As you may have learned in the fight song, your new Forest is unrivaled by any. The history, events, quirks, and rituals that make Wake Forest unique help form a lasting bond among those who call themselves Demon Deacons.

In a time before Google, these were things passed from one generation of Wake Foresters to the next. Embrace them. Make them your own. And may you never look at a roll of toilet paper the same way again.


  • The Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute was founded in 1834.
  • The first student was 12 years old, and the first graduating class had four people.
  • In 1946, Wake Forest College accepted an invitation and financial support from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to move to Winston-Salem. The new campus would occupy 340 acres given by Charles and Mary Reynolds Babcock from the Reynolds family’s Reynolda estate. Mary Reynolds Babcock and her brother Zachary Smith Reynolds were two of the four children of R.J. Reynolds, founder of the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company.
  • The arch, found on Hearn Plaza, a gift from the Class of 2006, is a replica of the arch on Old Campus which was a gift from the Class of 1909.
  • Ground-breaking ceremonies for the new campus were held on October 15, 1951, and a crowd of more than 20,000 watched President Harry S. Truman lift the first shovel of dirt to begin construction. Between 1952 and 1956 fourteen buildings were erected on the campus and the actual removal of the College to its new home was accomplished in time for the opening of the summer session in 1956.
  • In 1956, Wake Forest opened its doors in Winston-Salem.
  • First private institution in the South to integrate in 1962.
  • Wake Forest College became Wake Forest University in 1967.  The letters WFC can still be found in ironwork throughout campus.


Walter Raphael Wiley and his wife, Monnie Louise McDaniel Wiley, learned of the impending move to Winston-Salem while visiting the Old Campus in 1947. Mrs. Wiley wanted to establish a symbolic bridge between the old and new campuses. An avid gardener, she had her nephew, Robert Earl Williford (’51), collect seeds from the magnolia trees on the Old Campus. Williford enlisted the aid of Dr. Budd Smith, professor of biology, and the seeds were mailed to the Wileys in Chesterfield, S.C., where Mrs. Wiley planted them in a filled-in swimming pool.  In 1956, when construction of the college buildings in Winston-Salem was nearly completed, the magnolia trees in Chesterfield were about 5 feet tall. The administration graciously accepted Mrs. Wiley’s offer to donate the trees. She and her son, Walter R. Wiley, Jr., balled approximately 20 trees, put them in the back of a large station wagon, and delivered them to the nursery/landscaping department. They were planted a week later on Manchester Plaza.


  • Wake Forest’s annual Lovefeast is the largest Moravian Lovefeast in North America. Jane Sherrill Stroupe started the tradition in 1967.
  • The 12-ton carillon is made up of 48 bronze-cast bells. The carilloneur plays at 5:00 p.m. to signal the end of the academic day. There are only 100 carillons like it in the nation.
  • The pipe organ in Wait Chapel has more than 4,500 pipes.
  • Presidential debates between Michael Dukakis and George H. W. Bush (1988) and Al Gore and George W. Bush (2000) were held in Wait Chapel. Those events combined to attract more than 100 million viewers.
  • Washington Manly Wingate (Class of 1849) was the first graduate to serve as President of Wake Forest. He took the gig at age 26.


  • Original name of the current football stadium: Groves Stadium.
  • Original mascot was the Tiger, hence the school colors: Old Gold and Black.
  • Jack Baldwin (‘43) introduced the plunger to the Demon Deacon’s arsenal.
  • Rolling the Quad: After a win against Duke University, Wake Forest students preemptively rolled the trees on campus upon learning that Duke students were going to roll the trees in retaliation for the game’s result.
  • Two Wake Forest alumni starred in the 2013 NBA All-Star game: Tim Duncan and Chris Paul (game MVP)
  • Brian Piccolo, the 1964 ACC Player of the Year, made the Chicago Bears roster despite being undrafted. His life was cut tragically short by cancer, but his humanitarian outreach to others was immortalized in the 1971 TV movie Brian’s Song.
  • Eight former Demon Deacons participated in the 2012 Olympics.
  • We welcomed two new head coaches to the Forest in 2014: Dave Clawson (football) and Danny Manning (men’s basketball).
  • A cadaver lab is located next to the pool in Reynolds Gym.

Z. Smith Reynolds

The library is named for Zachary Smith Reynolds, younger son of R.J. and Katharine Reynolds. He was a noted aviator who was the first person to fly solo from London to Hong Kong and was married to Broadway star Libby Holman. Following his death from a gunshot wound at Reynolda House in 1932, at age 20, his siblings created the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in his memory. The Foundation trustees invited the College to move to Winston-Salem in 1946. Rumors about the cause of Smith Reynolds’ death have persisted since 1932. Although his wife Libby Holman and close friend Ab Walker were initially indicted for murder, contradictory evidence and testimony ultimately made it impossible to determine whether the shooting was suicide, murder or an accident. The Reynolds family ultimately asked that the case be dropped.

The Alma Mater: Dear Old Wake Forest

Dear old Wake Forest, Thine is a noble name;

Thine is a glorious fame, Constant and true.

We give thee of our praise, Adore thine ancient days,

Sing thee our humble lays, Mother, so dear.

Dear old Wake Forest, Mystic thy name to cheer;

Be thou our guardian near fore’er and aye.

We bow before thy shrine, Thy brow with bays entwine,

All honor now be thine, Mother, today.

George Paschal ’82

Project Pumpkin

Project Pumpkin is an annual event sponsored by the Volunteer Service Corps around Halloween. It brings approximately 1,500 children from the Winston-Salem community onto campus and pairs them with Wake Forest undergraduates for trick-or-treating and carnival games.

Hit the Bricks

“This is College!” So were the words of a first-year student while racing around the Quad as a member of his residence hall’s relay team. Over 1,000 students, faculty, and staff join together in Wake Forest’s annual 8-hour team relay event to benefit the Brian Piccolo Cancer Drive.

Wake ‘N Shake

What do over 1,200 students do together in Reynolds Gym for 12 continuous hours in March? They dance, sing, play games, hear inspirational stories, and have an outrageous time, all to help find a cure for cancer. So get on your feet and get ready to dance!

START Gallery

The Wake Forest University Student Art Gallery, founded in 2009, is dedicated to providing Wake Forest students with an opportunity to display and sell their artwork, thus gaining experience and transferable skills. The gallery strives to create a unique experiential learning laboratory in which engaged students have formative experiences while participating in the management and operation of the gallery as they prepare to become viable artists and/or professionals aspiring to leadership roles in art galleries. The gallery presents 12-15 exhibitions per year and most of the art work displayed has been generated through studio course work and is therefore a product of close instruction by members of the studio art faculty.

Reynolda House

The home, built in 1917 by Katharine Smith Reynolds and her husband, R. J. Reynolds, founder of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, now displays the Southeast’s finest collection of American art, ranging from the colonial period to the present, in the unique setting of an American Country Estate. Since 1967, Reynolda House Museum of American Art has been open to the public in order to showcase the finest works of art by America’s most important artists. The collection features a variety of artists including Mary Cassatt, Frederic Church, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Gilbert Stuart, with numerous events, workshops, tours, and changing exhibitions scheduled throughout the year. The Museum is the centerpiece of the Reynolda Estate, from which the University’s Reynolda Campus gets its name.

General admission is free for students, and the Museum offers several events at no cost to students throughout the year. Students also get involved at Reynolda House through internships, volunteer opportunities, and academic research. An affiliate Museum of the University, Reynolda House is an easy ¼ mile walk from campus along the wooded trails of Reynolda Gardens. Reynolda House is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.