Dear Wake Forest Community,

Last week, we paused the implementation of the renaming of Wingate Hall to become May 7, 1860 Hall. This proposed change generated a critical and difficult conversation among our students, faculty, staff and alumni. I have listened and heard the need for further discussions about the intent behind our decision and the impact such a name has on our community members. I am sorry for the pain this has caused many Black students, colleagues and alumni. We are committed to understanding our community’s reactions to the renaming of Wingate Hall, and as such, I reported that Trustee Donna Edwards (’80) and Vice President José Villalba agreed to chair an advisory team focused on both clarifying our intentions and the process for finding a new name.

Today, I am pleased to share the names of the advisory committee members and to reiterate the committee’s charge. The advisory committee is intentionally a small group representing major stakeholders who have voiced concerns or questions about the proposed new name and process to date. The small size of this group will be essential given the relatively short time frame they have to accomplish the charge: (a) to clarify the objectives in selecting a name for the former Wingate Hall, and (b) to collect and understand our community’s concerns, reactions and suggestions regarding a new name.

The Advisory Committee includes:

Kelly Starnes (’93, MBA ’14)
President, Association of Wake Forest University Black Alumni

Alex Reyes Schroeder (’06, JD ’09)
President, Wake Forest Alumni Association

Erica Still
Associate Professor
Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment, Diversity and Inclusion
Co-Chair, President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community

Jacob Thomas (’22)
President, Black Student Alliance

Ally Swartzberg (’22)
President, Student Government

Tim Pyatt
Dean of the ZSR Library
Co-Chair, Slavery, Race and Memory Project

It is the intent that this committee completes its work by June 30.


Nathan O. Hatch