Wake Forest University remembers Dr. Maya Angelou

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Award-winning author, renowned poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou has died. She was 86.

Dr. Angelou had a huge impact on campus at Wake Forest University.

Wake Forest Provost Rogan Kersh said Dr. Angelou was woven into the fabric at the school.

Dr. Angelou taught for 32 years at Wake Forest University, beginning in spring 1983. Many of those classes she taught at her home in Winston-Salem.

Many of the professors at Wake Forest University said Dr. Angelou was like a mother and a mentor.

“She knew what to say to you in that moment,” Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Barbee Oakes said. “I would be with her before she would speak… and that moment on stage. She would collect herself, reach that place deep inside of her and go out and do what she needed to do.”

Dr. Angelou was scheduled to teach a class this fall titled “Race, Gender and Culture in the South, U.S. and Beyond.”

The university issued a statement on Wednesday:

Today members of the Wake Forest University community mourn the loss of beloved poet, author, actress, civil rights activist and professor Dr. Maya Angelou.

Dr. Angelou was a national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions around the world, including countless students, faculty, and staff at Wake Forest, where she served as Reynolds Professor of American Studies since 1982.

“Maya Angelou has been a towering figure — at Wake Forest and in American culture. She had a profound influence in civil rights and racial reconciliation. We will miss profoundly her lyrical voice and always keen insights.” - Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch

Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Angelou’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Details about a campus memorial service may be shared at a later date.