Dancing to the Convention Tune 129
to those who have been entrusted with the affairs of the college. We believe
that those who have been responsible for Wake Forest College throughout
the century and a quarter of its existence have been good stewards of that
freedom, and we have every confidence that they will continue to be.
Inasmuch as we believe that the request of the Baptist State Convention
that the charter of the college be revised to require that "any changes in the
charter in the future shall have the prior approval of the convention" would
decrease the area of freedom which is necessary for the achievement of the
ultimate purpose of both Wake Forest College and the Baptist Convention,
we recommend that the trustees of Wake Forest College retain the
determination of basic educational policy and decline to make the requested
change in the charter of the college.
The change was never made.
In 1959 the convention talked of undertaking a campaign to raise
forty-five million from member churches in support of its affiliated
colleges. Of that sum, Wake Forest was to receive ten million, largely
to finance the revival of graduate studies, but also to assist in the
construction of needed buildings. That proposal was defeated at a
special convention in Greensboro on May 4, 1961, when a substitute
measure was adopted by a vote of 844 to 639.
That measure, which was to launch what was to be known as the
Christian Education Advance, called on the churches voluntarily to
increase their contributions to the convention's Cooperative Program
by at least 35 percent over a three-year period, with the additional
funds to go to the colleges and the Baptist Student Union. Proponents
of that motion claimed it would raise from $4.6 to $4.9 million, but as
funds dribbled in over the next three years, it became clear that the
churches had little interest in giving large-scale support to their
institutions of higher learning. Over the three-year period, a total of
$394,000 was contributed, less than a tenth of what the plan's
sponsors had calculated.
At several points over the years the convention had recommended
that graduate work, suspended in 1950, be resumed at Wake Forest,
and the college had determined to do that. A committee of the
undergraduate faculty had been working out the details of that
program, and on January 13, 1961, the trustees allocated $150,000, to
be renewed in an least that amount annually, for graduate work at the
master's level in six departments (biology, chemistry, English,