Wake Forest is a private, research university founded in 1834 as Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute. It was named because students were required to spend half of each day doing manual labor on the plantation until 1838 and the school’s name changed to Wake Forest College. The school closed in 1862 due to the Civil War before re-opening in 1866. The decision to move the entire campus from north of Raleigh in Wake Forest, NC to its current location in Winston-Salem in came in 1946. The old Wake Forest campus was sold to the Baptist State Convention to establish the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and in 1951 Harry S. Truman lifted the first shovel and in 1956 Wake Forest’s move to Winston-Salem was complete.
So, Wake Forest is not in Wake Forest, NC.
In 1967 Wake Forest changed its name from Wake Forest College to Wake Forest University. WFC can still be seen in many pieces of ironwork throughout campus.
The Nickname, Mascot & Colors
Originally Wake Forest’s athletic teams were known as the “Fighting Baptists” or”The Baptists” due to its association with the Baptist Convention. Wake also sometimes simply went by “The Old Gold & Black”. In 1922 Mayor Parker, the editor of the school newspaper said that Wake Forest fought like “Demons” vs. Duke (the Trinity), giving rise to the nickname “Demon Deacons”. The Demon Deacon the mascot came to life in 1941 and has gone through several variations…..today he wears a top hat and tails and rides a gold & black motorcycle. Sometimes he carries a walking stick, cane, umbrellas…..and even a plunger. The plunger is typically used to mock opposing marching bands and as a weapon against Duke’s ‘pitch fork’.
The Original Mascot was a Tiger, thus the colors Old Gold & Black.
The students are known as the “Screamin Deacons” and receive the best seats but lose the privilege if two games (football & men’s basketball) are missed, the number of “Screamin Deacons” was reduced in 2011 and fewer students attend now than prior to the reduction.
Rolling the Quad/Streaking the Quad
Since the 1960s when Wake Forest notches a huge win in any sport, the student population “Rolls the Quad” with toilet paper. Similar to Auburn’s “Rolling Toomer’s Corner” tradition that we explored earlier this year, all available toilet paper is used to decorate the upper quad in celebration.
It is supposedly an unwritten rule that before a student graduates from Wake Forest he/she must streak the main Quad. The ‘Great Streak of 1974’ saw most of the Wake Forest campus streak the Quad with paper bags on their heads.
There is an arch on Hearn Plaza that is a reproduction of the arch on the original Wake Forest campus. The original arch was a gift from the Class of 1909 while the current arch is a gift from the Class of 2006. Each year new students and graduating seniors pass through the arch signifying the begging and end of their respective undergraduate eras.
Magnolia & Tunnels
Walter Raphael Wiley & his wife Monnie Louise McDaniel Wiley wanted to bridge the old campus with the new campus and chose to collect seeds from the magnolia trees on the old campus. Mrs. Wiley cultivated the seedlings into 5 foot tall magnolias and donated about 20 Magnolia trees that were planted on Manchester Plaza.
At the old campus students used to use the low growth of the magnolia trees as a private place to ‘neck’. As a result the lower limbs on the magnolia trees on the Reynolda Campus have been removed.
There are underground tunnels that connect many of the buildings on Wake Forest’s campus. The tunnels are closed to public access as they house much of the infrastructure to campus, but the presence of the tunnels, along with a the nuclear fallout shelter in Tribble Hall has given life to many legend. The largest legend is that the tunnels lead to a command center for the United State’s most important personnel hidden between the academic buildings above the Mag Quad.
Dear Old Wake Forest: The Alma Mater
Dear old Wake Forest, Thine is a noble name;
Thine is a glorious fame, Constant and true.
We give thee of our praise, Adore thine ancient days,
Sing thee our humble lays, Mother, so dear.
Dear old Wake Forest, Mystic thy name to cheer;
Be thou our guardian near fore’er and aye.
We bow before thy shrine, Thy brow with bays entwine,
All honor now be thine, Mother, today.
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