New fund for African American Studies named for Dr. Dolly A. McPherson

Dr. Dolly McPherson smiles in her doctoral regalia at the 2001 WFU Commencement Ceremony.

Dr. McPherson in 2001.

The new African American Studies Program at Wake Forest, which launches in Fall 2021, received an anonymous $1 million gift to establish the Dr. Dolly A. McPherson Fund for African American Studies in support of the program.

The Fund will help support the overall development of African American Studies including the creation of new and innovative courses, faculty research and collaboration, and a variety of programming designed to critically address pressing issues of public concern.

In an interview with Wake Forest News, Corey D.B. Walker, Wake Forest Professor of the Humanities and inaugural director of the African American Studies Program, said, “African American Studies at Wake Forest will build on our historic liberal arts tradition and will also deepen our understanding of Pro Humanitate. We are grateful for this generous gift that will enable us to better understand the complexity of the human experience and bring to campus visionary scholars who work on questions critical to the future of the nation.”

Dr. McPherson, who was the first Black woman to be a full-time faculty member at Wake Forest, was a beloved professor in the English department from 1974 until she retired in 2001. She taught courses on African American literature, the American autobiography, and British literature. She is the author of Order Out of Chaos: The Autobiographical Works of Maya Angelou. Dr. McPherson died in 2011.

Read the full Wake Forest News article, which includes more information about the new African American Studies Program, online here


Read About Dr. Dolly A. McPherson

“Remembering Dr. McPherson,” Dr. J. Ken Stuckey (’94, MA ’96) for Wake Forest Magazine

Dr. McPherson’s obituaries from Wake Forest and the Winston-Salem Journal

Maya Angelou on her 1971 visit to Wake Forest with Dr. McPherson for Ebony Magazine

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