Wake Forest marks 50 years in Winston-Salem
August 31, 2006
This year, Wake Forest University celebrates 50 years in Winston-Salem, its home since a 100-mile move westward from the town of Wake Forest near Raleigh.
The university will mark the 50th anniversary of the move during Homecoming Weekend, Sept. 28-30.
Although other colleges have moved their campuses, Wake Forest may well be the largest, most well-established institution to move such a substantial distance to a new home and continue operation under the same name. The move in 1956 placed Wake Forest a greater distance from its athletic rivals — N.C. State, UNC and Duke — and smoothed the way for the small college to grow into a nationally recognized university.
Weekend events will feature 1950s themed entertainment, beginning with a performance by the swing band Swing On from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 29 on Hearn Plaza followed by a 5:30 p.m. ceremony featuring Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and other distinguished guests. Members of the class of 1956, the last to graduate on the old campus, will be inducted into the university’s Half-Century Club that morning.
Earlier in the day, Ed Hendricks, professor of history at Wake Forest, will give a talk explaining “Why Wake Forest Moved to Winston-Salem” at 1:30 p.m. in Room 204 of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library. From 2:30 to 5 p.m., historical photos from the 1940s, 50s and 60s will be on display in the Wake Forest University Archives on the sixth floor of the library. Wake Forest is collaborating with other area libraries to develop an online collection of photos to document the history of Forsyth County and would like help identifying the people and events in the photos.
On Sept. 30, a homecoming parade will feature 1950s cars. Starting at 10:30 a.m. between Winston and Salem Halls, the parade will follow Wingate Road around campus, circling around Wait Chapel to end in Lot P. The annual Homecoming Festival on the Quad will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Hearn Plaza. The festival will include crafts and games for children, performances by faculty and student groups and appearances by Wake Forest athletes, the Demon Deacon, cheerleaders and the marching band.
Throughout the month of September, banners celebrating 50 years in Winston-Salem will be displayed on campus, along University Parkway and in downtown Winston-Salem.