First Asian student graduates
Japanese student Konosuke Akiyama becomes first Asian student graduate.
First women undergraduates
Wake Forest College admits first women undergraduates.
Two black students denied admission
Two black high school students apply but are denied admission to Wake Forest.
First Native American enrolls
James G. Jones enrolls at Wake Forest College and later becomes the first Native American graduate in 1962.
African Student Program formed
Glenn Blackburn Jr., Baptist Student Union, and others lead formation of African Student Program (ASP) to recruit and support admission of a black African student from Christian missions in Ghana.
Woolworth’s sit-in (Winston-Salem),
February 23, 1960
Ten Wake Forest students join 11 from Winston-Salem State Teachers College (now WSSU) and Mr. Carl Wesley Matthews for a sit-in at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Winston-Salem.
Black students enroll in summer school
June 22, 1961
First black students — Kenard C. Rockette, Mary Ann Hollis and Odel Hatcher — enroll in the second session of summer school.
Trustees vote to end segregation in college
April 27, 1962
Trustees vote to end racial segregation in the undergraduate college, making Wake Forest the first major private university in the South to integrate.
First black undergraduate enrolls
Ed Reynolds becomes the first black full-time undergraduate to enroll at Wake Forest. Patricia Smith and Bobiette Miller join him as the first black female day students.
Martin Luther King speaks at WFU
October 11, 1962
Martin Luther King to speaks to an audience of 2,200 in Wait Chapel via an invite from the College Union.
Football integrates; first black graduate
Wake Forest integrates its football program by signing Robert Grant, Kenneth Henry and William Smith, and Ed Reynolds becomes 1st black graduate from Wake Forest College.
First openly gay attendee; first hispanic graduate
Harold “Sandy” Seawright is first documented openly gay man to attend Wake Forest, and Carlos Alberto Perez becomes first Hispanic graduate.
First black female graduates
Patricia Smith becomes first black woman graduate.
Norwood Todmann becomes the first black basketball player, followed by Charlie Davis and Gil McGregor in 1967.
First black faculty member
School of Business and Accountancy hires Joe Norman as first black faculty member.
First black female resident students graduate
Deborah Janet Graves and Muriel Elizabeth (Beth) Norbrey become first black female resident students to attend and graduate from Wake Forest.
First black tenure-track professors
Dr. Herman Eure (Biology) and Dr. Dolly McPherson (English) become first black tenure-track professors.
Afram Choir formed
The Afram Choir, later known as the Gospel Choir, was established by Ollis (Zonnie) Muzon Jr.
First WFU black NPHC organization
January 27, 1975
Nine black men establish first National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organization with founding of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Office of Minority Affairs formed
Office of Minority Affairs (OMA) is created by Dr. Herman Eure, originally to foster success of small number of black students.
Chinese Student and Scholar Association formed
Chinese Student and Scholar Association (CSSA) formed to support Chinese students and scholars academically and socially in Winston-Salem.
Black enrollment increases, merit scholarships created
Dr. Ernie Wade appointed OMA director, teams with Admissions to increase black student enrollment, and manages merit scholarship funds for black students: Joe Gordon Scholarship, named after the first black radiologist at Baptist Hospital, and Black American Scholarship.
First national Greek women’s organization at WFU
First national Greek women’s organization recognized at Wake Forest with founding of Pi Omicron chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a historically black sorority; seven black charter members formally established a women’s PanHellenic Council organization at Wake Forest.
Americans with Disabilities Act enacted
Americans with Disabilities Act enacted to eliminate discriminatory barriers against qualified individuals with disabilities.
Gay and Lesbian Association formed
December 3, 1990
Students draft constitution for GALA, the “Gay and Lesbian Association,” later named GALBA and GSSA.
Wake International Student Association chartered
Wake International Student Association (WISA) chartered to foster international student success.
First black head football coach in ACC
Jim Caldwell named head football coach and is first black head football coach in ACC.
‘Sexual orientation’ added to non-discrimination clause
University Senate passes resolution to include “sexual orientation” in non-discrimination clause.
Oakes hired; office changes to Multicultural Affairs
Dr. Barbee Myers Oakes named director of Minority Affairs and changes office to Multicultural Affairs, broadening support to include all ethnic minority students and first-generation students.
MLK Day celebration with WSSU begins
Wake Forest begins annual Martin Luther King Day joint celebration with Winston-Salem State.
Asian Student Interest Association created
Asian Student Interest Association (ASIA) created and open to all interested in promoting Asian cultures and diversity at Wake Forest.
First black student trustee
Jamey Spencer becomes first black student trustee.
Jewish student organization created
Hillel, Jewish student organization, created to support religious engagement and provide educational opportunities for increasing Jewish population.
First black student body president
Khalid Jones becomes first black student body president.
GSSA presses for same-sex commitment ceremonies in Wait Chapel
September 9, 1999
GSSA issues press release calling Trustees to honor Wake Forest non-discrimination policy by allowing same-sex commitment ceremonies in Wait Chapel.
First same-sex union in Wait Chapel
Susan Parker and Wendy Scott’s Covenant ceremony is first same-sex union held in Wait Chapel.
WFU moves to actively interfaith
Office of Chaplain moves Wake Forest from broadly ecumenical to actively interfaith; seeking, encouraging and supporting dialogue so engaging in conversation across faith traditions becomes key goal of Religious Life.
Cultural Diversity requirement added
Wake Forest adds Cultural Diversity requirement to its curriculum, mandating all undergraduates take one of 74 courses to educate them on cultural diversity.
Organization of Latin-American Students chartered
Organization of Latin-American Students (O.L.A.S.) chartered to promote diversity awareness and create a stronger sense of community for Latino students.
Office of Diversity and Inclusion created
Under leadership of Assistant Provost Barbee Oakes, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) is created to develop institutional approach to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus community.
Magnolia Scholars program formed
Under the leadership of Dr. Nate French, the Magnolia Scholars program established to foster success of first-generation college students.
GateKeepers Workshop Initiative created
Shayla Herndon-Edmunds creates GateKeepers Workshop Initiative, a cultural competence education program for faculty and staff.
First Muslim chaplain named
Khalid Griggs, Imam of the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem, named first Muslim chaplain.
LGBTQ Center opens
LGBTQ center opens and Dr. AJ Mazaris named founding director; Center provides support and advocacy to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning students, faculty and staff, plus campus education related to issues of gender identity and sexual orientation.
First associate chaplain for Jewish Life named
Rabbi Michael Gisser named first associate chaplain for Jewish Life.
Women’s Center launched
Wake Forest launches Women’s Center.
First openly gay Student Body President
Tré Easton elected as first openly gay Student Body President.
Gender Equality Allies founded
Gender Equality Allies founded as a community of Wake Forest students working to resolve gender-related issues.