Five Years: An Interview
Magazine, September 1972
Ralph Scales' Annual Report to the Trustees and Alumni
of Wake Forest University
In the past, President Scales
has issued a more formal report of the events of the year. The report
for 1971-72, however, takes the form of an interview, with the questions
posed by Bill Joiner '66, director of alumni affairs. Dr. Scales, who
came to Wake Forest in the summer of 1967, has now completed five years
Q. As we come to the end of
your first five years, how do you assess the year just closed in comparison
with the other four years of your administration?
A. Wake Forest in 1971-72
reflected the national climate. It was a quiet year and, I think, productive.
The apparent indifference to political issues was perhaps deceptive. Only
a few students answered the calls to mass action on any public issue.
Campus issues aroused a bit more interest. Old Gold and Black was an accurate
mirror of the concerns of young people robbed of the certainties of the
past. The Book Store reports that The Greening of America and the Whole
Earth Catalog continued as best sellers, but the robust visions of revolutionary
change in "the System" seemed to be lost in the private reflections
and economic anxieties of a graduating class that found few glamorous
jobs waiting and sometimes no job at all.
The familiar routines of the
college campus make it difficult sometimes to distinguish one year from
another. Sorting out the moods, programs, and events of the year to discover
what was truly memorable is an exercise for the diarist, and each person's
recollections will be determined by his special tastes
I recall it as the year in
which the completion of an eight-year campaign for a $43,000,000 Medical
Center was finally assured; when the first class appeared for a new kind
of management education in the Babcock School; when Wake Forest granted
twice as many degrees as ever before in its history – thanks to a special
November convocation when the majority of living law alumni elected to
add the newly standard J.D. to the LL.B. degrees earned before 1967; and
I remember the powerful convocation address of Vernon Jordan, Whitney
Young's successor in the Urban League; the closely reasoned Commencement
address of Congressman Gerald Ford; and two remarkable speeches by alumni,
George Williamson's at Founder's Day and Walt Friedenberg's at reunion.
It was the first year in the
New Dorm, as yet unnamed, not just an experiment but a showcase of the
idea that the residence hall can be at the center of the educational experience.
Many classes and seminars, as well as the traditional after-hours discussions,
have convened there around the fountain in the courtyard or the three
levels converging on the central fireplace. It was a happy house, and
some features of the experiment can be adapted to the residence halls
built in an earlier era.
It was the first year for
the Venice House. John Andronica of the classics department directed the
program, and under his leadership Wake Forest became identified with the
cultural life of a unique European city. It was the first trial for the
new 4-1-4 calendar and the revised curriculum for undergraduates. The
first Winter Term found 15 per cent of the students pursuing off-campus
projects, nine groups overseas. The semester at Poona in India produced
the expected culture shock and fresh understandings of an ancient civilization.
Among the memories that crowd
for expression are of a golden autumn day in which Arnold Palmer and Jack
Lewis teamed to win the exhibition benefit match open of the new Bermuda
Run course and adding $15,000 to Buddy Worsham Scholarship Fund; an elegant
dinner honoring trustees of the Reynolds Foundation and marking the 25th
anniversary of the contractual relationship between Convention, Foundation,
and College; a cold New Year's Day when we rushed from a new indoor tennis
court made available to our team and said Godspeed to a planeload of 250
headed for various programs in Europe. In the spring was a triumphant
Reynolda House reception for the Vienna Symphony, the centerpiece of the
fine arts symposium which relieved the tedium of March and excited new
hopes for the long-deferred facilities for music, art, and speech.
In years to come I may also
recall waiting my turn at the New York alumni dinner while Frank Mankiewicz
confidently outlined the strategy of George McGovern for the presidential
nomination. Perhaps the sophisticated New Yorkers present did not share
my skepticism or my impatience to get on with some earnest talk about
the need of an arts complex at Wake Forest.
