160 History of Wake Forest College
their level. They found themselves speaking openly and frankly with
him and never talked so well as when encouraged by the sallies of wit
and humor which characterized his conversation and made him
welcome in all social circles. "He was so bright and cheerful and
lovable." 12
Wingate's success as a college president is shown again by the fact
that during his long administration he succeeded in exciting and
maintaining a constantly increasing interest in Wake Forest College
among its natural supporters, the Baptists of North Carolina. They
saw that the young men trained at the College almost without
exception did good and distinguished service, such as was needed in
both church and state in those days, and were proving a blessing to
our people. And seeing and hearing Wingate as he went through the
State, representing the College at Associations and Conventions and
other meetings, they were convinced that their cause and the cause of
culture and morality and religion in general were safe at Wake Forest
College. So it came about that the greatest harmony existed between
the College and the Baptists of the State, who loved it and all
connected with it. Especially did they love Wingate, whom many
agreed in calling the Sweetest Saint they ever knew.
This account of him will be closed with Dr. Pritchard's story of his
end, written the same week
"He loved Christ so supremely, he communed with Christ so
closely, and he lived for Christ so constantly that towards the close of
his life, and especially during his last illness, the glory of Christ
seemed to shine in his very countenance.
Professor Gulley and Dr. Brown, in the papers quoted, tell how solicitous
Wingate was about the welfare of the students and how in several cases he took
pains that their footsteps did not turn into forbidden paths. Dr. Brown says that
Wingate was the best conversationalist he ever knew. Professor Mills, in the article
mentioned, says: "He was always bright and cheerful, full of wit and humor. He was
fond of jokes, but only of those that had no sting in them, and were as pure and
gentle as the snowflakes." And speaking of a vacation at Morehead City which he
spent with Wingate, Mills says: "There were many guests at the hotel that summer
and they were charmed by his sparkling wit and humor. Many strangers declared he
was the most interesting and charming man they had ever met."
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