darkness and light
Bird Sings and continuing through
The Heart of a Woman, just pub-
lished. She had first come to Wake
Forest in 1971, had returned almost
every year thereafter, had received
an honorary degree from the Uni-
versity, and in the spring of 1982
was teaching an eight-session
course in “Race in the Southern
Experience before Emancipation.”
Her regular appointment—as Reyn-
olds Professor of American Studies
—was scheduled to begin in the fall
of 1982. It was widely commented
upon that the first Reynolds chair
was assigned to a black woman: a
dramatic gesture of the importance
to Wake Forest of a faculty increas-
ingly diverse in both race and gender.
A parallel program to the Reyn-
olds Professorships was also being
organized: the Reynolds Scholar-
ships. A ten-member committee
was appointed: Dean Thomas Mullen; faculty members Ronald
Dimock (Biology), Doyle Fosso (English), Paul Gross (Chemistry),
and Annette LeSiege (Music); Director of Admissions William
Starling; Dale Simmons, Trustee; Ronald Deal and Kay Lord, past
presidents of the Alumni Association; and Zachary Smith, presi-
dent of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. They reviewed twenty-
three applications, invited fifteen students to the campus for
interviews, and selected four high school seniors to receive scholar-
ships that included not only tuition, room, board, and other inci-
dental expenses but also support for summer projects and study
abroad for at least one semester. The first Reynolds Scholars arrived
in the fall of 1982: Rogan Kersh of Brevard; Laura Novatny of
Creve Coeur, Missouri; Brian Rollfinke of Carlisle, Pennsylvania;
and Jeannette Sorrell of Winchester, Virginia. They had been
picked for their “creative leadership” as well as for their academic
strengths and their promise as scholars.
Maya Angelou
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