A new residence hall at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., will be named for poet, actress, author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.
Angelou taught at Wake Forest as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at the University from 1982 until her death in 2014.
The university says that Maya Angelou Hall will be a 76,110-square-foot, five-story building that will house 224 first-year students. The residence hall, now under construction on the south side of campus, will be completed by the end of the year and open in January 2017.
Barbee Oakes, chief diversity officer at Wake Forest and a friend of Angelou, says the residence hall will be a tangible reminder of Angelou’s legacy.
“Dr. Angelou opened her home to people from every nation," says Oakes. "How fitting to name a residence hall after someone who embodied the courage to bridge divides and foster an appreciation for our shared humanity.”
Maya Angelou Hall will be first building at Wake Forest named for an African American and the second residence hall to bear the name of a female professor. Johnson residence hall is named for Lois Johnson, who served as dean of women and taught French at Wake Forest.
Angelou is perhaps best known for her 1969 book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” She first came to Wake Forest in 1973 for a speaking engagement and joined the faculty nine years later.
Over the years, she taught a variety of humanities courses, including “World Poetry in Dramatic Performance,” “Race, Politics and Literature,” “African Culture and Impact on U.S.,” “Race in the Southern Experience” and “Shakespeare and the Human Condition.”
Maya Angelou Hall is the first new residence hall for first-year students built since the construction of South Hall in 2010. In August 2013, Magnolia and Dogwood residence halls opened on North Campus for upperclass undergraduate students.