Agency of Wingate 283
their churches and Associations, to regard support of the College as
an essential part of their religious undertakings.
Nor was the extraordinary success of Wingate measured only in
dollars and cents. It inspired unprecedented enthusiasm and interest in
the College not only among those who were or had been connected
with it as officers, trustees, and students, but also among the Baptists
of the State generally. Associations were passing most favorable
resolutions, and in the columns of the Biblical Recorder were
appearing many articles, both editorial and contributed, urging a more
generous support or speaking of the progress of the institution. At the
Commencement of 1854 this enthusiasm was everywhere manifest.
Such able speakers as Rev. Tiberius Gracchus Jones of Norfolk, Rev.
H. H. Tucker of Alexandria, and Rev. Basil Manly of Richmond,
made the occasion notable by their able discourses, while the minds
and hearts of the assembled multitudes as well as of the college
community were turned to devotion and worship by the chapel talks
of Rev. A. M. Poindexter, who had recently completed a most
successful campaign for endowment of Richmond College and was
then one of the Corresponding Secretaries of the Foreign Mission
Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Board of Trustees did
their part by measures to add to the equipment, improve the grounds
and added two new departments, one of them a department of
Chemistry; they were also seeking a permanent president, being not
yet quite ready to give this position to the untried Wingate, although
by letter of April 5, 1854, Elder T. W. Tobey had suggested to Wait
that Wingate was the proper man for the place; they were also
rejoicing in being able to announce that three out of five of the
members of the faculty were graduates of the
College.22
"Let this
liberal policy be continued
―――――――
22
See the Proceedings, and the Biblical Recorder for June 15 and 22, 1854. The
following will indicate that some of the enthusiasm of the occasion took an
unwelcomed direction. "We were greatly pleased to witness the gentlemanly
deportment and good order exhibited by the students throughout the Exercises of the
week. There was a little uproarous conduct one evening, early in the week, after the
public Exercises in the chapel had closed, but this, we were happy to learn from the
faculty, who were promptly on the ground to ferret out the authors of it, proceeded
not from students, but from some youthful visitors, who having early devoted
themselves to the service of Bacchus, and knowing
Previous Page Next Page