Wake Forest University was founded in 1834 as the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute, designed to teach both Baptist ministers and laymen. They were required to spend half the day doing manual labor on the plantation the school was built on, called the “Forest of Wake.” In 1839 the institution was renamed Wake Forest College and the manual labor requirements ceased.
During the Civil War the school closed temporarily as students and faculty went off to serve in the Confederate Army. The school re-opened in 1866 and in 1942 Wake Forest began admitting women.
In 1946, a generous donation from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, initiated the school’s move to Winston-Salem, NC. The old campus in Wake Forest was sold and eventually became the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Wake Forest recently made entrance examinations such as the SAT and ACT optional for admission.
Wake’s main campus is Reynolda, home to the school’s undergraduate colleges as well as a handful of its graduate schools. At the center of the Reynolda campus are two quads, Hearn Plaza and Magnolia Quad. These two grassy lawns are linked by Reynolda Hall. North of Hearn Plaza, or the “Upper Quad,” is perhaps the school’s most famous and most photographed building, Wait Chapel, which houses Wingate Hall and Davis Chapel.
Benson University Center, a frequently visited spot for most Wake students, is near Magnolia Quad. It has a food court with plenty of tables as well as classrooms and conference rooms. Across Benson is Tribble Hall, an academic building where English and history classes are held. Students say the complex structure is reminiscent of a Harry Potter building, because new students are guaranteed to get lost wandering the halls.
Most of the buildings on campus are in the Georgian style, characterized by brick or stone buildings in red, tan, or white.
Winston-Salem is a small city that together with Greensboro and High Point makes up the Piedmont Triad region on North Carolina. The presence of the university is a source of pride for most of the town, and students and locals definitely interact on a regular basis. Winston-Salem is considered one of American’s most authentic colonial towns, and the Old Salem District and Historic Bethabara near the university are some of the most important relics of the town’s colonial history.
The Reynolda Historic District features the estate of R.J and Katharine Reynolds, which is now a museum, with gardens on the grounds.
Reynolda Village, in the same immediate area, has shops and restaurants, such as Monkee’s or the Village Tavern, and is popular among students. There are some nightlife options downtown, but mostly limited to a few bars frequented by students. The Winston-Salem Sports Complex is the major sport and entertainment venue for the area.
There may be plenty to do in Winston-Salem, though some find the downtown area is not always inviting to students. As a result a “bubble” often hangs over Wake and the area immediately around it, and students prefer to inside it.
A favorite tradition among enthusiastic Deacons is “rolling the quad.” After an important athletic victory students gather as much toilet paper as they can and cover the quad’s trees and lawn. For huge wins against rivals, usually other North Carolina schools like Duke and UNC, students say the quad is completely white.
For seniors it is customary to take part in Senior Fifth. At the last home football game of the season outgoing seniors have from midnight to midnight the next day to finish a fifth of liquor.
Newly pledged Greeks must participate in Pledge Night. An older fraternity or sorority member leads the new pledge around and instructs people to “Kiss my pledge!” They keep tally of how many smooches they receive on their arm or stomach. This tradition marks the beginning of pledging for fraternities.
Muggsy Boegues (1987) is a retired professional basketball player known for being the shortest NBA player in the league’s history.
Tim Duncan (1997) is a professional basketball player. Honors include 1996 ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player, Naismith College Player of the Year, 1997 John Wooden Award as NCAA’s best overall male player, and 1997 NBA Draft first draft pick.
Russell “Rusty” Duke (1970) is a judge on the North Carolina Superior Court.
Lee Norris (2004) is an actor best known for his role as Stuart Minkus in the TV show Boy Meets World.
Brian Piccolo (1964) was a professional football player who died of emryonal cell carcinoma. Piccolo was the subject of the 1971 TV movie Brian’s Song.
The Demon Deacons have won a total of eight national championships in four sports: women’s field hockey, golf, men’s soccer and baseball. Wake Forest is an NCAA Division I team as well as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Two of Wake’s most popular teams are football and men’s basketball. In 2006 the football team won the ACC Title and went to the Orange Bowl to play the Louisville Cardinals. Even though they lost, 24-13, they became the smallest school to ever compete in the Bowl Championship Series. That same year, Coach Jim Grobe was selected ACC Coach of the Year and also won the AP Coach of the Year award.
The Demon Deacons men’s basketball team is famous for producing NBA players as well as having a competitive program, year after year. They have made 16 straight postseason appearances, the longest streak in their conference. In 1962 they reached the Final Four.
Women’s field hockey has enjoyed three national championships, in 2002, 2003 and 2004 under Head Coach Jennifer Averill. Men’s soccer recently earned their first NCAA championship, beating Ohio State 2-1 in 2007.
Wake’s student cheering program is called the Screamin’ Demons. They ensure that students turn out and athletes receive as much support as possible from fans. Screamin’ Demons members can purchase season tickets, and get a card that serves as an automatic pass to sporting events. But if a student misses more than two games, they lose the privilege of quick entry.
In 2003 the Princeton Review named Wake Forest the second “Most Connected Campus” in the United States for issuing new Lenovo ThinkPad laptops to all students and faculty as well as color printers to all undergraduates. The school also provides Resident Technology Advisors (RTAs) trained to aid students with their laptops.
The school has hosted two presidential debates, between George H.W. Bush and Governor Michael Dukakis in 1988 and George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000.
In spring of 2006, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Volunteer Service Corps (VSC), one of the most popular student organizations, sent 30 Wake students to help in the relief effort in New Orleans.
There are seven freshman dorms, all of about equal desirability. Collins, Luter, Babcock, and Bostwick are all on the Magnolia Quad (among the main academic buildings) and have similar setups. Luter, however, has suite-style rooms, with two doubles connected by a bathroom. The rest have a bathroom on each hall and a lounge. Johnson, the fifth dorm on the quad, is substance-free for students who prefer that lifestyle.
The two other dorms for freshmen, Piccolo and Palmer, are somewhat removed from the rest of campus because of their location near Water Tower Field and the Cross Country Trail. Freshmen that live there often refer to them as “P-Town,” or “P-World” because they are separated from the other dorms. The students who do live there, however, get to know each other exceptionally well, even if they must brave the seven- to ten- minute walk to class every morning.
For the remaining students, the housing options include Taylor (with Efird attached), Davis, Kitchin, and Poteat (with Huffman attached) all on the main quad, near Wait Chapel and Reynolda Hall. Upperclassmen can request which dorm they prefer, but all options are fairly similar in layout. Efird and Huffman are smaller and often themed, depending on the year. The other dorms are suite-style, with at least six people to a unit. Martin, Polo, and the Student Apartments are located beyond Wait Chapel and across a parking lot, which is usually a ten- to fifteen-minute walk to classes. Polo and the Student Apartments are apartment-style housing, with kitchenettes and living room space.
Greek housing at Wake is somewhat unique in that there aren’t physical chapter houses on campus. Instead sororities and fraternities have halls, or basement space, as part of the main dorms on campus. They also have lounges with members-only access.