About Wake Forest University

“Wake Forest is a university dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the liberal arts and in graduate and professional education…Wake Forest has been dedicated to the liberal arts for over a century and a half; this means education in the fundamental fields of human knowledge and achievement, as distinguished from education that is technical or narrowly vocational. It seeks to encourage habits of mind that ask “why,” that evaluate evidence, that are open to new ideas, that attempt to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others, that accept complexity and grapple with it, that admit error, and that pursue truth.”

– Excerpt taken from the Wake Forest University Statement of Purpose

About Wake Forest

CommencementFounded in 1834, Wake Forest University is the nation’s premier collegiate university.  By placing high value on both faculty teaching and scholarship, the University challenges its students to be world-class learners and also provides a vibrant and contributing intellectual community.  One of the University’s greatest assets is its gifted and dedicated faculty of teacher-scholars. Wake Forest maintains its high academic standards by assuring that classes are taught by faculty members, not teaching assistants. Students—including undergraduates—often have the opportunity to participate in research projects with faculty mentors. Before you visit our campus, be sure to take a look at our interactive campus map!

Undergraduate enrollment is about 4,600; an additional 2,400 students are enrolled in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Law, the Schools of Business and the Divinity School on the Reynolda Campus, and in the Wake Forest University School of Medicine on the Bowman Gray campus near downtown Winston-Salem.

In the spirit of its motto, Pro Humanitate, Wake Forest encourages civic responsibility and volunteerism. The University’s extensive scholarship program recognizes not only talent within the classroom but also excellence in community service, leadership and the arts.

Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the University is consistently ranked in the top 30 national universities by U.S. News and World Report and receives high marks for its small class sizes, high study-abroad rates and commitment to technological innovation.


Wake Forest University was founded as the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute in 1834 by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.  In 1838 the school was renamed “Wake Forest College,” and the School of Law and School of Medicine were established in 1894 and 1902, respectively.  The college relocated from Wake Forest, North Carolina, to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1956 and became a university in 1967 after establishing a graduate school in 1961.  The Schools of Business began as the Babcock School of Management in 1969, and the School of Divinity was established in 1999.

To read more about the history of Wake Forest University, please visit the History of Wake Forest webpage, maintained by Professor Edwin Hendricks, and the special ten-part series in the Wake Forest Magazine on the history of the move to Winston-Salem.


As Wake Forest looks forward, we have developed a strategic plan that embraces and expounds upon the institution’s history as a collegiate university.  The plan uses the collegiate-university model to address the sophisticated needs of our society while preparing students for reflective leadership.  Our strategic plan also emphasizes engagement between students and faculty, connections between the liberal arts and professional programs, opportunity for students and their families and the conviction that we, as educators, are responsible for the education of the “whole person” — both in and outside the classroom.

By taking on such a wide-ranging set of goals, Wake Forest is making an important commitment to the experience of all the members of our academic community.  Part of our commitment is to properly equip our faculty and staff to meet this community’s standards for high expectations and considered mentoring of students.

We encourage you to learn more about the future of Wake Forest University by visiting the strategic plan website.