Perry, IN THE GOOD OL'SUMMERTIME: The
Summer Session at Wake Forest College, 1921-1964
Magazine, August, 1964
THE FOUNDING of Wake Forest
College was one of the manifestations of the intellectual and humanitarian
awakening known as the Jacksonian Age, symbolized by the motto on the
College seal: Pro Humanitate. Born in a period of change in the forests
of Wake County 130 years ago, the College of Wake Forest has developed
as an educational institution to the relative size of one of the giant
oaks which once overshadowed it. It has achieved its present stature by
the ability and willingness of its founders, faculty, and philanthropists
to adapt to changing times. Nowhere has this spirit of change been more
manifested than in the summer session.
Although informal instruction
was given in the summer by the faculty of the Law School from its beginning
in 1894, the summer session as a distinct part of the educational program
of Wake Forest was not officially established until 1921. It was in the
inevitable changes following World War I that the summer session was born.
While the idea perhaps originated with President Poteat, the arrival on
the campus soon after the war of two young faculty members helped spark
the movement. Hiram T. Hunter, who joined the faculty in 1920 as Professor
of Education, was a graduate of Teachers College of Columbia University.
A. C. Reid, who also came in 1920 as Professor of Philosophy, had had
three years of experience as Dean of Piedmont Normal Summer School at
Anderson College in South Carolina. Their knowledge and experience, joined
with President Poteat's concern, and the increasing demand for summer
instruction on the part of students and public school teachers, prompted
the faculty to propose, and the Board of Trustees to approve, the use
of College facilities for a summer session in 1921. For the first three
years the summer session was under the direction of Dr. Hunter. Classes
met one hour each day, five days each week for six weeks and yielded two
semester hours credit. Regular college students, teachers, and college
preparatory students were admitted. The session of 1921 enrolled 230 students;
that of 1922, 332 students, and the summer session as a regular part of
the College had been successfully launched.
In 1924, when Dr. Hunter resigned
to go to Western Carolina College, the summer session was reorganized
and placed on a more permanent basis. The man who was chosen to supervise
this reorganization was Dr. D. B. Bryan, another graduate of Teachers
College, who had joined the faculty in 1921 as Professor of Education
and who became Dean of the College in 1923. Dr. Bryan had been Director
of the Summer Session at Richmond College before coming to Wake Forest,
and in 1924 he was appointed Director of the Summer Session at Wake Forest,
a position he held until 1949. Under the new organization, two six-week
terms were offered. No tuition was charged but a matriculation fee of
$15.00 was required each term; room rent was $6.00 per term and board
could be obtained privately for about $6.00 per week.
In the 1920's many public
school teachers had only a high school diploma, and the state of North
Carolina was making a major effort to improve the public school system
by raising teacher certification requirements. As a result, the vast majority
of the students who enrolled in the summer session were teachers seeking
to improve their certificates, and the summer session alas largely tailored
to meet their needs. A total of 550students registered for both Sessions
in 1924; the faculty numbered about twenty-five.
To meet the increasing demand,
and at the request of some citizens of New Bern, two divisions of the
summer session were operated during 1925-1927. One was at Wake Forest
and the other at New Bern, called the Neuse Forest Division, under the
direction of Dr. A. C. Reid. In 1925, 615 students registered at Wake
Forest and 125 at Neuse Forest. In 1926, 825 registered at Wake Forest
and 148 at Neuse Forest.
In 1928 another major modification
of the summer session was made. Since the summer session had to be self-sustaining,
the question of adequate financing had always to be considered. The Neuse
Forest Division had proved unprofitable and it was discontinued after
1927. Although enrollment at Wake Forest was ample, expenses were disproportionate
to the number enrolled. Enrollment in the second term was only one-half
that of the first, yet the operating expenses were not materially lower.
Upon the recommendation of Dean Bryan, the two six-week terms were abandoned
and a single nine week session was adopted. This change was also made
for the purpose of more effectively integrating the summer session with
the regular session in terms of courses and credits.
