The Trustees and Their Problems 99
Although the few named were faithful it was often impracticable
for some of them to attend the meetings of the Board; for this reason
and because of the continued indifference of others the number in
attendance often fell below the nine required by the charter to
constitute a quorum. The fact that such a small number attended the
meetings of the Board caused much discouragement, which extended
to faculty and students. This became especially acute in the years of
1837 and 1838, when the school was burdened with the debt of
building.10
The method of electing Trustees to fill vacancies caused con-
siderable trouble as soon as the necessity for such election arose. The
charter provided,
That in case of the death, resignation, refusal to act, or removal
from the State of any of the said Trustees, then the surviving trustees,
a majority being present, shall fill said vacancies.
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10
Just how acute conditions were may be judged from the following excerpts
from editorials in the Biblical Recorder. "We were surprised and mortified,
however, to see so few of the Trustees in attendance. This is a most discouraging
circumstance both to teachers and students, and is therefore to be greatly regretted.
For those who live remotely from the scene of action, the inconvenience of
attending must, we suppose, furnish some apology; but those whose residence is
comparatively near, thereby discover a lack of interest which cannot fail to have an
injurious effect on all concerned." July 7, 1838. . . . "It ought to be known that, for
some considerable time past, there has been an entire failure in the meetings of this
Board, solely for want of a sufficient number present to form a quorum. The
consequence has been, that much important business has been deferred from time to
time, until it can be deferred no longer without serious detriment to the institution.
That the interests of this school should be allowed to suffer in this way, merely for
the want of a little energy and self-denial on the part of the Trustees is, in our view,
wholly inadmissable, and is, in fact, a reproach to the denomination." October 13,
1838. . . . "We are requested to state that a meeting of the Board of Trustees of
Wake Forest Institute, will be held at the Institute commencing on Tuesday the 18th
inst. at precisely eleven o'clock. Business of importance, and which cannot be de-
ferred, demands attention. Punctual attendance, on the part of members of the
Board, is therefore indispensable to the interests of the establishment. It may not
perhaps be improper to add, that a large proportion of the perplexity which has
attended the operation of this school, has arisen altogether from inattention on the
part of the Board. The interests of the institution must be attended to, they must be
attended to by the Trustees, and they must be attended to in season and with due
deliberation; otherwise the whole will inevitably prove a failure."
Nov. 17, 1838.
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