform every element of our program and measure its impact on our students.

Read about the Program for Leadership and Character

Our shared vision of Wake Forest as a catalyst for good in society builds on a deep-seated, shared belief that our University community is distinct in embodying its motto.

Susan R. Wente

President of Wake Forest University

It’s in the way we live.

2018 Distinguished Alumni: Julie Coyne (’89)

Coyne’s tireless efforts to serve the community have evolved into Education and Hope, a holistic program that provides food, healthcare, basic hygiene, tutoring and scholarships – as well as self-worth, dignity, love and hope – to children with few resources in rural Guatemala.

Learn more about the Distinguished Alumni Award

The Light Within

Anil Rai Gupta (MBA ’92, LLD ’17) helps power daily life in India, but his generous spirit is what energizes the world around him.

Read Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Anil Gupta’s story

Deepening Our Commitment to First-Generation Students

Wake Forest is launching an early admission program specifically in support of first-generation students.

Read more about the admissions initiative

A Naval Officer’s View of Pro Humanitate

Through a lens of duty and purpose, Matt Farrell (’05) shares what Wake Forest’s motto means to him.

Read about the lifelong lesson of greater good and personal sacrifice

‘Freedom School’ Keeps Kids Reading and Helps Prevent Summer Slide

Local elementary students improve their reading skills and get a glimpse into college life during a six-week summer program on Wake Forest’s campus.

Learn how Wake Forest students serve as teachers and mentors

Hit the Bricks

This annual student-led fundraiser is an eight-hour relay race around Hearn Plaza that raises money for cancer research in honor of Brian Piccolo (’65), a beloved Demon Deacon and NFL football star.

See how 1,700 Wake Foresters raised $300,000 in 8 hours

The Meaning of a Motto

A Legacy That Lasts

The words, “Pro Humanitate,” first appeared on the seal of Wake Forest College in 1908. But since the founding of the institution in 1834, this purpose has defined Wake Forest culture.

Pro Humanitate gives us a focal point and reminds us that human cultivation, human flourishing — that is our fundamental commitment.

James Powell

Associate Professor Emeritus of Classical Languages

Share your Pro Humanitate story.

Help us tell the story of Pro Humanitate. It can be your story or the story of a friend, classmate, alumnus, faculty member, colleague, parent, family member or someone else who bleeds Old Gold and Black. If it honors the spirit of our motto, we’d love to hear it.


Submit your story