It was the first season without
Charlie Davis in Memorial Coliseum. It was the first season without Lanny
Wadkins in golf, and the last for Jim Simons, Eddie Pearce, and Slate
Tuttle. It was the last also for the two Larrys, Hopkins and Russell,
who will be remembered for such masterpieces as the victories over Duke,
Tulsa, and William and Mary.
It was the year of our return
to the old Wake Forest, 700 strong. On a Saturday afternoon in October,
we marched behind the band to the old chapel and heard the Provost reminisce
about his undergraduate days a generation ago. The Southeastern Seminary
under Olin T. Binkley '28, welcomed the contemporary Wake Forest student
to an unfamiliar but unforgettable scene. The town could not have been
more hospitable. Mrs. George Mackie, trustee, and the local committee
were hosts to a nostalgic picnic at the old Groves Stadium. Ours is a
successful transplant, but a new and healthy organism occupies the space
It was a year of quiet satisfactions,
cataloguing the rare volumes of English history and literature from the
library of the late Chief Justice Hunt Parker, and the 5,000 volumes from
the shelves of Edwin Stringham, professor emeritus of music at Chapel
Hill. It was another year when WFDD maintained its unique reputation as
North Carolina's good music station – for all 366 days.
Q. In these five years have
you made any decisions as to the limits of growth? In the undergraduate
College? in law? medicine? the new professional School of Business?
A. If there is a single topic
on which the University has reached consensus, it is satisfaction with
Wake Forest's present size. These limits are not rigid, and in fact, there
has been moderate growth in registration for years. We are coming close
to attaining the outer limits established for the Ford Foundation Self-Study
At that time no one could
have foreseen the pressures for legal education, to which we have responded
by enlarging the law building (now called the Guy Carswell Building),
and doubling the size of the entering class. But we must be careful not
to over-build; the prospects are for a surfeit of lawyers by 1975.
The difficulties of getting
into medical school have long been accepted. Orderly expansion has occurred
in these five years, from 56 to 89 members in the first-year class in
the M.D. program, and greater increases in the allied health services,
leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. in medical science as well. The Babcock
School of Management has been from its inception a specialized school,
not attempting to teach every business skill, but to educate leaders who
are themselves devoted to liberal learning and committed to the businessman's
role as civic man, patron of the arts, and model employer. That is not
an elitist concept, but because of the lofty expectations we have for
the Babcock School, a self-selection process limits the numbers who apply.
There is a ceiling of 200 for the two-year Master of Management program.
The State of North Carolina
has provided a strong incentive for increasing the enrollment of its citizens
in medical school, and the Law School has its own built-in attraction
for residents who wish to practice here. In these years when many private
colleges have suffered for want of qualified applicants, the Wake Forest
problem is a good one. Completed applications for the undergraduate College
increased by 21 per cent this year, but even so, 76 per cent of the applications,
most of them from outside the state, could not be accommodated. In the
law school, where the entering class has been increased by almost 50 per
cent, only one in ten of the completed applications was successful. The
burdened office of the medical school winnowed 84 first-year students
from 3,769 completed applications. That works out to a little over two
per cent, or stated another way, 98 per cent disappointment.
The fall 1971 enrollment of
3,738 (2,583 men and 1,155 women) was served by a faculty of 558, of whom
407 were full-time, and almost half of these were at the Medical Center.
The University's extensive research activities account for many of these
appointments, but research is by no means exclusively a concern of the
I have just made a rough calculation
that, if the College and all the professional schools and graduate school
admitted all who have applied, the Wake Forest enrollment would rise from
3,738 to something over 12,000 this fall. In a few years -- assuming that
instruction and libraries and housing and food could be found for these
multitudes -- we could be a contender with Minnesota at 68,000, Illinois
57,000, Ohio State 50,000 and Maryland of our own ACC with 36,000 — if
in some aberration the Trustees opted for the giant's role. No constituency
from the official governing board, the Alumni Council, present student
or past, wants Wake Forest to compete.
