Wait Chapel

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Wait Chapel's distinctive edifice dominates the main quad at Wake Forest University.

Wait Chapel is a building on the campus of Wake Forest University. It houses the Janet Jeffrey Carlile Harris Carillon of 48 bells. The chapel seats 2,250 people. The steeple reaches to 213 feet. It also houses the Williams Organ, donated by Walter McAdoo Williams, namesake of Walter M. Williams High School.

The first building constructed on the Reynolda campus of Wake Forest University, it was named in memory of Samuel Wait, the university's first president, in October 1956.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Wait Chapel on October 11, 1962.[1] On March 17, 1978, President Jimmy Carter made a major National Security address in Wait Chapel.[2] In 1988, it hosted a presidential debate between George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. On October 11, 2000, it hosted the presidential debate between candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore. On September 13, 2007 it hosted a broadcast of National Public Radio (NPR) show, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. The show aired on September 15.[3] Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. spoke there in November 2011. A private memorial ceremony for Dr. Maya Angelou was held in Wait Chapel on June 7, 2014. Attendees included First Lady Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey.[4]

The Chapel is linked to a vast underground series of tunnels crisscrossing the campus carrying utilities.[5]

The congregation of Wake Forest Baptist Church holds regular Sunday services in the chapel. In the late 1990s the chapel became the center of controversy when members of the church decided to conduct a same-sex commitment ceremony.[6] Other events held in the chapel throughout the year, include a Moravian lovefeast during the Christmas season.


  1. ^ "King Asks Whites to Aid Integration" (PDF). Old Gold and Black (48.4). 15 October 1962. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Address at Wake Forest University".
  3. ^ "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me".
  4. ^ Tooley, Elaine. "A celebration of rising joy: Family, friends and honored guests remember Dr. Maya Angelou". Wake Forest University News Center. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Old Gold and Black".
  6. ^ "A Union In Wait".


  1. NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me
  2. Winston-Salem Journal, Winston-Salem NC, 19 April 1978
  3. A Union In Wait

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Coordinates: 36°08′07″N 80°16′44″W / 36.1352°N 80.2790°W / 36.1352; -80.2790