Campus Memorialization Steering Committee


April 2023: Campus Memorial Project is announced. Read the story »

In April 2021, the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees– acting on findings from the Advisory Committee on Naming— voted unanimously on a resolution to create a campus memorial. 

The memorial will remember and honor the humanity of the enslaved men, women and children who worked for or were sold to benefit the University. It will also put in context the record of Samuel Wait, Wake Forest College’s founder and first president, as a person who had enslaved persons serving his household, and who oversaw the liquidation of the Blount Estate on May 7, 1860 as chair of the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees resolved that “the final context, appearance, and location of the memorial be recommended by the president, along with participation and consideration by the Administration and Finance Committees as the project progresses.” 

The Campus Memorialization Steering Committee was appointed by President Wente in April 2023 to provide direction and expertise to the memorial project effort. The University has selected the architectural and design firm, Baskervill, to guide a community-engaged design process with direction from the steering committee. 

The Committee will also serve as an ad hoc administrative committee on honorifics to identify and recommend a permanent name for the Divinity and Religious Studies building. 

Committee members:

Michele Gillespie
Provost and Presidential Endowed Professor of Southern History (Co-Chair) 

José Villalba
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer (Co-Chair)   

Derek Hicks
Associate Professor, School of Divinity

Keenon Mann
Association of Wake Forest Black Alumni (AWFUBA) President

Tanya Zanish Belcher
Director of Special Collections and Archives, ZSR Library

Lisa Blee
Associate Professor of History

Simeon Ilesamni
Professor of Religious Studies, Study of Religions

Terry Brock
Manager of Archaeology and Research, Wake Forest Historical Museum  

Morna O’Neill
Professor and Chair of Art

NOTE: Wake Forest student members will also be appointed before the fall 2023 semester begins

Special Advisor to the Committee:

Corey D. B. Walker
Wake Forest Professor of Humanities, Interim Dean of the School of Divinity and Director of the African American Studies Program 

Ex Officio (staff to CMSC)

Ashleigh Brock
Chief of Staff, President


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