Q. Is student power here to
A. Yes. Students sit on the
Board of Trustees, two with voices and one with votes. They sit on University
committees. Two are planning the long-range development of the University
as members of the "1984 Committee," or Sesquicentennial Commission,
which is the long-range planning agency for the institution. It must always
be remembered that the normal student tenure is four years, that because
of the distractions of many competing causes, attention to many questions
is likely to be sporadic; and that sustained involvement in administrative
work over a long period cannot reasonably be expected.
Q. Is the blurring of traditional
roles of trustees, faculty, and administration frustrating?
A. It is frustrating at times.
A commitment once given cannot easily be withdrawn. Authority once exerted
becomes a precedent that is not lightly overthrown.
There was a time when all
the relationships of the University were thoroughly understood. We were
governed by a kind of common law. Now we must write down everything, not
only for ourselves but for all our constituencies, including the government
and especially the courts. People want certainty: Who decides the curriculum?
Who admits? Who expels? Who runs the school? These questions could be
answered more promptly in an authoritarian day. Now when more people are
asserting their right to a voice in these decisions, the answers are much
more complex. I am persuaded that in the constant changes that have marked
these five years, Wake Forest is working out these problems reasonably
Q. Your last Student Body
president was one of the most colorful and vocal in recent history. Did
all of his clamor fall on deaf ears?
A. You refer to Mr. H. William
deWeese of Waynesville, Pa. He was my friend, and I shall miss him. He
never made a "non-negotiable demand" upon me, although I must
say he pressed his claims with a vigorous vocabulary.
Q. Are women being accepted
or only admitted at Wake Forest?
A. They were admitted 30 years
ago, in 1942. I should say that in 1972, their acceptance is total, pervasive,
inescapable. In those sectors of the University where women have not been
conspicuous, they are suddenly in the forefront. The first woman to be
elected student body president, Miss Marylou Cooper, has attended her
first meeting of the Board of Trustees and the first meeting of the Sesquicentennial
Planning Commission: she serves on the Central Committee. The first Kenan
Professor has been named. We sought a scholar of international distinction,
and chose Germaine Bree, whose field is 20th century French literature.
The Administrative Council has added a second woman member, Mrs. Margaret
Perry, who succeeded Grady Patterson as registrar on July 1. The medical
and law schools have quadrupled their female registration in these five
years. We have made no attempts to meet quotas; it is not the coercion
of government that has controlled our appointments. Long established departments
in the College, except in the foreign languages, do not in fact have many
women professors on their registers. No reformer has suggested that tenured
men should be relieved of their duties to make way for women. In Wake
Forest College, just now reaching a 60/ 40 male/female ratio, the women
regularly capture 65 to 70 per cent of elections to Phi Beta Kappa. When,
if ever, strict quotas are imposed, the undergraduate males may seek redress
of grievances and demand a 60/40 allocation for all intellectual honors.
Q. As Alumni Director I have
more questions about admissions policies than any other subject. Is Wake
Forest interested only in out-of-state students with high College Board
A. This is also my most vexing
question. I can answer it simply: No. The figures dispute the mistaken,
but evidently widespread, belief that, in some calculated reach for regional
or national recognition, Wake Forest has neglected its traditional constituency.
I can state categorically that, in every branch of the University, more
North Carolinians have been accepted each year than in each of the previous
five years. That is true in absolute numbers; the ratios for undergraduates
have remained almost constant at 50/50, North Carolinians vis-a-vis out-of-staters.
To achieve a truly cosmopolitan
mix, we need more foreign students. The bona fide overseas registration
has seldom exceeded one per cent. Since our founding, Virginia has been
second, and this historic position has been maintained. Maryland is now
third, followed by New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Q. At the Wake County alumni
meeting recently, you used the Biblical phrase, "Giants in the Earth,"
referring to the faculty of the old campus. Have any intellectual giants
appeared on the new campus to replace those you praised?
