272 History of Wake Forest College
graduating student speakers was fixed at ten until 1899, when it was
reduced to eight; in 1909 it was further reduced to six, and in 1924 to
Ending with the commencement of 1901 the first speaker was the
salutatorian and the last speaker the valedictorian. Until the
comencement of 1889 in awarding these distinctions grade of
scholarship was subordinate to degrees, so that Master of Arts had
precedence over Bachelor of Arts, and Bachelor of Arts over other
degrees; beginning with the commencement of 1889 the valedictory
was awarded to the student graduating with the degree of Bachelor of
Arts or Master of Arts who had made the highest average grade, the
salutatory to the one who had made the second highest. In accord with
the custom of the time the salutatory was in Latin, 1868-78, and in the
last year of the period the faculty resolved that it should be prepared
by the man who delivered
A reading of the names in the list in the footnote will convince any
one that those who won the distinctions of valedictorian and
salutatorian in nearly all instances proved to be leaders in their active
lives in the broad world. They excelled as educators, scholars,
lawyers, executives, poets, authors, editors, men of business. It is the
rare class in which any two others have made the high attainments of
the valedictorian and salutatorian.15
Minutes of the Faculty for May 31, 1878. On April 4, 1879 the faculty ordered
that the salutatory be in English. Undoubtedly, for most people in the audience the
Latin Salutatory was only a show piece, but not so for J. H. Mills in the days when
he was editor of the Biblical Recorder and reported the commencements, 1868-72.
With reference to the Latin salutatory of H. A. Foote in 1868, he said: "It was
affectionate, complimentary, gratulatory, and hopeful. Had it been delivered in
English it might have been considered disloyal." With reference to that of W. H.
Pace, in 1869, he said that it was "easily understood by tolerable scholars." He
found that of Mr. R. E. Royall, 1870, so deliberate and distinct in its utterance that
all clearly understood him-"that is, if they understand the language in which the
address is delivered." The audience always made a pretense of understanding the
Latin and gave polite attention.
List of valedictorians and salutatorians, 1868-1901, inclusive; for each year the
first name is that of the valedictorian, the second that of the salutatorian. 1868. F. P.
Hobgood, H. A. Foote; 1869. R. S. Pritchard, W. H. Pace; 1870. C. M. Seawell, R.
E. Royall; 1871. W. D. Trantham, H. A. Brown;