City approves new road names

Winston-Salem’s city council allows university to rename roads after prominent Wake Forest professors


Katie Fox

Soon, university street signs will no longer bear the name of former president and enslaver Washington Wingate.

Aine Pierre, Online Managing Editor

The city of Winston-Salem has approved Wake Forest’s request to rename four roads on campus after trailblazing professors, according to documents available on the city council’s website.

The ordinance, which is dated Aug. 15, allows Wake Forest to change the four road names on campus signs and informational materials. According to Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. José Villalba, the city, not the university, needs to install a replacement road sign for Elizabeth Phillips Way at the intersection that leads from Polo Road to the Polo Road Gate. The city council passed the ordinance as part of its consent agenda, meaning there was no debate or official vote on the measure.

“I’m grateful to the Winston-Salem City Council and specifically the Public Works Committee for reviewing our application, and approving and affirming this final step in honoring professors Crisp, Eure, McPherson and Phillips,” Villalba said.

On July 25, the university announced the renaming of four stretches of roadway after four professors. The section of Wingate Road that leads to the Polo Road Gate will be renamed after Dr. Elizabeth Phillips, the first full-time woman professor at Wake Forest, who played a sizable role in the creation of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department. The university also announced that it would rename the section of Wingate Road from Faculty Drive to the Sutton Center after Dr. Dolly McPherson, the first Black woman professor to achieve tenure at the university and lifelong friend and colleague of Dr. Maya Angelou. The section of Wake Forest Road that spans from Scales Fine Arts Center to Reynolda Hall will be renamed after Dr. Herman Eure, the first Black male to earn tenure at Wake Forest and one of the driving forces behind Wake Forest’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Finally, the section of road that leads from McPherson Road to the Haddock House will be named after Marge Crisp, who founded women’s athletics at Wake Forest and was the first full-time female professor at the university.

According to Villalba, the family of each honoree will work with the university to determine dates for an unveiling ceremony later this fall. The families, along with Eure, the only living honoree, will also attend homecoming festivities in September. 

“I’m looking forward to meeting with Dr. Eure as well as the families of the other honorees next month during homecoming, and continuing to work with campus partners to elevate the impact that these four pillars of Wake Forest had and continue to have on our campus,” Villalba said.