WFU moves forward to name roads honoring trailblazing professors

Winston-Salem City Council votes to approve names

Illustration that shows honorees on road signs

Following approval by the Winston-Salem City Council, Wake Forest will move forward to name roads on the Reynolda Campus in honor of four trailblazing professors.

Roads will be named for Elizabeth Phillips, Dolly McPherson, Marjorie “Marge” Crisp and Herman Eure.

President Wente announced plans in July for the road names, and the University submitted application materials to the City of Winston-Salem as part of the official process for road naming. The City Council reviewed the proposed changes and voted on Monday night to formally approve the names.

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“We are excited the city has affirmed the University’s efforts to honor these four outstanding professors and we are eager to share their stories through the road naming and renaming process,” said Wake Forest President Susan R. Wente.

The honorees will be recognized during Wake Forest’s Homecoming weekend, September 16-18, in two ways: on the field during Saturday’s football game against Liberty University, and during the homecoming worship service on Sunday.

“Intersections: Roads of Honor,” an exhibit featuring historical images and biographies of the honorees as well as a map, will be on display on campus in Z. Smith Reynolds Library’s Special Collections and Archives (Room 625) and near Shorty’s in Benson University Center.

The honorees:

Elizabeth Phillips (1919 – 2008) began her career at Wake Forest in 1957. She was one of Wake Forest’s first full-time female professors and the first female chair of the English Department. She was a respected scholar of American poetry and published books on Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore and Edgar Allen Poe. Phillips helped create the Women’s Studies Committee, laying the groundwork for establishing the department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She received the Medallion of Merit, the University’s highest honor, in 1992.

The road between Polo Road and Carroll Weathers Drive will be named Elizabeth Phillips Way in her honor, symbolically connecting her commitment to increasing visibility and access to the Wake Forest campus.

Dolly McPherson (1929-2011) was the first female, Black, tenure-track faculty member at Wake Forest. She arrived in 1974 and during her 27-year career at Wake Forest, she taught courses on British literature, African American fiction and autobiography. She supported the establishment of the Office of Minority Affairs, which has since become the Intercultural Center. She encouraged long-time friend Maya Angelou to join the faculty in 1982.

McPherson Road will run from Wake Forest Road beside the Sutton Center and several academic buildings, passing Maya Angelou Hall, and then connect to Faculty Drive.

Marjorie “Marge” Crisp (1912 – 2005) became Wake Forest’s first full-time female faculty member when she was hired in the physical education department in 1947. Crisp founded intercollegiate women’s athletics at Wake Forest and became the first Director of Women’s Athletics 50 years ago. She also created the women’s intramural program, coached the women’s golf team and was one of the first two women inducted into Wake Forest’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

Crisp Lane will lead from the future McPherson Road to the Haddock House, where the golf teams practice.

Herman Eure (1947- ) completed his Ph.D. at Wake Forest in 1974 and was appointed as the University’s first male, Black, tenure-track faculty member a few months later. He taught in the biology department for nearly 40 years and served in several administrative roles, including Associate Dean of the College. In 1978, he established the Office of Minority Affairs, which has since become the Intercultural Center. He also paved the way for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Eure currently serves as vice chair of the Board of Trustees. He received the Medallion of Merit in 2017.

Eure Drive will branch off Wake Forest Road, past the University’s science buildings where he lectured, taught and advised students and colleagues alike, and lead to Reynolda Hall, where he began his administrative career as Associate Dean of the College.

Road names were intentionally chosen to connect their campus location with each honoree’s experiences and contributions.

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