Wake Forest has a sympathetic feeling for the town of Hiroshima. An
atomic bomb could not have been more sudden, more unexpected,
more stunning than the announcement of the Reynolds offer…. The
little town which has contributed more than $100,000 to the
enlargement campaign of the college, and in which most citizens are
bound by close personal ties to the college, could not have been more
dumbfounded and aghast if foreign planes had dropped a bomb in the
center of the village."
Mayor Harvey Holding noted that since the town was built around
the college, a move would be a tremendous loss to the business
community. Postmaster Russell Wiggins felt that despite any
immediate gains in the move, in years to come the college would be
better off if it remained in Wake Forest. Most of the merchants and
other townsmen agreed that the offer was probably too attractive to be
There is no reliable chronology of the developments which led the
Reynolds Foundation to proffer its resources to Wake Forest College.
There can be no doubt that the chief architect in formulating the
proposal was William Neal Reynolds, brother of tobacco magnate
Richard Joshua Reynolds and himself many times over a millionaire.
While the tentative steps leading to the decision were being taken,
Reynolds was president of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and
thereby the key man among its trustees. The other members of that
board, all associated closely with the Reynolds family, were a son of
the tobacco scion, Richard J. Reynolds, Jr.; two daughters, Mary R.
Babcock and Nancy R. Bagley; their husbands, Charles H. Babcock
and Henry W. Bagley; and two others close to Reynolds enterprises,
W. R. Hubner and L. D. Long.
The idea of relocating Wake Forest in Winston-Salem first arose at
the time the Bowman Gray School of Medicine was physically
detached from the Wake Forest campus and allied with Baptist
Hospital in 1941. Shortly afterward Dr. Coy C. Carpenter, dean of the
Medical School, mentioned Wake Forest in a conversation with W. N.
Reynolds as part of an appeal for support of the Medical School.
Reynolds asked then whether the School of Medicine might not be
stronger if it were associated with a university in Winston-Salem
rather than with a college 110 miles away.2
The inquiry lay dormant for a few years, but it appears always to
have been at least in the back of Reynolds's mind. He had been on
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