Chapter Nine: 1991–1992 141
contact with University personnel and to repair his reputation. His marriage to Laura
Walters Stephens on February 1 in Birmingham, Alabama, seemed to spark good
feelings toward the President. Stephens was beautiful, gracious, and naturally outgo-
ing, with a radiant smile that generated genuine warmth. Her presence on and off
campus was welcomed.
However, the year turned on a number of events beyond the President. The first
was the official dedication of the $7.3 million Wilson Wing of the Z. Smith Reyn-
olds Library on February 6 as part of the annual Founders’ Day celebration. The
six-story addition to the back of the library increased stack and study space for stu-
dents. The groundbreaking had been held in 1990, and the building was completed
in the fall of 1991. The wing was named for Provost Emeritus Edwin G. Wilson (’43),
who had touched the lives of literally thousands of students both in and outside the
classroom. He was the guest speaker at the Founders’ Day Convocation in Wait Cha-
pel before the dedication. In his remarks, which he titled “To Honor the Legacy,”
Wilson emphasized the special character of Wake Forest. It exemplified the marriage
of goodness and intelligence spoken of by former President William Louis Poteat
nearly seventy years earlier. “For me,” Wilson said, “in 1939, coming to Wake Forest,
registering, and going to my first classes were, in the immortal words of Humphrey
Bogart in Casablanca, the ‘start of a beautiful friendship.’” A portrait of Wilson, com-
missioned to Ray Goodbred, an artist from Charleston, South Carolina, was hung at
the entrance to the wing.
In addition to Wilson, faculty honored during Founders’ Day included Dilip K.
Kondepudi (Chemistry), who received the Award for Excellence in Research; Charles
R. Kennedy Jr. (Babcock), who received the Sara Lee Excellence Award; and Elizabeth
Phillips (English), who received the
Medallion of Merit, the University’s
highest award. Prior to the convo-
cation, Weston Hatfield (’41), a life
trustee, presented Hearn with the
Presidential Chain of Office, an onyx
and gold-plated string of medallions
bearing the University seal and the
name of each past President, joined
by clusters of magnolia blossoms.
The chain was designed by Susan
Squires Stewart of Winston-Salem.
Beginning with the dedication
of the Wilson Wing, Wake Forest
designated 1992 as the “Year of the
Library.” There was much to cele-
brate. The Z. Smith Reynolds collec-
tion had reached a total of 1,126,595
volumes with 18,174 current serials.
Hours were extended due to stu-
dent demand; the stacks were open
until midnight Monday through
A portrait of Edwin G. Wilson was placed
at the entrance to the Wilson Wing of the Z.
Smith Reynolds Library