178 History of Wake Forest College
and the former gaining political distinction in Oklahoma; Smith
turned to business and became Lieutenant Governor of his adopted
State of South Carolina; Womack was sheriff of Caswell County, and
Holding, first a successful farmer, was auditor of Wake County since
the creation of the office in 1913, until his death. Markham has been
connected with the county offices of Durham County; Davis came to
an untimely end in Texas shortly after his graduation. It would be
hard to find any other group of men in any other decade of the college
history who have done a greater work. Some have contended that
their work for the medal called forth the best that was in them, and
developed powers that would probably have continued dormant, and
gave them a sense of mastery and confidence in self that greatly
ministered to their
The College never made greater progress than during the first year
of Pritchard's administration. The Biblical Recorder, in closing its
report of the Commencement of June, 1880, declared: "Wake Forest
has just closed the most prosperous session in its history. The next
session should open with 200 young men on the grounds." Of like
tenor was the statement of the Raleigh News of June 19, 1880:
"Perhaps none of our institutions of learning have made as much
progress during the year as Wake Forest College."
Rev. Thomas Dixon, Jr., in a letter addressed to the Board of Trustees and
printed in the Wake Forest Student, XI, 374, June, 1892, urged that the medals be
restored, but without success. In his letter Mr. Dixon said: "I wish to say that the
work I did in college for the medals was the best work, not only of my college
course, but of my life; and in the formation of my character, as I look back over
these days, there was nothing that played so important a part. The work I did gave
me a power of study, of concentration, of command of all the faculties of my being,
such as I never should have got in any other way. I was talking with Professor A. T.
Robertson of the Louisville Seminary, the other day, and expressed to him my
regret that the medals were abolished. He replied that he thought that they had
become an evil in the College, that perhaps they did harm. I looked at the medal that
adorned his watch-chain, and I asked him if it was not a fact that his own success in
life, which was no small success, was not dated as a matter of fact from the
inspiration of the study of the year he worked for the medal. He blushed for a
moment, and replied that he must confess that it was true, and that that year's work
had made him a specialist, had, in fact, been the foundation of his life's work. . . . I
should like to say that this is true of every man who has fairly fought for and fairly
won these prizes in the history of the College."
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