War and Its Aftermath 13
A lot of study was going on, however. For fall of 1943 the number
of students making the honor roll was up by about 30 percent over
prewar years. Old Gold said that "the results are indicative of one
thing. Students of 1943 are taking their work more seriously than
ever before. The war and its results have far-reaching influences,
and the psychological reaction of a college student body during war
is different from peacetimes―more conscientious, perhaps, more
serious-minded, at least more aware of our responsibilities in the
postwar world."
On June 5, 1944, fifty-five seniors received degrees in exercises at
which the speakers were Dr. George D. Heaton, pastor of Myers
Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, and Gerald W. Johnson, Baltimore
journalist and essayist who was deeply devoted to his alma mater.
Judge John A. Oates, president of the Board of Trustees, presided
over the ceremonies because Dr. Kitchin had suffered a coronary
occlusion and had been ordered to stay in bed.
Kitchin's burdens during the war, some of which will be discussed
in detail later, would have been heavy for a man in robust good
health; with Kitchin's ailing heart, they were especially heavy. From
time to time he found himself defending the degree of religious
emphasis at the college, the spirituality of the faculty, and the social
standards of the students. Excerpts from his correspondence at that
time show his concern for high principles at Wake Forest:
Christian education is Christianity operating in the field of enlighten-
ment through educational institutions. Accordingly, it is committed to an
uncompromising loyalty to truth so far as is known and an unrelenting
search for truth yet to be discovered, all of this in the name of Christ and
for the service of mankind.
Our faculty members are Christians who by precept and example exalt
Christian truth, the Christian spirit, and the Christian way of life. We do
not claim for ourselves perfection, but we seek for ourselves and
encourage our students to pursue spiritual ends above all others.
You inquire, "How can spirituality be there when college dances are
sponsored in the college gymnasium?" My answer is that no dances have
ever been held, with or without college sponsorship, in the college gym-
nasium or in any other college building….”Why have dances been per-
mitted?" you ask. I assume that you are inquiring about dances held off
campus…. I might inquire of you why it is that Baptist homes and
churches permit them. When a student comes to us from a home where
Previous Page Next Page