176 THE HISTORY OF WAKE FOREST COLLEGE
wings ready to take over the Dean's Office. He was referring to Dr.
Edwin G. Wilson, who was appointed acting dean July 1, 1958, and
dean of the college in 1960.
Few men in the history of Wake Forest have been better endowed
in temperament, scholarship, and administrative ability than Wilson.
He was born in Leaksville on February 1, 1923, a son of William
Baslev and Annie Saunders Wilson. In his home town he attended the
public schools and was active in the Episcopal Church of his family.
In 1939 he entered Wake Forest and quickly distinguished himself as
a scholar and campus leader. During his junior year he wrote the
weekly column "Pro Humanitate" for Old Gold and Black which was
so literate in its discussion of books, theater, art, and film that readers
marveled that it could have been written by an undergraduate. In his
senior year he edited an exceptional volume of The Howler. He was a
member of Kappa Sigma fraternity and was elected to both Phi Beta
Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa. Nominated as a Rhodes Scholar, it
is probable that only his disinterest in athletic participation kept him
from going to Oxford. An English major, he filled in as an instructor
in that department while still a senior. He graduated summa cum
laude in 1943 and shortly thereafter reported for combat duty in the
Navy. By the end of the war he was a lieutenant (j.g.), serving as
executive officer aboard a destroyer escort.
For a brief period after the war, when returning GIs flooded Wake
Forest and placed a burden of numbers on the faculty, Wilson was
recruited as an instructor in English. When he could conscientiously
free himself from teaching duties, he went to Harvard University,
where he earned a master's degree in 1948 and a doctorate in 1952.
With his advanced work behind him and colleges and universities
across the country offering attractive positions to bright candidates, he
chose to return to Wake Forest to teach his specialty, poets of the
English Romantic Period, along with freshman and sophomore
courses that everyone in the English Department shared. He moved
quickly up the academic ladder to appointment as a full professor in
1959. By that time he was sharing his skills with the Dean's Office
and, as previously mentioned, was appointed dean of the college in
1960.
Concurrent with those duties, Wilson was asked by Dr. Tribble to
take over the chairmanship of the English Department on July
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