Things Academic 191
phere of academic freedom, that make a college great. In its old
setting, by every standard, Wake Forest was a good school, but it had
not achieved a distinctive degree of uniform excellence. The strength
of the faculty lay in the presence of a few towering masterminds, and
to study under them was an exciting and memorable experience. In
the thirties and forties it was easy to pick them out: there was Dr.
Hubert M. Poteat―"Dr. Hubert"―who could have had his pick of
any Latin chair in the country, but who, like his father, chose to
devote his enormous talent and energy to Wake Forest; there was Dr.
A. C. Reid, revered as a saint whose following was almost mystic; Dr.
C. C. Pearson―"Skinny," they called him---injecting meaning and
wit into the dry bones of history and government; Dr. William E.
Speas―"Old Bill"―whose boyish enthusiasm never failed when he
saw a physics experiment work, even though he had performed it a
hundred times before; Bradbury and Cocke in biology; Jones and Folk
in English; Black in chemistry; Easley and Binkley in religion. Every
student had his favorite and helped to build the legends.
Yet in truth Wake Forest did not have the financial resources to
attract the very best men for every slot in the teaching staff; it had
more than its share of bright students, but it also had a few who were
content barely to scrape through; the buildings were old and many
were decaying, and the laboratory equipment was barely adequate; the
library was lovingly tended, but there was not enough money either to
stock it adequately or to give it suitable housing; and the lack of
financial underpinning was painfully evident in the minimal salaries
of the faculty.
In 1943-44 a full professor was paid only $3,750 annually, and that
represented a 25 percent increase made possible by the contract with
the Army Finance School. Through the forties faculty remuneration
edged up slowly, and when Dr. Tribble assumed the presidency in
1950, a full professor was paid $5,400, an associate professor $4,800,
and an assistant professor $4,500. Those sums were paid on a twelve-
month basis, and members of the faculty were required to teach two
summers out of three without additional compensation.
In fifteen of the seventeen years of Tribble's presidency, significant
increases were made in the salary scale, and the abolishment in