are met, with the exceptions referred to, in my opinion the trustees of
the Smith Reynolds Foundation would formally approve resolutions
carrying out the terms of this proposal."
One of the "friends" who conveyed the news to the Wake Forest
Board of Trustees was Dr. Ralph A. Herring, pastor of First Baptist
Church in Winston-Salem. A graduate of Wake Forest in the Class of
1921, he had been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity
in the 1945 graduation exercises. As the college trustees were
weighing the offer, Herring wrote a note of thanks to W. N. Reynolds:
"Allow me to express personally my very profound appreciation of
what you are doing for an institution so vitally linked with the best
interests of North Carolina…. May God bless you richly and give us
wisdom and courage to respond to the challenge of your generosity."
Will Reynolds was then eighty-two, but once he had made his
commitment to Wake Forest, his interest and support never flagged.
He later solicited contributions from his wealthy friends in Winston-
Salem and around the state and gave substantially of his own fortune
to make the new Wake Forest a reality
The Winston-Salem to which Wake Forest was being invited was
then, with its population of around eighty thousand, the second largest
city in the
The old Moravian settlement of Salem had been
joined with its neighbor Winston in 1913 to form the hyphenated city,
and Winston-Salem had become the leading industrial city in North
Carolina and the third-ranked city of the South in value of
manufactured products. It was especially active in the production of
tobacco products, hosiery, and underwear. The city boasted two daily
newspapers, two weeklies, two radio stations, four bus lines, three
railways, and a new airport―also named for Z. Smith Reynolds. It
was a city of churches, with around a hundred fifty representing
twenty denominations, and had good public schools and fine
residential sections. There were three hospitals and twenty-six parks,
and a new coliseum was in the offing.
Winston-Salem was comfortable, busy, attentive to the arts, and its
location in the lovely rolling Piedmont as part of the gateway to
Western North Carolina was blessed of providence. The early Mo-
ravians had thought it so, and its latter-day inhabitants never doubted
it. But one thing it sorely lacked. That was a college which could field
football, basketball, baseball, and golf teams in competition with the
University of North Carolina, Duke, and North
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