The College recognized that
the nine-week summer session with more regular college courses and fewer
professional courses would have less appeal to many of the teachers seeking
certificate improvement credit. But it hoped that as many of the teachers
had now acquired one or two years of college credit, they would continue
working toward their bachelor's degree, and that those who had earned
the bachelor's degree might return for graduate work. The College also
hoped to appeal to more of its regular students, to employ more of its
regular faculty, and to promote a general improvement in the quality of
work. Basically, the College was moving away from the professional education
summer session program to a more standard college curriculum. Results
were disappointing. The decline in enrollment the following year was more
drastic than had been anticipated, as only 428 attended. In an effort
to promote enrollment, women were admitted to the summer session in 1929
as candidates for bachelor's degrees as well as for graduate degrees.
Enrollment, however, was still disappointing; it fell to 370 in 1929,
and to an all-time low of 334 students in 1931.
The crash of the stock market
in 1929 and the depression which ensued undoubtedly contributed to the
declining enrollment and brought financial stringencies which had to be
met. In 1933 Wake Forest and Meredith joined hands in a combined summer
session which was operated on the Wake Forest campus. Meredith girls were
encouraged to attend Wake Forest and credit their work toward either a
Meredith or Wake Forest degree. A total of 444 students enrolled in 1933.
In 1935 a further change brought
Mars Hill into the summer session picture. One division was operated:
Wake Forest and a Western Division under Professor, B. Y. Tyner of Meredith
at Mars Hill. Mars Hill prints a separate summer session bulletin with
pictures depicting the mountain setting of the campus in an effort attract
students. In 1936, the second year of this operation, enrollment at Wake
Forest reached 675 and at Mars Hill 280, or a total of 955. This arrangement
between the three schools was continued until the outbreak, World War
II in 1941, with enrollment hovering around 800-900 during most years.
To those whose memories carry
them back to the 1930's, the summer session was an eagerly anticipated
part of the school year. The boys, after nine months confinement on a
campus limited strictly to men, often attended summer session not for
hours and quality points much as for the opportunities offered by maidens,
moonlight and magnolias. For Meredith girls, similarly marooned during
nine months of the year on the "Angel Farm" out from Raleigh,
the summer session brought long-sought opportunity for a summer romance
which might lead to the achievement of a secondary aim of college education,
a husband. Even the teachers seemed to enjoy the summer session as a social
opportunity apart from the credits earned toward degrees or improved certificates.
Many students considered their college education incomplete if they had
not attended at least one summer session at Wake Forest. In those leisurely
days a favorite pastime was spending an hour or so after supper sitting
on the rock wall that surrounded the campus chatting with one's lady love
as the sun slowly settled beyond the horizon. The popular song of the
day, "Lazy Bones," seemed to describe the setting perfectly.
To this idyll educational
and social adventure, the second world war brought a rude awakening. The
boys were off to war and the tempo of the educational world, increased.
As a college for men Wake Forest suffered drastic drop in enrollment in
its regular session as well as in the summer session. The College attempted
to meet the exigencies of war in a variety of ways. An Army Finance School
was brought to the campus to make use of idle college facilities. The
College's all male status was terminated when women were admitted as regular
students in 1942. The summer session was made more of an integral part
of the school year. Students were admitted in June, September, or January,
and diplomas were awarded to senior students at the end of each period.
For a brief period a twelve-week term was offered in the summer. These
measures enabled student to complete all or a major portion of the college
education before becoming liable for military service at the age of twenty.
During the war years enrollment in the summer session ranged from 350
to 400, with women accounting for about one-third to one-half of the students.
In 1946, the first normal
year after the war, under the G. I. Bill veterans flocked to the summer
session in large numbers, anxious to attend both summer and winter to
make up for the years lost in military service. Enrollment in the years
1946-48 more than doubled the war time enrollment. A change in the status
of the faculty was made when the Trustees provided for employment on a
twelve-months basis with every third summer free. The peak of the veteran
enrollment was reached in the summer of 1948 when 853 students enrolled.
Thereafter enrollment declined each summer to a low of 338 it 1954. Due
to the declining enrollment in the summer all the faculty was not needed.
In 1952 the regulation concerning summer teaching was further modified
so that the faculty taught only every other summer.
The next major change was
the removal of the college to its new $20,000,000 campus in Winston-Salem.
