WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Fifty years ago Friday, the Board of Trustees at Wake Forest University voted to end racial segregation. Some said that decision is still changing the university today.
At the kickoff of what the school calls a yearlong anniversary celebration, school leaders said Wake Forest was the first private southern university to end racial segregation.
Dr. Ed Wilson, the university's Provost Emeritus, kicked off the integration events. He started with a question to students.
"Why then, in 1962, was Wake Forest finally ready to take a stand for equality and justice?"
Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Barbee Oakes said the answer is simple.
"Having all that diversity here on this campus is important, because when those students are in the classroom, they are bringing different perspectives to the conversations, and our students need that," Oakes said.
Now, at what started as a Baptist University, Wake Forest has more catholic students than anything else.
There is a Muslim and Jewish student group.
There is an office for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer and questioning students.
And nearly 25 percent of the student body is something other than white.