A Changing Face Tells Story of Progress (continuation)
In 1946, the veterans were returning to school and flocking to Wake Forest in record numbers. The old campus was bulging at the seams and an expansion program was in its initial stages. Foundations had been readied for two new buildings and the structural steel was already on the campus.
Fate, however, destined that these foundations would be useless and that the steel would rust until removed to another building 110 miles westward. Rumors had swept the campus that the College had under consideration a giant financial offer. Soon after, came the news that Trustees had voted to accept the offer of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation of perpetual financial support if Wake Forest would move to Winston-Salem. The attractiveness of the proposal was unique in educational history. The challenge could not be turned down if the College was to have adequate resources for her future growth.
So began a long road stretching to the West where the sun would not set, but instead shine brighter on Samuel Wait's school. In 1950, Harold Tribble came from Massachusetts to head the expanding institution which still had not broken ground for a new campus. The master of the Reynolda campus soon took full control of the situation and the new building effort moved full speed ahead. Construction began in October 1951 and in June 1956 the first students enrolled on a campus planned eventually to serve 3,000.
Winston-Salem accepted the College into her family and Wake Forest reciprocated. A bustling city in the heartland of the nation's fastest-growing region now had a first-rate college to nurture, and support, and take pride in. She had left a small cotton-mill village to come to the home of the Southeast's largest bank, the nation's largest tobacco factory, and the continents premiere area-airlines. This indeed was transition.
Still, a bit of the old came to the new. The green grass, the shade trees, the lofty and spreading magnolias, and the cool beauty seemed in some special way to have made the trip also. And placed in a corner off to itself, as before, stood Bostwick Dorm—its white columns missing but its bricks strikingly clean and its coeds again the residents.
There were many buildings, and all were laid out according to plan with stairs and walks threading among the newly-seeded ground. Wake Forest was no stranger to Winston-Salem, for already the medical school had been in town for 17 years. The moving of the College came with no rush, but with thorough and reasoned, certainly saddened, feelings. Just as she had made her place in the small rural community of Wake County, so now the College began to carve an inevitable niche in the much larger metropolitan area to which she had been transplanted, and to which her roots must be firmly Affixed. More than ever she thought out the meaning of Pro Humanitate" in her challenging new surroundings. Greater service to humanity did, indeed, lie ahead.
A new campus was an accomplishment not to be gloated over but to show more than ever what could be the future—and yet more convincingly, what must be the future. Wake Forest was not through building in 1956. Winston Hall became a reality in 1961 to rehouse the expanding departments of biology and psychology. It was a gift from the people of the city, given as their own testimony that Wake Forest has a great future.
The campus plan, indeed, was far from finished. The grass began to grow and the campus took on that "lived-in" appearance. Now it was looking like a college. The first coats of paint were added to the woodwork and dorm rooms received new coating also. Things began to look a bit worn, as if students had been here. The edges of grassy plots were worn thin although constantly rehabilitated with fertilizer.
And still, there was the continuation of construction. Down across the street next to Johnson Dorm rose another girl's dorm, appropriately christened "Mary Reynolds Babcock Dormitory" in honor of a noted benefactor of the College. After it was finished the ground was filled in, the red Piedmont clay was packed down, and grass was sown. Soon all was back to normal—but normal for a short time only. Across the street ground was broken and construction was begun on a sorelyneeded classroom building. For 18 months muddy walks plagued coed shoes, along with jovial hoots of construction workers. Soon, however, the building was greatly appreciated as the library was emptied of classes and students could finally both hear and take notes. Indeed, it was an improvement that had to come and was but the first of many.
Yet there is more —much more —to Wake Forest than mere bricks and mortar and sidewalks. A faculty member is quick to point out that no one has ever sought to deny him the privilege of speaking his piece in the classroom. Stacks of books in the library halls stand still unpacked and uncatalogued, waiting for their places on now ghostly shelves built to accommodate a million volumes. Opportunities abound, as the spirit of progress so necessary to educational development pushes Samuel Wait's dream ever forward.
In 1964, the first seeds were sown that would grow, in time, and boost the College to university-status. On campus, in classrooms, and in meeting halls throughout the state future horizons unfolded: foreseen is a graduate school in every department with doctors still teaching freshmen—for here is the basis of academic excellence; foreseen are more and better-paid faculty members with more opportunity for study and receptive ears to the student whose mecca they have always been; foreseen in future days is "Wake Forest University" emblazoned on the tall sign at the Reynolda Road entrance.
All of this and more, in the context of a Christian heritage rich in her product and dedicated to the intercourse of educator and student in the seemingly simple but arduous task of building men and women. This is Wake Forest's history — one of change, and with it the improvement that prepares her more adequately for the new day that is always dawning.