Wake Forest University 2018

Hearn Plaza (foreground) and Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University is shown here in 2018.

Some news today from Wake Forest University: The Winston-Salem school met its fundraising goal of $1 billion well ahead of schedule.

From a news release:

A $1.5 million gift from Arnold Palmer’s Trust establishing the Winifred W. Palmer Professorship in Literature at Wake Forest, moved the University’s Wake Will Lead campaign beyond the $1 billion milestone. The campaign is scheduled to conclude June 30, 2020.

The university's president, Nathan Hatch, called it an "historic moment in the life of Wake Forest University." Not only is this the largest fundraising campaign in Wake Forest history, the university also announced the milestone on the 68th anniversary of the groundbreaking for its Winston-Salem campus. That's the event that brought President Harry Truman to town.

This is the second time Wake Forest made its fundraising campaign goal. It hit its original $600 million target in 2016. After revising its goal into 10-digit territory, Wake hit this new target eight months ahead of schedule.

Wake is using the money for student scholarships and financial aid, endowed professorships and new and renovated facilities. You can read more about the campaign here.

The Arnold Palmer Trust, by the way, is connected to the late golfing great, who attended Wake Forest College on a golf scholarship in the late 1940s and early 1950s. You can read more about Arnold Palmer and Wake Forest here. Winifred Palmer, better known as "Winnie," was married to Arnold Palmer for 45 years until her death in 1999.

Update, 4:20 p.m. Tuesday: I should have mentioned this originally, but Wake Forest has already named its first Palmer professor: It's English professor Dean Franco, who specializes in Jewish cultural studies and Chicano and Latino literature, among other things. Here's the official announcement from WFU about his appointment.

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