For years he was happy in Louisville and turned down the offer of
pastorates and the presidency of several colleges. But "along about
1945 I began to get restless at the seminary, because at that time, after
Dr. [E. Y.] Mullins, we had presidents who in my [estimation] were
administrators but not educators. They wanted to put the clamps on
young teachers and have them teach in accordance with tradition. And
I didn't want to do that. I wasn't a dangerous liberal, but I was liberal
on some things."
Furthermore, Tribble said, the seminary was not doing "an adequate
job of training ministers. They were too definitely tied to tradition.
They were too much controlled by the [Southern Baptist] Sunday
School Board and its rather easy way of producing literature. I came
to the conclusion that the only hope for the South was a school or
university somewhat on the fashion of Yale in New Haven, or Duke,
in which there is a good, strong university and a divinity school."
Wake Forest seemed to be the ideal institution for the accom-
plishment of his goal, he said.
When I learned of the Reynolds Foundation grant and the potential there
for development, I felt that Wake Forest was the most promising liberal
Baptist institution in the South where we might fill this gap, the need that
the seminaries would not fill. We were not training men like E. Y. Mullins.
We were not training men like [Dr. W. T ] Whitsett and others. We were
training good preachers who were content with their theology but who were
afraid to tackle the basic problems. So that's the basic reason why I came. I
came with a dream that Wake Forest might become a great Southwide
institution with an influence over the whole South and the whole country
Tribble said he understood that inherent in the Wake Forest job
were more pressing priorities. "I knew that my first job would be to
get the college moved. Second, and along with that, would be to
strengthen the school, expand its academic facilities…. And, third, I
thought then I might be able to tackle my dream…. I knew what the
job would be. I knew it'd be tough, but I still held on to that part of the
Upon his arrival in Wake Forest, Dr. Tribble said, he was dismayed
to learn how few concrete steps had been taken toward the
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