A. I am certain of it. The
deans and the departmental chairmen know who they are. The students know.
The Greensboro First Baptist Church awards for excellence in teaching,
announced at the formal opening of each school year, went this year to
John Moorhouse in economics and Peter Weigl in biology. These young men
in their thirties are only the latest to be publicly recognized for the
kind of teaching that has always distinguished Wake Forest. Great teachers
come in many molds. Some are quiet and analytical. Others have the gifts
of style, and their rhetoric is impressive. A lecture under such a master
is an instant rebuke to critics who scorn that much maligned method of
teaching. Other professors achieve as much with the magic symbols of mathematics,
musical notation, and the inductive demonstration. Administrators should
select the best, then leave them alone.
Q. Wake Forest lost two head
coaches this year to higher paying jobs. Is this an indication of a de-emphasis
A. The operative phrase is
"higher paying jobs." Both Coach Stoll (football) and Coach
McCloskey (basketball) left amicably, Stoll to Minnesota and McCloskey
to the professional Trail Blazers in Portland. Sports writers have commented
that these departures represent success of sorts: the penalty of winning!
We had a better football team in 1971 than in the ACC Championship year
of 1970 and although we came within a few yards and a few seconds of another
ACC crown, we had to be satisfied with a second successive winning season.
Tom Harper, 40, who played for Kentucky and was our defensive coordinator
in 1968-71, became head coach. He had a banner recruiting year. The outlook
for this year is a better offense and a weaker defense and a tougher schedule.
The basketball situation was
different. The team finished sixth in the Conference and won only eight
games of 26. Carl Tracy, the highly successful coach who came to us from
Marshall University, is said to have recruited the best talent since the
days of Len Chappell.
Golf, tennis, and swimming
had fine years, the golfers winning their sixth straight ACC Championship,
Jim Simons ranking as the leading amateur in the U. S. Open - the second
straight year, and Eddie Pearce joining Danny Wadkins, Jim Simons and
Lennie Thompson in the pro ranks.
Tennis had its best year in
nearly half a century, since the days of Hubert Poteat, Jasper Memory,
et. al. Jim Leighton's '72 team lost the conference crown to the perennial
champion Tar Heels, and the second-place finish, completing a 17-3 season,
was accomplished by five dazzling players from overseas (Czechoslovakia,
Australia, Jamaica), and one Floridian.
Coach Leo Ellison is building
a solid tradition in swimming (8-3). Baseball under Beattie Feathers had
an 8-18 record; the track team went 3-3, and the cross country, 3-7-1.
The intercollegiate athletics
program was budgeted for a deficit of $212,000, but the final deficit
was less than half that figure. I am impressed by the academic orientation
of the Athletic Council, and by the leadership of Professor Sawyer (mathematics)
among national reformers in NCAA, and by the superb management of the
athletic director. Revenues of $1.6 million approached a respectable balance
with expenditures ($1.7 million). In the four years we have been in Groves
Stadium, football revenue increased from $287,000 to $650,000, and the
Deacon Club contributions are up from $120,000 to $321,000.
The memory of Brian Piccolo
grows. The highly popular book, A Short Season, and a television
motion picture, "Brian's Song", were launched on Piccolo's birthday
by Lou Malnotti of Chicago, who established a $15,000 a year scholarship
in Piccolo's memory, contributed by his friends in the Chicago area. His
widow, Joy Piccolo, spoke at the annual athletic awards program. If only
a few thousand more fans would buy season tickets; if only a few score
would join the 400 members of the Stadium Club and the 2,000 members of
the Deacon Club; if only old campaign pledges were paid up!—intercollegiate
athletics would be operating on a balanced budget, a goal reached by fewer
than 10 per cent of the "major powers." The significant achievement
is that a school the size of Wake Forest, with limited resources, maintains
a sound athletics pace alongside much larger universities.