The College was scheduled to open on the new campus for the summer session
of 1956. A major re-designing of the bulletin was, therefore, necessary
to guide students and faculty in their new environment. The summer session
bulletin carried a picture of the chapel on the front cover, a map of
the campus inside, and pictures of all buildings, indicating the location
of registration, classes, library, residence and dining facilities, and
other necessary information. The buildings were there when students and
faculty arrived, but the rooms had no numbers or other designations and
for a time the blind led the blind in an effort to locate classes and
administrative offices. Somehow we survived, and by the fall term a semblance
of order seemed to be appearing. All agreed that the comfort of modern
air-conditioned buildings more than compensated for any temporary confusion.
While the general increase
in enrollment on the new campus was reflected in a corresponding increase
in the summer enrollment, the summer session gave little indication of
attracting many summer visitors. Between 1956-1959 the enrollment stood
between 560 and 584. At the same time, the expenses of the new plant were
greater than the old, and it was desirable to keep the maintenance force
as nearly intact as possible for the fall and spring operation. The faculty
was also larger and there was not enough demand to employ even half of
them in alternating summers. Furthermore, as the old agrarian order in
the South receded before the rising urban development, many students were
anxious to attend college in summer. But Wake Forest's nine-week summer
session was now almost unique. There had been many changes since World
War II in college enrollment and attendance patterns and most colleges
operating summer sessions offered one or two six-week terms. Many student
who would attend for six weeks did not choose to commit themselves to
practically the entire summer. The Wake Forest summer session was out
of step with the times.
In 1960, therefore, the summer
session was once more extensively remodeled. Members of the faculty were
hired on a ten-month instead of a twelve-month basis, with summer teaching
optional. The nine-week term was abandoned for two six-week terms. By
lengthening class periods to seventy-five minutes, a student could take
two courses for three hours credit each, and by coming both terms could
complete twelve semester hours. Under this arrangement a student could
complete his college program in three years and three summers. It was
also more economical as tuition charges were approximately one-half the
charges of the regular session. The new six-week terms offered other advantages.
By coordinating the Wake Forest program with that of most other institutions,
it would facilitate the interchange of students in the summer and perhaps
contribute to the growth of the summer session. The six-week term was
also more suitable to the needs of teachers, and might bring them back
to Wake Forest. If the summer session grew as anticipated, it would mean
the employment of a larger segment of the faculty in the summer. It would
also facilitate the practice of exchanging visiting professors with other
colleges to teach special courses which would be mutually beneficial.
The flexibility of the system would enable the College to provide for
more special programs in the summer session. In brief, the College, with
a vastly increased faculty and facilities, was striving to be of greater
service to more people.
Educationally, the six-week
summer term also provided a new approach to learning. In the regular session
the student's interest is divided among as many as five or six courses
which meet every other day. Furthermore, he is confronted with choosing
from a multiplicity of extracurricular andperipheral activities which
often serve to distract him from his real purpose and to foster procrastination
and postponement of prescribed tasks. By contrast, the summer session
requires more intense concentration on twocourses for a shorter period
of time. While ample recreational opportunities are provided in the summer
session, it dispenses with many of the frills of the College year, and
exacts serious work. The summer session proceeds so swiftly that if the
student delays active study for two days he is already n week behind schedule.
It is no place for "Joe College." In this sense, therefore,
the six-week summer term is a valuable experience for developing one of
the major goals of a college education—the quality of self-discipline.
the new arrangement required more advance planning in employing faculty,
in establishing courses, in publishing the bulletin, and especially in
handing the increased volume of mail as more visiting students began to
apply. It also meant that the Director was committed to full-time summer
duty. These factors brought about yet another change. Professor J. L.
Memory, Jr., who had served as Director of the Summer Session since 1949,
launched the new system but asked to be relieved of his duties at the
close of that 1960 session, because he was also serving as Director of
Placement and as Chairman of the Department of Education. At the same
time, the role of the Director of the Summer Session was changed. Since
the operation of the College during the regular session had become more
intensive and exhausting, it was deemed wise to provide some relief for
the regular administrative officers during the summer. The Director of
the Summer Session was, therefore, asked to assume the functions of the
Dean's Office during the summer session and in the absence of the President
and the Dean to become the chief executive officer of the College during
the summer. Accordingly, to fit his title more to the responsibilities
with which he was charged, he was named Dean of the Summer Session. Dr.
