Interest in ministerial education was a powerful influence in gaining
support and students for Wake Forest College as well as for other
denominational colleges in this
In contemplation of the opening of the College, the Board of
Education located at Wake Forest had a meeting and resolved to give
favorable consideration to applications for aid by those who had the
ministry in view. During the spring term of 1866 the Board received
three beneficiaries, and before the end of the calendar year two others.
In 1867 the number reported was nine; in 1868, eleven; in 1869,
eleven. During all these years many more would have been received if
funds for their support had been available.
Probably with the hope of adding to the number of students and the
revenues of the College, a demand arose at this time for the
establishment of a commercial department, and the Board of Trustees
so ordered at its meeting in June, 1869. It was insisted that the
department was needed for the business education of great numbers of
young men who at that time were seeking the so-called business
colleges of the North. President Wingate with his usual wisdom
regarded the new departure with suspicion as leading young men to
neglect the regular college course in a time when men with the best of
collegiate training were so badly needed.2
At Davidson College, in 1868-69 of the 120 students 40 were candidates for the
ministry, and in 1869-70 one-third of the 99.
From Wingate's report to the Board of Trustees, June, 1869: "To give any
special prominence to this school, it seems to me, is to depart from our legitimate
work and to forget our main design as one of our higher institutions of learning. A
larger number of students might be brought together for a time by giving
prominence to what seems so short and lazy a method for turning out practical
business men. But if sucessful in this direction, and to the degree that we were it
would divert attention from the higher and more thorough courses, and would form
an easy escape from their difficulties, and to this whole extent, as indolence or
disaffection might rule, would mar our
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