The Dawn of a New Day
The story broke at 11:00 P.M. Monday, March 25, 1946: the news
services reported that the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, associated
with a huge tobacco fortune, had offered Wake Forest College up to
$330,000 annually in perpetuity, provided the college build a new
campus and move 110 miles west to Winston-Salem, home of the
foundation. The strings attached were minimal: the name of the
college need not be changed and its association with the Baptist State
Convention would continue, but the convention would have to agree
to sustain its financial support of Wake Forest at the level it was then
The next day the Board of Trustees met in special session on the
Wake Forest campus to get initial soundings on the spectacular offer.
They were told that "friends of the college" had received tentative
approval of the trustees of the foundation, which was named for a son
of the founder of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, of a plan to
apply a portion of the foundation's income to the support of Wake
At that time the assets of the foundation, drawn from a trust holding
the estate of Zachary Smith Reynolds, were just over ten million
dollars. It was envisioned that 20 percent of the foundation's annual
income would be added to the principal each year until a level of fifty
million had accrued. Initially, Wake Forest would get $235,000 a
year, but as the assets grew the contribution would be a guaranteed
$350,000 a year, with the possibility of further increases.
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