Bill and Susan Batten Challenge Gift


The Department of Chemistry expresses its sincere thanks to Bill (WF 74) and Susan (WF 75) Batten, pictured during their time at Wake Forest, for the $100,000 Challenge gift that they made to the department in 2018.  This gift is to be used for equipment for the newly renovated Salem Hall and the challenge helped generate over $20,000 in additional pledges for equipment.

W.C. (Bill) Batten, is a 1974 graduate of Wake Forest with a B.A. in Chemistry and a M.B.A. from Duke University (1980). Upon graduation from Wake Forest, he worked for Union Carbide Corporation. In 1983, Bill founded Thermaco, a manufacturer of effluent compliance products for commercial and industrial facilities. Inventor and Co-Inventor of 50 patents and four pending patents, he is currently CEO of Thermaco. Bill lives in Asheboro, NC with his wife, Susan (WFU ’75) and enjoys golf, gardening, traveling, and designing new products.

We asked Bill to reflect on this gift and Wake Forest:

What do you see as a key component of a Wake Forest education that makes our graduates stand out?

The world is a complex place and cannot always be solved by one path. Instead of being a person with a hammer seeing everything in the world through a single lens where everything looks like a nail, we Wake Forest graduates are automatically enabled via our required liberal arts electives to instinctively seek out different pathways to optimally solve issues.

Why have you chosen to support the Chemistry program?

It is our way of paying back to future generations for what we received from previous generations who provided the educational opportunities we enjoyed during our years at Wake Forest.

What do you wish you would have been told right before your graduation?

To embrace how a Wake Forest Chemistry degree provides a superb basis for dealing with any problem no matter the size, type or description.

Favorite memories from Wake Forest?

Being in Dr. Hamrick’s Organic Chemistry class, participating in Dr. Gross’s Interdisciplinary Honors Program, seeing Wake Forest win the ACC Championship in 1970 and walking across the stage to receive my diploma in 1974. My topmost favorite WFU memory is of a special September night on the Quad when I met my future bride.