Dear Wake Forest community,

On this day in 1951, President Harry Truman helped Wake Forest College break ground on a new campus in Winston-Salem. That historic moment, made possible by an act of incredible philanthropic support by the Reynolds family, expanded the horizons for what would become a nationally admired institution of higher education. Today, philanthropic support again gives us occasion to celebrate a historic milestone in the life of Wake Forest University. I am humbled to announce that the Wake Will Lead campaign has surpassed the $1 billion milestone thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents and friends.

A $1.5 million gift from Arnold Palmer’s Trust to endow a professorship in literature pushed the campaign past this noteworthy mark. I am pleased to announce that Dean Franco, who has taught in the Wake Forest English Department since 2001 and currently serves as the Director of the Humanities Institute, will be the first to hold the Winifred W. Palmer Professorship in Literature. The endowed professorship, named in memory of Mr. Palmer’s late wife, is one of 52 endowed positions established during the Wake Will Lead campaign.

In his 2005 Commencement address, Mr. Palmer shared that at Wake Forest he learned about “the meaning of a productive and meaningful life.” While most people know Mr. Palmer as an iconic sports figure, an uncanny knack for bringing people together contributed as much to his meaningful and productive life as his athletic prowess. Mr. Palmer personified friendliness and honor, and the stories from his life and career with which he often regaled eager listeners emphasized the importance of relationships. Connecting the memory of Arnie’s beloved Winnie with his beloved alma mater is a fitting way for us to mark this milestone in a campaign that has united so many people.

With support from nearly 60,000 Wake Forest families and friends, the momentum behind this campaign will continue to create opportunity, educate the whole person and inspire excellence. In July, when the campaign has officially concluded and we account for the full influence of our community’s generosity, I believe that the most significant impact will not be calculated by what the University has received, but will be felt by what Wake Forest gives back to our world.

Please join me in celebrating this moment, and please accept my most sincere gratitude for your belief in Wake Forest.

With many thanks,

Nathan O. Hatch