580 History of Wake Forest College
tation to his youthful hearers to be true men and measure up to their
great opportunity and the responsibility of the time.
At the Commencement of 1855, for the first time, the address was
by a former student of Wake Forest College and Institute, Mr. George
S. Stevenson of New Bern, who after graduating at Brown University
in 1841 had taken up the practice of law in his native town, in which
he attained unusual distinction and success, and continued until his
untimely death in 1861. His address in 1855 was such to make the
College proud of her son. Its subject was "The Educated Farmer." In
his introduction he made some happy references to his student days at
Wake Forest:
Here I passed the golden hours of college life. Fifteen years ago, on this platform,
in youthful emulation, we practiced our first lesson on oratory. This building, the
foundations of which I saw laid, and in which I have so often enjoyed the social
pleasures of the student, is to me almost as sacred as home. These hills, and vales,
and streams, and forests, all have their associations never to be effaced. The stu-
dents of my day were the first born of this our Alma Mater. Wake Forest College,
when I first became a student here, was a very different institution from what it is at
the present day. In those days before the erection of this edifice, our dormitories
were log cabins, our studies were rustic arbors erected with our own hands, and our
recitation hall the college grove. We were the pioneers of this institution which was
of the first fruits of the general awakening of the public mind in North Carolina to
the importance of education.
In his exordium Mr. Stevenson made reference to the fact that
Wake Forest was founded by farmers and as a manual labor
institution; that North Carolina is an agricultural State, and that with
so large a part of her population of the agricultural class the education
of farmers should be her matter of chief educational concern. In
defining his subject more in detail he said:
In the outset, I desire to be understood, that by the education of the farmer I do
not mean that technical education which is intended to prepare him exclusively for
agricultural pursuits. I propose not to advocate the establishment of separate
institutions, or departments,
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