206 History of Wake Forest College
building for the biological sciences was realized and the desire for it
was given expression by Edtor George Clarence Thompson in the
Wake Forest Student, for March 1888. The rooms occupied by the
biological department in the Lea Laboratory were inadequate and
would soon be needed by the department of Chemistry. It was not till
the commencement of 1892, however, that any action was taken. At
that time Rev. W. R. Gwaltney, pastor of the Wake Forest Baptist
Church, submitted to the Alumni Association a proposition that they
raise $10,000 for the erection of a biological laboratory. He showed
the necessity for such a building and said that by erecting it the
alumni would indicate their purpose to keep the College well in the
front among the colleges of the State and the South, a position which
it had attained by the erection of the laboratory for chemistry. The
alumni were favorably receiving the report and would probably have
adopted it, but for the active and powerful opposition of one of the
most influential of the group, who argued that the alumni would fail
and bring shame to the College, and that, all the laboratory the
excellent professor of biology, W. L. Poteat, needed was a corner of
the Campus with the canopy of heaven overhead. It was in vain that
Poteat, with tears in his eyes, pleaded that an effort be made, quoting
the words, "Not failure, but low aim, is crime." Dr. Hufham kept the
floor until the alumni grew weary and postponed the matter.
As it proved, the postponement was to be for many years. It was not
till the commencement of 1903 that the movement was begun which
resulted in the erection of the Alumni Building. The purpose was
already mature in the minds of Professor J. B. Carlyle and certain
other members of the faculty to put on a campaign among the alumni
for funds to erect such a building. The alumni banquet of that year
was planned with reference to launching the new movement. It was
held in the Gymnasium with nearly every one of the 300 seats taken,
but all the fine plans were spoiled by the after-dinner speakers, who
prolonged their oratory until nearly midnight. It was necessary to
See footnote, Volume II, 269 n.
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