594 History of Wake Forest College
furthermost from the door shall then close in after him and thus march into the
Chapel, and fill up the seats beginning from the front.
At some Commencements the procession was headed by musicians,
probably drummers and flute-players.26 After a few years the
procession included a reception of the Graduating Class at the door of
the Chapel on Thursday of Commencement.27
In 1852, seemingly for the first time, and thereafter until the close
of the period, the members of the Graduating Class wore gowns
which were provided by the Societies. They were of inexpensive
material costing about five dollars each.28
It is hardly necessary to speak of the orations of the members of the
Graduating Class at Commencement. Usually there was a Salutatory
and a Valedictory in Latin, but those who delivered them often chose
to deliver other speeches in the vernacular. The subjects differed little
in general character from the subjects of such speeches today; and
they were as uniformly praised both by those who heard them and by
those who reported to the Biblical Recorder and other journals. In
1856 Lewis H. Shuck, as is told in another chapter, used as his
Commencement speech an original poem, "Joan of Arc," which was
published. We know the other speeches of this period only from their
Although it was not until February 14, 1854, that the Societies had
their first public celebration of their Anniversary, interest in
26 Phil. Records, June 3, 1854.
27The following from the Records of the Phi. Soc. for May 1, 1858, will illustrate
the manner of this reception. "On Thursday morning at the tolling of the bell the
students will assemble at the President's (Dr. Wingate's, whose residence was where
the President's house now stands), form a double column, receive the Faculty and
Trustees at their head, and coming into the Campus at the east gate, march to the
Chapel Door, halt, face-the Faculty and Trustees going into the Chapel. The
students will counter march respectively to right and left, halt, face, and receive the
Senior Class, and all march into the Chapel.
Phi. Records, Nov. 8, 1851. The Society, on motion of W. G. Simmons, ap-
propriated $40 to purchase gowns for the use of the Senior Class on Commence-
ment occasions. They expected six or eight of their members to graduate, and six
actually graduated the next June. On August 26, 1854, the same Society ordered
that Mr. J. M. Brewer be paid $10 for making gowns, probably two.
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