Q. In your annual "State
of the Union" message in May you named the vital issues of the tern
just closed and shared with us your vision of the long-term goals of the
University. Was this for internal consumption, or are our alumni entitled
to know about them?
A. It was a public address,
and I am delighted to proclaim these ideas. People will help when they
know what our needs are. The thrust of that address was that, however
impressive the physical facilities, Wake Forest must not neglect its historic
distinction as a good school with a good faculty. We must find better
ways of identifying, appointing, and rewarding good teachers. Outstanding
research must be encouraged, and the year just closed was one of our best,
as measured by the number of scholarly books and papers produced and invitations
received by faculty to address professional meetings. The sabbatical program
begun by Reynolds Industries must be vastly expanded. Such faculty retreats
as provided by the John Cheek Memorial Fund in Venice have done much to
stimulate morale. A good library, essential to the academic man's personal
development, added 48,054 volumes during the year, and by 1974, will be
requiring the space now used by the theatre and other activities of the
Department of Speech. The services of the library are broad, but some
restrictions have been necessary in a time of inflationary budgets. A
university press, another spur to faculty achievement, cannot even be
considered without the prospect of sizable gifts. Many university presses
have become costly appendages that must be subsidized from instructional
funds. It is my earnest hope that alumni and other friends concerned to
stimulate good writing and attract great teachers to Wake Forest will
one day provide a university press. This campus should furnish an example
of environmental concern. The restoration of Reynolda Village and Lake
Katharine has reached beyond the circle of a few environmentalists and
has become the business of the whole community.
I expressed the hope also
that the University would be a model employer for all of its non-academic
people, as well as the faculty. Wages and salaries have not been competitive.
Moreover, we must review the fringe benefits that will make academic life
competitive with the most enlightened industry.
Under six successive alumni
presidents, I have seen a determination that Wake Forest become the kind
of school of which the alumni of every era can be proud. I want us to
be a model alma mater. We have only begun to bring together the story
of our institution. Bynum Shaw has been designated to write the history
of Wake Forest, updating the three volumes that George W. Paschal completed
30 years ago. The growth of the Ethel Taylor Crittenden Collection in
the University archives is of more than antiquarian concern. John R. Woodard,
the director, has been selective in the acquisition of official records,
private collections, and church publications. Some of the newly arrived
papers have been promptly searched by graduate students reconstructing
our history. I am particularly grateful to the heirs of Odus Mull and
Irving Carlyle for the papers of these men, invaluable to North Carolina
Every alumnus, particularly
at the half-century mark, is asked for three things: his reminiscences
of the Wake Forest years, his biography, and his voice: I speak of Professor
Aycock's work in compiling a collection of tapes. Lewis Aycock '26, now
retired from teaching English and art, is devoting himself to this collection.
The Alumni Office is assisting him in collecting portraits and photographs.
Students need to be surrounded by reminders of the greatness of the past.
We have sought from the families and friends of Wake Forest alumni formal
portraits in oil, as well as newspaper photographs, water colors, and
sketches. Not ruled out are acrylics, mosaics, or terra cotta!
The three fires on the old
campus in the early 1930's left us with a thin archival heritage. It is
urgent for us to close the gap by getting the records and memoirs, pictures
and tapes of our alumni before it is too late. In the current year, we
lost members of the Class of 1896, 1897, and 1902. Only Dr. J. Clyde Turner
'99 remains from the last century.
Q. In your judgment has there
been any depreciation in the value of a Wake Forest degree in these five
A. No. I was reading the other
day the swan song of Logan Wilson as president of the American Council
on Education. His statement, one of the most incisive analyses of recent
trends, was directed against the erosion of academic standards on the
American campus. Some of the doctrines he identified as cheapening the
intellectual content of college work will be recognized by all readers
of current literature:
(1) The fallacy of "relevance":
"Only the young can truly perceive the imperfections of our era";
(2) "The fetish of educational
change for its own sake";
(3) "The instant authority
of the politicos, dabsters and arrivistes";
(4) "The Noah's Ark principle"
of participatory democracy, i.e. who participates in decisions and actions
is more important than what is decided and accomplished;
(5) The egalitarianist orthodoxy:
"In our commendable zeal to eliminate snobbism in higher education,
we may be inadvertently institutionalizing slobbism in its place."
