Hundreds of Wake Forest students, faculty, staff, alumni and local dignitaries were in attendance to celebrate the grand opening of the University’s new Uptown Charlotte campus during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 26.
Speakers at the event included: Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch, Dean of Business and retired chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Steve Reinemund, Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon, District 1 City Council Member Patsy Kinsey and Charlotte Chamber of Commerce President Bob Morgan.
“We are committed to providing nothing less than the highest quality of education,” Reinemund said, “and the programs and services offered here are designed specifically to develop the ethical, engaged and visionary leaders that will keep Charlotte thriving.”
Reinemund also reminded the crowd: “We are not moving to Charlotte. We are relocating within Charlotte.”
Wake Forest began offering classes in Charlotte in the Morrocroft Centre in the SouthPark Neighborhood in 1995 with 30 students in one MBA program. Today, there are two Charlotte-based MBA programs, offered either weekday evenings or Saturdays, with more than 200 total students.
The Wake Forest MBA for working professionals is the top-ranked program of its kind in North Carolina and in the top 10 percent nationally, according to the latest U.S. News and World Report ranking.
The Wake Forest University Charlotte Center, located at 200 N. College Street, provides much needed space for the more than 6,000 Wake Forest alumni who call Charlotte home.
“Charlotte is the home of the greatest number of Wake Forest graduates of any city in America,” said Hatch. “It is also one of the most dynamic cities in America.”
Cannon and Kinsey presented a proclamation from Charlotte Mayor Anthony R. Foxx declaring the day as “Wake Forest Day” in the city, lauding the new Uptown location as being “designed with the Charlotte community in mind, offering state-of-the-art communication and learning technology and a facility available for rental by local groups.”
“Wake Forest University Charlotte Center is yet another example of stellar higher education institutions choosing to move to Charlotte,” Morgan said. “The business community appreciates not only the educational needs this campus will provide to our citizens and workforce, but also the many jobs it will bring over time to our economy.”
After the ribbon cutting, guests were invited to tour the new space.
Gloria Hayes Emery’s daughter, Mandy, will graduate from Wake Forest in 2013. Emery was impressed by the space and thought her daughter would be as well. “If this doesn’t inspire you to study then I don’t know what would,” she said.
The Wake Forest University Charlotte Center in Uptown features 30,000 square feet of collaborative and innovative space equipped with state-of-the-art technology such as SMART® Boards, LCD screens and web enabled video cameras inside the classrooms. The boardroom features two-way video conferencing, and silent Skyfold® walls add versatility to multipurpose areas.
Tina Carper started the Evening MBA program at the South Park campus before beginning classes at the new Charlotte Center location a couple weeks ago.
“The new space is much bigger,” she said. “The meeting rooms and flexibility of the space are a big benefit. This is an awesome development for Wake to have this visibility in Charlotte.”