4 History of Wake Forest College
to be sought for the programs of meetings of a more secular nature. In
all these capacities and activities he had proved competent, efficient
and acceptable, and a worthy exponent of the
But especially had he proved proficient in the internal affairs of the
College. He was a good teacher and it is hardly too much to say that
he introduced a new era in the teaching of Biology not only in the
College but also in the State and the entire South. For his work in
general and especially that as administrator in the many periods when
he was chairman of the faculty he was unstintingly praised in the
reports of Presidents Pritchard and Taylor to the Board of Trustees,
and the evidence is abundant that both as a teacher and as an
administrator he had gained the admiration and confidence of students
and his fellow members of the faculty.
Professor Poteat was further recommended for the presidency by
his social, moral and religious life. As has been said, he had the
heritage of culture. With true gentility and kindness of heart and
native nobility, it was natural with him to be polite in words and
manner and immediately on easy terms with all he met. On June 24,
1881, he married Miss Emma J. Purefoy of Wake Forest, of a family
which had been known since early colonial days for its ability and
religious fervor and staunchness.
The following is from the Biblical Recorder of July 5, 1905. "Of Dr. W. L.
Poteat's lecture before Baylor University, Prof. J. L. Kesler writes: `Professor Poteat
made here the speech of his life. It was great. I bad already seen him reach and rise
above other men's high-water mark, but in the Baylor Chapel, on the evening of
June 6th he reached his own. It was worth crossing the continent to deliver.
Following the recent great speeches of great educators from the same platform, such
as President David Starr Jordan of Leland Stanford, and President Thwing of
Western Reserve University, he easily surpassed them. It was, by competent judges,
considered the ablest deliverance that has issued from that platform'."
From Biblical Recorder of June 28, 1905, editorial expression: "He brings also a
wide and lofty fame. He is easily the pre-eminent Baptist layman. By means of his
scholarship, his literary achievements, and his platform gifts, he has won the
homage of the most thoughtful institutions of our land. His triumphs at Baylor and
Colgate are too recent to require more than mention. Even since then he has
engaged to deliver lectures before the five leading theological seminaries of our
country-and that means the world."
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