(6) "The self-flagellation
syndrome." Continuous institutional self-examination and criticism
are undoubtedly beneficial, but unending catharsis depletes the energies
of everyone concerned.
Logan Wilson would be the
first to admit that he has coined some pungent phrases to dramatize his
argument. This may be a case of extravagant rhetoric, of fighting the
devil with his own fire. But setting the evil doctrines of his valedictory
against the Wake Forest experience, I feel better about the changes that
have come -- all too swiftly for traditional taste -- in these turbulent
It would be foolish to claim
that Wake Forest has not been influenced by the pressures and anxieties
that feed these theories. All of us who know the need for university reform
have been touched by fashionable ideas that would seem to hasten the laudable
movement to end the sterility of the college experience. But our zeal
has been moderated by a higher concern to halt the corruption of standards
of admission and graduation and the ultimate debasement of the credentials
It would be premature to advertise
as improvements all the changes we have made. What can be claimed is that
the changes have been made in an orderly way according to the Charter
and Bylaws of the various faculties. On major issues, faculty debate has
been lengthy and reasonable. We have a new calendar, a new curriculum,
revised grading procedures. But none of these has "enthroned mediocrity,"
nor have we compromised with spurious dogmas that would discard the merit
Q. You mentioned Venice, Poona,
and other centers of Wake Forest International. You visited the Venice
House this summer. What is your opinion of overseas study programs?
A. The answer depends on the
program, the place, and the people. Foreign study is not for everybody.
Language is a critical element. Receptivity to alien cultures is another.
If the experience is to be effective, it must have a genuine academic
purpose. To be sure, travel to any new place is "educational"
in a limited sense, and more than 200 institutions now offer credit for
some sort of foreign study. These programs are of uneven quality, and
some are unrelated to intellectual life.
No one would deny the special
appeal of the Venice House, located on the Grand Canal next to the Guggenheim
museum of twentieth century art. The whole city is an art museum, and
the musical calendar is crowded. Who can place a value on the role we
have assumed in the international cultural community? Would any student
forget the amateur theatrical in our own garden, attended by such notables
as Ezra Pound and Peggy Guggenheim?
Some programs demand at least
a full year in residence abroad. We have planned the work in Venice for
at least one semester. The Winter Term is ideal for such concentrated
courses as Theater in London, or perhaps a single archaeological project.
The overview of several societies in one- or two-day stands is academically
thin and physically tiring.
I believe most of the Wake
Forest overseas work has been carefully planned. The students who stayed
at home joked about the "Four-Fun-Four Plan," but those who
travelled abroad found that it was not all fun: term papers still must
Q. What are the most pressing
bricks-and-mortar goals for the campus?
A. Facilities for the fine
arts; a student health center; a public affairs forum or auditorium to
relieve the crowded calendar of events and provide for conferences and
seminars that come within the yawning gap between DeTamble (200 seats)
and Wait Chapel (2,400 seats); a mathematics-physics building; refurbishing
of residence halls; and the renovation of Reynolda Village.
Q. Many private colleges have
collapsed or run enormous deficits. Is Wake Forest in trouble?
A. We have not run a deficit
in many years, but the balance in operational funds on June 30, 1972,
was $1,725 Careful management made possible an increase of $192,000 in
the maintenance funds for unbudgeted improvements, and the endowment rose
by $6,770,526. It should be noted that only $1,218,331 of this sum was
new funds; the rest represented market gains. Market values fluctuate,
of course, and the figure for June 30, 1972, was $52,065,976. The balance
sheet indicates indebtedness of $3,965,828, long-term obligations that
until now have been retired on schedule. These are self-liquidating. It
should be noted further that income from all sources increased: endowment,
tuition, church support, alumni giving, and direct grants from foundations,
corporations, and individuals. Since the passage of the tax reform act
of 1969, foundation giving has leveled off while the of these philanthropic
agencies have been in the process of revising their policies. Student
aid has risen to almost a million and a half dollars. The Baptist State
Convention increased its support last year from $454,946 to $489,955.
