$3 million gift promotes well-being

Students doing yoga at Reynolda Hall

With support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC), Wake Forest University aims to transform the way college campuses approach well-being and become a model for others in higher education.

A $3 million gift from BCBSNC will help Wake Forest create a campus community dedicated to well-being and support initiatives across eight dimensions: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, intellectual, financial, occupational, and environmental.

Wake Forest faculty, already engaged in groundbreaking research related to health and well-being, will develop new projects with seed funding through the BCBSNC contribution, given to support Wake Will: The Campaign for Wake Forest.

“Our approach to well-being is intentional and a natural extension of our mission to educate the whole person,” said Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch. “Well-being is not the absence of illness and stress, but the presence of healthy habits, purpose and joyful relationships. We are grateful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina for its transformative gift to enhance well-being on our campus and across the state.”

The grant will support the transformation of Reynolds Gym into a comprehensive center for well-being, fund a new director of well-being position, provide seed grants for faculty research on health and well-being, and support new well-being programs on campus.

“Blue Cross has hundreds of employees who live and work in Winston-Salem and we are proud to invest in the community. The work that Wake Forest will do to make holistic well-being a way of life for students and faculty may bear fruit in helping prevent illness or decrease its severity. It’s an exciting case study, and one whose progress we will watch with great interest,” said Brad Wilson, president and CEO of BCBSNC.

“Today’s students will graduate into a world of global complexity with few guarantees,” said Penny Rue, vice president for campus life. “They now struggle with stress levels previously unseen and perfectionistic standards intolerant of mistakes. Wake Forest has been creating innovative approaches to allow  students to unplug, engage, and connect to a deeper meaning and purpose. With this gift, we intend to build on our holistic approach to well-being, create new synergies and help students develop healthy habits and build a sense of  resilience that will carry them forward through the ever-unfolding challenges of a rapidly changing world.”

We are poised not only to greatly enhance well-being here at Wake Forest, but to make a contribution to all of higher education, Rue said.

“Our approach to well-being is equal parts education, inspiration and measurement. The generous gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will help us develop and grow a campus community culture that reflects our extraordinary commitment to the overall well-being of our students, faculty, staff and the community,” said Provost Rogan Kersh.

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