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The History of Wake Forest University, Volume V, 1967-1983

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Wilson, Edwin Graves
2015-04-07 (issued)
A nation in uncertain transition from the calm of the post-World War II era is backdrop to the 1967 inauguration of James Ralph Scales—Oklahoman, gifted historian, Baptist churchman, urbane intellectual—as Wake Forest University’s eleventh president. The sixteen years that followed were marked by a “whirlwind of ideas” that led Wake Foresters to question some long-held values, reaffirming many that uniquely define the school’s strong culture and reshaping or even rejecting other elements from the past that seemed incongruent with the University’s motto, Pro Humanitate. Academic vibrancy, political activism, and Wake Forest’s continuing adjustment to its “new” home in Winston-Salem are faithfully recounted and astutely observed by Ed Wilson (’43). His experience as a student, alumnus, professor, and administrator enriches this history. Evident throughout is the creative tension that has always balanced Wake Forest between its religious heritage and Southern gentility, on the one hand, and its inviolable defense of academic freedom. That these principles co-exist productively is carefully explained in Wilson’s narrative, enlarged with his comments on the many people whose work build a university. From the Experimental College to a splendid new home for the fine arts; from Vietnam War protests to the opening of the University to all races and cultures; from the short-lived January term to the persistent quest for “intervisitation” (a clever student euphemism); from Covenant House to Casa Artom and Worrell House; from denominational edicts to a more representative governing board; from debate champions to the Tangerine Bowl; from these events emerges an environment rich in thought and action. Wilson’s candid descriptions of President Scales portray a man of deep convictions whose classical liberal education and sophisticated sense of decorum inform his most difficult decisions and his day-to- day interactions with Wake Forest’s constituents. With wit, a gift of the “common touch,” and supreme interest in the life of the mind, Scales successfully navigates waters choppy and smooth, bringing Wake Forest to its next harbor and a future with more promise than ever before.
Wake Forest University
Digitized and born-digital collections from Wake Forest University's Special Collections & Archives are made available under an assertion of fair use (17 U.S.C. 107) for noncommercial educational and research purposes only. Copyright for official University records is held by Wake Forest University; all other copyright is retained by the creators of these materials, or their beneficiaries, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless copyright was signed over to Wake Forest University. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of the materials that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Please contact Special Collections & Archives (archives@wfu.edu) with questions.
The History of Wake Forest University, Volume V, 1967-1983

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