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Edwin Graves Wilson (’43), known and loved widely by the Wake Forest community, was born on Feb. 1, 1923. His more than 75-year association with Wake Forest began when he enrolled as a student at age 16. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Wake Forest in 1943. For the next eight years, he served as a U.S. Navy officer in World War II, taught a year at Wake Forest and earned a master’s degree and doctorate in English from Harvard.
In 1951, he returned to Wake Forest and began teaching English full time – sharing his love of learning, literature and life with decades of students. Even when he accepted numerous administrative positions, including dean and first provost, a position he held from 1967-1990, Dr. Wilson always taught at least one class each semester. Following his tenure as provost, he continued to serve in University leadership for more than a decade. He was Wake Forest’s NCAA faculty representative from 1988-2003 and former president of the ACC. In 1992, a newly constructed wing of @zsrlibrary was named in his honor – commemorating his love of his students, the importance of learning and his long-standing commitment to this community.
For decades, Dr. Wilson, who regaled students by reciting refrains of the Romantic poets, has embodied all that is good about Wake Forest. He is admired for his gracious manner, kindness and deep devotion to the people and the place that captured his heart so many years ago. Today, we celebrate a century of Dr. Wilson, a man of friendliness and honor.

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