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Provost’s Newsletter
F E B R U A R Y 6 , 2 0 1 7 V O L U M E 5 , I S S U E 3
I N T ER E S T :
February 9-10: WISE
Conference | Downtown
February 16: Campus Con-
nections | Benson 401 |
8:45-10:00 am
February 16: Founders’ Day
Convocation | Wait Chapel |
4:00 pm
February 17: Maya Angelou
Residence Hall ribbon cutting
| Maya Angelou Residence
Hall | 3:00 pm
March 2-4: Teachers,
Teaching and the Media
Conference | Reynolda Cam-
Message from the Provost...
A group of Wake Forest faculty and staff, in this
anniversary year of the move to our Reynolda cam-
pus, have spent the past months looking back at the details of that historic relocation. That revisiting
took on added piquancy this month, with the opening of Wake Downtown. Not a few Wake Foresters,
from current students through trustees, drew the comparison between the removal from the ‘Old Cam-
pus’ and the opening of our new downtown facility. As the age-worn fire doors inside our Building 60-
South testify in starkly modern stencils, outlined in gold and black: 1834...1956…2017.
What’s happening inside the gorgeous Wake Downtown space? The vital, foundational work of learning
and research/creative work, for starters. Nearly 300 undergraduates—twice as many as our initial
hope—are enrolled in 18 courses across three of the College’s five divisions. (Next door in our con-
joined Building 60-North, a range of graduate students in medical/bioscience programs inaugurated
similarly next-generation classrooms, labs, and exam rooms back in August.) Thanks to a constantly
circulating shuttle that runs between the Benson Center steps and entrance to Wake Downtown, stu-
dents not enrolled in any current classes are also finding their way downtown to study, christening the
building in finest Wake Forest fashion.
Research and creative work are also well underway, as nearly a dozen Chemistry and Biology faculty
colleagues moved—along with hundreds of laboratory items, from chemicals to a confocal micro-
scope—over the holiday break. Most had their labs up and running a week later, as classes got under-
way. Those who recall Building 60 as the production home for thousands of Camel cigarettes each
week, or more recently as a rusting relic, will join me in marveling at its extraordinary transformation
into a home for innovative ideas in medicinal chemistry/drug discovery, biochemistry and molecular
biology, and—coming soon—engineering, with teaching and research tracks in biomedical and materi-
als engineering.
On the creative side, arts faculty are exploring ways to enliven the space with dance, music, and thea-
ter. Visual arts are already represented, with University Art Collection pieces up and joined by an origi-
nal artwork in the Wake Downtown lobby, constructed in part from a disassembled, immense tobacco
scale found during renovation in the building. The downtown campus’s location adjacent to Winston-
Salem’s arts corridor also provides a burst of artistic inspiration. Glance out any of the front-facing win-
dows to witness the fast-paced renovation of Bailey Power Plant into a space for cultural activities, res-
taurants/bars, and entertainment.
As the initial trio of laboratory-based academic programs launch, faculty across Wake Forest are already
conceiving future degree programs, curricular innovations, and collaborative scholarship. Details of
‘Phase Two’ academic planning are currently being devised by Wake Downtown’s academic director,
Rebecca Alexander, and colleagues.
An effort on the order of Wake Downtown does not happen without a long list of dedicated faculty
(from both Reynolda and Medical campuses) and staff (ditto). Along with those we can thank directly
when passing through either side of Building 60, a salute to those visionaries who saw, a quarter-
century ago, the possibility of a science park arising from the slag heaps of abandoned factories and
empty office buildings. At opening celebrations, including a Provost’s office happy hour at Wake Down-
town attended by over 300, we continue to sound proudly the honor roll of Wake Foresters (and Win-
ston-Salem leaders) past and present who made this achievement possible. They—you!—embody the
ancient Indian philosopher Patanjali’s famous sutra: “When you are inspired by some extraordinary pro-
ject, all your thoughts break their bonds.”
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