Public Exercises 591
Way of Life," It is long, analytic and uninteresting. In 1855 Rev. J. R.
Graves of Nashville, Tennessee, was the preacher, and with his great
eloquence and fervor kept the rapt attention of his congregation,
which overflowed the college chapel, for more than two hours.22 In
1856 the preacher was Rev. E. T. Winkler of Charleston, South
Carolina. The preacher in 1857 was Rev. A. M. Poindexter, of
Richmond, Virginia. Though a great storm kept the people from the
auditorium at the appointed hour, at the earnest solicitation of many
he preached his sermon on Thursday afternoon after the graduating
Exercises in the morning. In 1858 Rev. J. L. Prichard was the
preacher; just before the preaching hour he had a telegram from his
wife in Wilmington telling of the serious illness of his child hardly a
month old, and preached well even under these trying circumstances.
In 1859 Dr. J. L. Burrows of Richmond, Virginia, through a
misunderstanding gave an address instead of a sermon; in 1860 the
sermon was by Rev. L. W. Seely of Richmond, Virginia. In 1861 the
Commencement lasted only two days, Monday and Tuesday, May 27-
28, and there was probably no sermon.
From the first the Societies claimed as a right a part in all public
Exercises. Their first public function was the celebration of the 4th of
July in 1835, of which an account has been given. These celebrations
continued during the period of the Institute. In the summer of 1835,
hearing that the Trustees had appointed a committee to attend to the
"ceremonies of laying the corner stone for the College Building," the
Philomathesians took it for granted that it would "be necessary that an
address be delivered before the two Societies" on that important
occasion; the Euzelians from whom the orator was to come, appointed
a committee to consult with the faculty on the matter, who brought the
disappointing report that the faculty had said that "the ceremonies
would be entirely private."23
22Biblical Recorder, June 21, 1855.
23Records of the Societies for July and August,