WAKE FOREST — Wake Forest was settled in 1823, and named for large wooded areas of Northern Wake County. In the beginning, there was a college. The college was with the town, and the college was Wake Forest. The college became a university and moved to Winston-Salem. What remained in the town of Wake Forest since that day has truly been Biblical.
"If stones could just one day speak out... they could tell us tremendous history of 150 years or so" says Dr. George Braswell, professor of Missions.
But the stones are silent, and so is film footage from 1939. The pictures show a vibrant community filled with school children. Students of elementary school, high school and college. Wake Forest College.
A freshman at the college in 1954, Dr. Braswell is now part of the faculty on this campus... no longer Wake Forest College. For 42 years, the name has been Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The college moved to Winston-Salem in 1956.
Listen toauorReal Audiofile."Well that was a tremendous change for the community. They had a lot of friends that left. A lot of rooms were vacant in this town."When the college left, the seminary had plenty of room to grow. College Dean Gerald Cohen says the seminary is at full capacity now.
Listen toauorReal Audiofile."We're out of faculty offices, we're out of classroom space. We've been out of housing for three years."Unlike the old college, Southeastern Seminary will stay, with plans to grow beyond its stone walls. This fall, a four year liberal arts program begins. And Southeastern Seminary, says Cohen, will be called Southeastern College.
Listen toauorReal Audiofile."This will be in the form of a major called a history of ideas... where the seminars are set up reading the great books of the western world."Though the name "college" returns to this campus, Braswell says a football team is not part of the plans.
Listen toauorReal Audiofile."It's interesting that people still come here on a Saturday morning when there's a game on at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. I have been working here in my yard... and somebody would pull up at maybe ten in the morning on Saturday morning and say 'Where is the stadium' (laughs)."The stadium is two hours west of here. But if you wish to stay, Braswell says the view is well worth your while.
Listen toauorReal Audiofile."Of course, I'm a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. And I'm a graduate of this seminary. And I think I have been a part of two of the most beautiful campuses in the world."
In 1880 Wake Forest became a town. But it wasn't called "Wake Forest" until the turn of the century. It was referred to as the "town of Wake Forest College". Reporter/Photographer:Rick Armstrong