Percival Perry, who had joined the faculty in 1947 as Professor of History,
was appointed to this position.
The new system was introduced
in the summer of 1960, with rewarding results. During the first term 629
students enrolled and in the second 477, or a total of 1106, nearly twice
the number enrolled in 1959. The two six-week terms soon won popularity
with students and faculty, and increasingly with students from other colleges.
Many local residents who attended college elsewhere in the winter now
found it desirable to live at home and attend Wake Forest in the summer.
In 1962 the enrollment in both terms reached 1426 and in 1963, 1815. On
an average, the summer session attracts approximately 400 visiting students
from over seventy-five colleges. The presence of these students on our
campus lends variety to the summer session. The number of public school
teachers has more than tripled under the new system, and these, too, add
leaven to the summer session. Since 1961 six or eight visiting professors
have been employed each summer with results beneficial to both students
and faculty alike.
The policy of providing special
summer programs has been continued and expanded. In 1951 a one-week Forensics
Workshop was begun for the training of high school students interested
in debating and public speaking. In 1961 this was expanded to a four-week
Speech Institute for High School Students, and has continued on that basis
each year since. In 1964 the Speech Institute, with a faculty of four,
enrolled eighty students from eight states. The students receive training
in debating, public speaking, radio and television, and dramatic arts.
The Institute, under the direction of Professor Franklin R. Shirley, serves
to acquaint superior high school students with the advantages of Wake
Forest and sometimes leads them to apply for admission to the College
upon graduation from high school. It is no accident that Wake Forest has
a championship debate team year after year.
In 1959 the first National
Science Foundation Summit Institute for Teachers of Science and Mathematics
was held on the campus. Fellowships were awarded to sixty-five high school
teachers who had been out of college for twenty years, to enable them
to return to the campus and refurbish their scientific knowledge. The
teachers take the new knowledge and methods of teaching back to their
high schools and in turn send to college students better prepared in these
areas. Since these teachers come from all parts of the United States,
even as far as Hawaii, this program adds to the intellectual and social
interchange which the summer session fosters, and promotes the name of
Wake Forest throughout the United States. This program has been repeated
on our campus each year since 1961. In addition, a Summer Science Institute
in Physics for about twenty-five high school teachers has been offered
in the summer sessions of 1962 and 1964.
In 1962 the Remedial Reading
Training Program for teachers, offered by the Graylyn Psychology-Reading
Speech Center of the Bowman Gray School of Medicine was incorporated into
the summer session and college credit on the graduate level given for
the courses. This is one of the few centers in North Carolina which provides
teachers with theoretical and clinical training in remedial reading techniques.
About twenty-five or thirty teachers avail themselves of this opportunity
Recognizing that the social
studies teachers in our public schools are handicapped by the fact that
there is no equivalent of the National Science Foundation to provide scholarships
for them to attend college, Wake Forest is endeavoring to find some means
to enable this group of teachers to return for refresher courses. The
College has not been able to realize its plans in this respect due to
limited resources. It does, however, grant a one-third discount on tuition
to all in-service undergraduate public school teachers. Recently, two
other steps have been taken in behalf of this group.
In 1963 Wake Forest, in cooperation
with the Asian Society of New York, sponsored an Institute in Asian Studies
for High School Teachers. The Institute was under the direction of Professor
Balkrishna G. Gokhale formerly of the University of Bombay, Bombay, India
and now a regular member of the Wake Forest College faculty. Twelve scholarships
were provided, and sixteen teachers took advantage of the opportunity
to enhance their knowledge of the Far East. While the Institute was primarily
for teachers, classes were open to regular summer session students and
sixty-eight enrolled. The Institute was offered again in 1964 and will
be repeated in 1965. The increasing importance of Asian people and countries
in our modern world make this a particularly timely and valuable program.
In 1964 the state of North
Carolina sought to fill the void created by the federal government's sponsoring
of fellowships for science teachers. The state extended its In-Service
Teacher Training Program by providing tuition scholarships for social
studies and humanities teachers desiring to attend the summer session.
Wake Forest was delighted to see this development and has cooperated fully
with the In-Service Program, with the result that in the current session
fifty teachers are enrolled in social studies and humanities courses.
