Wake Forest Medical School


A half-century after the Baptist Biblical Recorder suggested that Wake Forest College establish a medical department, in 1902 the two-year Wake Forest Medical School opened with thirteen students in its charter class. College President Charles A. Taylor and Medical School Dean Dr. Fred K. Cooke insisted on high academic requirements for admission, including previous college study.

Enrollment grew and, by the late 1930s, approximately sixty students were attending the WFC Medical School annually. Despite economic constraints over the years, the school expanded its facilites and courses, opened a college hospital, and received recognition and accreditation for its rigorous program to train physicians.

In 1941, following the national trend to discontinue two-year schools– and the growing emphasis upon associating medical schools with training hospitals– the WFC Medical School instituted a four-year curriculum and joined forces with the North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. This move was made possible by financial support from the Bowman Gray Fund.

The change was one important factor in Wake Forest’s move to Winston-Salem fifteen years later.

Today, Wake Forest University School of Medicine (formerly Bowman Gray School of Medicine) is part of the extensive Wake Forest University Medical Center facility encompassing 100 buildings on 290 acres.


  1. My father was a student in Wake Forest Medical School sometime around 1930. He died 39 years ago. Could someone help me find out exactly when he was there? His name was Duncan Kinsman McNair. Thank you so much.

    1. Absolutely! We’d love to help. We have good records and will research your father’s med school years when the museum resumes regular hours on Tuesday. Will let you know what we learn!

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