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

April 1960

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

September 1962

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.

Basketball integrates


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

January 1996

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

September 2000

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.