Annual giving rose from $121,309 to $154,563. Virtually all of this increase
has come from new givers. We can now count 36 per cent of our living alumni
giving through the Annual Fund program or to capital needs, the President's
Club (at least $1,000 a year) or the Deacon Club.
Wake Forest has many friends,
who have provided a margin of safety in a time of peril for private institutions.
May their tribe increase!
Q. All sorts of special institutes
have been established at Wake Forest in recent years. Are these not a
drain on the resources of the University?
A. No. They pay their own
way. We provide shelter to the Academic Consortium of the four Winston-Salem
schools: Salem, Winston-Salem State, the School of the Arts, and Wake
Forest. Julius Corpening '49 was the first director, and after he became
director of the Deferred Gifts Program, David Smith, Harvard Law graduate,
took charge. This is a venture of joint corporate citizenship, in which
the colleges pool their skills in such activities as tutoring, health
research, police training, recreational leadership. Lately we have offered
our services for the community observance of the bicentennial of 1976.
We co-operate with Reynolda
House in providing staff and accommodations for the American Studies program.
We have been for five years
a partner in the Church and Industry Institute, which has brought together
800 clergymen and 30 industries. The program is now offered for credit
in 13 seminaries. The young seminarians spend some time in ordinary jobs
on the assembly line, or in corporate offices, or on the salesman's route:
they emerge with a better understanding of American business.
Richard Ottaway, the organizer
of Church and Industry, has turned his talents to the Human Enterprises
Institute, a broad umbrella-for many efforts to improve community leadership,
the understanding of criminal justice, and organizing to respond to school
integration by federal court orders.
The Ecumenical Institute under
J. William Angell, professor of religion, has drawn on the scholarship
of Catholic and Jewish scholars for interfaith conferences this year.
Most notable of many eminent religious leaders who were our guests on
campus were Archbishop Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Church, Pastor Winfried
Maechler of Berlin (leading interpreter of Bonhoeffer), and Carl Bates,
president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
All these, and such special
events as the national high school debate tournament, held on our campus
in June, were totally financed outside the University budget.
Q. You said at one time that
the college presidency is "where the action is." Why then the
high turnover among college presidents?
A. I have not seen the latest
mortality statistics. These have been years of stress for everyone in
education. Perhaps our society expects too much of its schools. The job
is never done, and a profound weariness indicates it is time for a change.
Kingman Brewster of Yale, who seems to have great zest for the job, recently
stood for reelection. That would appear to be a hazardous process for
some of us. I hope none of us who presume to be educators become so dogmatic
in our educational theories that we are unable to adapt to challenge.
We need the strength to resist
the fashionable. After Sputnik I there was a great rush toward the sciences.
In the early days of the Peace Corps, the foreign languages flourished.
All sorts of ephemeral movements have been advertised as earth-shaking
innovations, to be incorporated in the catalogue of every good college
without further delay. Times of dynamic change are often followed by periods
of quiescence, if not lassitude and decay. It is the business of the administrator
to consolidate the gains, the increment of good that comes from all movements
of reform. Obviously, some leaders are better prepared for the quick thrust
of change. Some of us are temperamentally better suited to quiet times.
Some restless men and women can do their best work in transitional times.
It is this last group, I think who shorten the averages and escape from
the pressures. The man needs a change; the university needs a change
Q. In a profile by Roger Rollman
in the Winston-Salem Journal, you are quoted as saying, "Financial
management is not my strength," yet Dr. Coy Carpenter's history cites
you as "the leading money raiser of any administration in Wake Forest
A. No inconsistency there.
No one really enjoys asking for money! And Dr. Carpenter was generous
in giving the administration credit for the work of volunteers.