Two other changes of great
significance have occurred m the summer session since 1961. In May, 1961,
the Trustees authorized the admission of students to the summer session
without regard to race, creed, or nationality. This action was taken so
late in the year that only three Negroes enrolled in the summer session
that year. But in 1962 and again in 1963 forty Negroes enrolled. Some
of these were visiting students from other colleges such as Bennett, Barbia-Scotia,
Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, and from more distant
places like Delaware and West Virginia State. But the vast majority of
the Negro students are local school teachers taking advantage of the opportunity
to live at home and renew their certificates or to begin work on a master's
degree. In removing racial barriers, Wake Forest is rendering an important
community service in promoting better relations between the races and
in making available to local teachers the facilities of the College.
The other significant change
has been the resumption of graduate work. During the early years of the
summer session, from 1921-1949, from forty to fifty students enrolled
each summer for work beyond the bachelor's degree. The pressure of huge
post-war undergraduate enrollments and the problems connected with the
removal to the new campus between 1946-1956, forced a cessation of graduate
work in 1949. In 1961 after the College had become adjusted to its new
environment, the Trustees authorized the resumption of the graduate program
in six departments, English, History, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics,
and Physics. The summer session of 1962 was the first in which Graduate
work was offered on the new campus, and seventy students enrolled. In
1963 the number increased to 160.
The resumption of graduate
work was of special significance with regard to the number of teachers
enrolled in the summer session. Between 1949, when graduate work was suspended,
and 1961, when it was resumed, Wake Forest had only a small number of
teachers attending the summer session, and its influence in the public
school system materially declined. The state now required all teachers
to have the bachelor's degree, and all principals and superintendents
to have the master's degree. Since the master's degree was not offered
at Wake Forest, teachers who wished to advance were compelled to attend
elsewhere. In the summer session of 1961 before graduate work was resumed,
there were only thirty-two teachers enrolled. 'This number increased to
109 in 1969 when graduate work was resumed, and to 166 in 1963. The influx
of public school teachers under the graduate program and as participants
in the several special institutes is again enabling Wake Forest to increase
its contribution and influence in the public schools of North Carolina.
In turn, teachers who have had a pleasant and profitable experience in
the Wake Forest summer session are often valuable allies in recruiting
superior students for the College.
The Physical Education Department
of the College has also found a way to make use of its excellent athletic
facilities during the summer months through the organization of a day
camp for boys. The camp was begun in 1960 and has been conducted each
year since. With a staff of five, it regularly enrolls about 100 boys
for six weeks. It offers an important community service by giving expert
training in various sports and provides boys with a worthwhile activity
during summer months. As these boys reach college age, it may be that
the investment in them will be repaid on the baseball field or the basketball
Preliminary figures on the
1964 summer session indicate that approximately 1800 students have enrolled.
Of this number over 400 are visiting students from other colleges and
public schools. Approximately 200 are public school teachers, and 161
are graduate students. The faculty for the 1964 summer session numbers
eighty-three, and is of superb quality. Wake Forest has one of the highest
ratios of Ph.D.'s on its faculty of any college in the nation, and the
summer session maintains this ratio. The summer session faculty is chosen
from those with the most advanced degrees and with the longest teaching
experience. Summer session students therefore are the beneficiaries of
the highest quality of instruction that Wake Forest has to offer.
With the adoption of the two
six-week terms the summer session has become what Dean Bryan first envisioned
it -- an integral part of the College year. The great majority of the
students in the summer session are regular Wake Forest students. But the
two six-week terms also provide sufficient flexibility to permit various
special programs which make use of College facilities and offer special
service to particular groups. The College is rendering increasingly important
service to its own students and constituency, to visiting students and
teachers, to residents of Winston-Salem, and to the state and national
educational programs. Already plans are being made for the summer session
of 1965. A new department, Psychology, will be added to the list offering
graduate courses, and a continuation of the Asian, Science, Physics, and
Speech Institutes, and of the In-Service Teacher Training Program is contemplated.
In addition negotiations are under way to bring two new programs to the
campus for the 1965 summer session.
The summer session of 1965
will mark the tenth anniversary of the College on the new campus. With
a proud tradition, a young and energetic faculty, modern and efficient
buildings, and the experience of several years operation under the new
system, we look forward with increasing confidence to the future and invite
qualified students to join in this new and exciting adventure in higher