You need to tell WordPress that you are using a static page as your home page instead of the default, which is a blog page. Here are the steps:
Click on Settings > Reading in the links on the left:
On the reading page, you’ll see two radio buttons at the top item, “Front Page Display.” Select “Static Page” and then pull the selection for your home page from the drop-down menu:
If you created a new home page, select “Home,” or the name of that page when you created it:
If you want to designate your old Contribute home page as your new home page, select the page that is the same name as your site. In this case, it’s the “Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences” site, so that’s the page we are selecting:
When you are done, click on “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page.
You can now spiff up your home page with widgets!