Q. The same article stresses
your relationship with the North Carolina Baptist Convention and improved
understanding with the churches. Have you enjoyed this side of your work?
A. Yes, very much. The denominational
leadership and the ministers have been unfailingly kind to this layman.
After 138 years, they are still proud to claim kinship. As Moderator of
the Baptist Association these past two years, I have seen something of
the problems of the local churches, and the churchmen have shown concern
for the future of their colleges. After all, we are working with the same
human material -- the youthful sector of it.
Q. Do you have enough help,
volunteer and professional?
A. No. No institution, whatever
its renown, can afford the kind of professional staff needed for the sophisticated
operation of today's campus. Some of our work is done by computer. I am
glad to report that human beings are still available. Some essential work
would have been deferred without the help of such volunteers as Floyd
Fletcher '33, who drove regularly from Durham to Winston-Salem to co-ordinate
the work of development and alumni affairs. In the last year, I have relied
on an old and capable friend, Dr. James P. Speer II, Foreign Service officer,
broker, writer and teacher, who has done a thorough job in analyzing our
work and organizing the tasks of this heterogeneous "fourth branch"
of college government.
We make no secret of the pre-eminence
of academic matters. I do not know a private university of our size, or
of any size, so blessed by educational leadership. The provost, the dean
of the college, and the deans of each of the professional schools know
their work, which is universally respected. The same may be said for the
director of student affairs. The third category of administration , constantly
interacting with the first two is the management of our finances and physical
plant. On many campuses, this is an unpopular office, but again Wake Forest
has reason for pride in the respect, and indeed affection, accorded our
chief financial officers.
So in preparing for the long-range
development of the University, we have given special attention this year
to that fourth category, a congeries of public relations, developmental
affairs, fund-raising, civic work, federal and local government affairs,
records-keeping, and computerizing. We are steadily dependent on a new
professional class of specialists skilled in this work. Bill Straughan
(B.A. '64, J.D. '72), becomes Director of Development responsible for
a broad range of activities.
Q. As I go about to alumni
meetings I find increasing interest in the fine arts. Why these sudden
pressures for the fine arts pavilion, and what is being done to meet the
A. First off, I should say
the pressures are not sudden: they are long delayed. The explanation for
our present concern lies in the fact that, for more than a century, Wake
was a traditional Southern liberal arts college, strengthening its reputation
for excellence in the sciences and the literary subjects. With the admission
of women, we became more aware of the significance of the arts. The young
people we have admitted to the Class of 1976 know more about music, art,
and theatre than many of us have reamed in a lifetime. No. It is not sudden
pressure, but an honest recognition of the fact that the fine arts are
the most liberating of the liberal arts, and they belong in our program.
The formal establishment of
the Department of Art in 1968 strengthened our will to provide facilities
for the kind of program worthy of our heritage and our setting. Our grounds
adjoin those of Reynolda House, which houses a collection of American
art. There is an insatiable demand for a deeper appreciation of art in
all forms. We are not a conservatory. We are not educating specialists
for Broadway or the Philharmonic Hall. We are educating the audiences
and the patrons who will keep alive those things which enlarge our sensitivity
and raise the vision of men beyond the immediate and the vocational.
The Trustees, in their October,
1971 meeting, established this as the number one priority in campus building.
An excellent symposium on the fine arts attracted nine nationally known
consultants to the campus in March, 1972. Asking the questions were students,
trustees, faculty, and townspeople interested in the arts. In retrospect,
I look on this meeting as perhaps the most significant event of the year.
In June, the architect-and-site selection committee chose Caudill, Rowlett,
and Scott of Houston to design the kind of facility which will be a statement
of our commitment to the centrality of the arts in liberal education.
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