Administration of William Louis Poteat 5
To them had been born three children whose rearing had doubtless
contributed no little towards fitting the father for the work now before
him. The family was given to hospitality and on all public occasions
their home was thronged with guests, while many came and went at
other times. Through all his years at Wake Forest, both as student and
teacher, Professor Poteat had taken much more than ordinary interest
in the work and worship of the local church as well as in all
denominational and religious concerns. He attended the church
services, all of them, and taught in the Sunday school of the church,
as he did also afterwards to the end of his life. He was a leader in its
social work and its plans for enlargement and expansion in the service
of both town and college. His varied activities and interests in the
religious, educational, social, political, and literary progress of the
State had made him known and respected and loved in all parts of
North Carolina and even beyond her borders.
It was no surprise then that the Trustees should have thought of
Poteat with his singular equipment for the place when they were
seeking a successor for President Taylor. His election, however, was
somewhat precipitated by the fact that in June, 1905, he either must
be secured or allowed to go elsewhere. He had already been elected to
the presidency of Mercer University at Macon, Georgia. Accordingly,
at a called meeting of the Board of Trustees in Raleigh on June 22,
1905, a somewhat irregular meeting since the usual fifteen days'
notice had not been given, he was elected to the place, at a salary of
$2,500 a year.2
Recognizing that Dr. Poteat's views on evolution might cause some
to distrust his orthodoxy in religion, Mr. J. W. Bailey, editor of the
Biblical Recorder, speaking doubtless for the Board as well as for
himself, had this to say at the close of his article on the new president:
2 Those present at the meeting were President Tyree, Marsh, Hufham, Bailey,
Boone, Vann, Hunter, Johnson, Hobgood, Lynch, Biggs, Daniel, Norwood,
Timberlake' Ward, Ferrell, Campbell, Holding, Scarborough, 19 in all. Though the
election was by ballot it was known that Poteat was strongly urged for the place by
Rev. J. W. Lynch and Mr. J. W. Bailey.
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