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Interview Subject: Dr. Herman Eure
Interviewed By: Maggie Foster
1. What was it like going to college during the 1960s/1970s?
He went to Maryland State College. He mentioned that it was not “where he was going to
college,” but “if he was going to college.” He was going on a scholarship for track, but track was
not until the spring. As a result, he got involved in other clubs and student government.
Ultimately, he decided to not run track because of his heavy involvement in other activities. In
addition, he worked every single day to pay for school and have spending money. He wanted to
represent other African Americans and not live the same life as his parents. His family was very
poor growing up, and he wanted to get out of his hometown of Coreapeake, North Carolina. To
do this, it was through education, which would allow him to create a better life for himself.
2. How did it feel being the first African American to become a full-time faculty member at
Wake Forest? Can you describe some of your emotions?
He arrived at Wake Forest in 1969, and he did not want to be someone else’s “token.” He wanted
to be himself, Herman Eure. There was pressure because of his race, but not so much pressure
that he could not handle the stress because of the support of professors and teachers at his high
school and Maryland State College. They taught him how to be strong and prepared him for
difficult situations that he encountered throughout his life. He was taught to thrive and fight for
what he wanted to do. He was frustrated sometimes because of grumbles and comments such as,
he was receiving special treatment because he was African American. He was asked if he was
part of the custodial staff, or was part of the basketball team. However, he wanted to succeed
because he wanted to make his African American friends and family proud; he knew that if he
failed, it would not be that Herman Eure failed, it would be that African Americans failed.
3. What has caused you to stay at Wake Forest after all of these years?
His first intention was to only stay at Wake Forest for a maximum of two years, but Wake Forest
drew him in through involvement, and he fell in love with the university. He called it the “Wake
Forest mystique.” He mentioned that he grew up in the South, so he knew it well. He also knew
that in order to get end the racial prejudices, he needed to try and fix it at its roots. He and Dr. Ed
Wilson along with his Biology department, all knew there was work to be done in order to fix
this drastic problem. So, they were going to put in the effort to integrate Wake Forest.
4. What is the biggest change you have seen at Wake Forest over the years?
The biggest change he has seen at Wake Forest involves academics and its core values. There
has also been an increase in diversity, and also in how the university as a whole is committed to
improving diversity. Now, there is a top-to-bottom dedication to diversity, starting with the Dean
and President down to the students on campus. He has also seen a change in faculty and their
support team. By Wake Forest becoming SAT-optional, it allows for a larger pool of students,
which increases minority groups and diversity on campus. There are also other programs that are
increasing diversity on campus like the Magnolia Scholars and Office of Multicultural Affairs.
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