offer two million on condition we'd raise three. Well, I couldn't turn
him down, and I couldn't argue with a man like Mr. Will."
During the campaign that followed Dr. Tribble told no one, not
even his wife, who had put up the money.
The plans for the ground-breaking took an initial turn which Tribble
did not relish. He sent Eugene Olive, the alumni director, to Winston-
Salem to talk with the Wake Forest contingent there about some
imaginative celebration to emphasize the occasion. They came up
with the idea of a football game between Wake Forest and the
University of North Carolina. When Olive reported to him "I just
looked at him kind of straight and I said, `You've got to be kidding….
We're not building a football stadium. We're building a campus. If we
do that [play football], we'll get a lot of publicity on the sports page,
but we want to be on the front page. We want to be on the front page
of every paper in the state of North Carolina, and if possible every
paper in the nation, every leading paper. And that will never do.' I
didn't want to hurt his feelings, but I said, `Now, if you don't mind, I'll
try my hand at it."'
What Tribble developed was the almost impossible idea of having
the President of the United States at the ground-breaking. With the
help of Gordon Gray, then a White House assistant, Tribble pulled off
the coup, President Truman made "a corking good speech" and
delivered it "as well as Truman delivered any speech." Wake Forest
did, indeed, make the front page of every major newspaper in the
country, and, more importantly, checks for millions of dollars and the
Reynolda deed were ceremonially turned over to the college.
Dr. Tribble spoke without any rancor about the opposition within
the Board of Trustees to his management of Wake Forest affairs. The
ringleaders, he said, were Basil M. Watkins, A. J. Hutchins, Edwin M.
Stanley, and Carl V Tyner. "They came on the board about the time I
came to Wake Forest, and they were all set to take over control," Dr.
Tribble said. "I didn't realize that fully at the time and I know the
trustees didn't realize it. I think they would have told me…. but I don't
think they knew it. But they got these men on the Board of Trustees.
They didn't have a majority, but they had a good group, and they
didn't think they needed a majority."
Hutchins had a personal grievance, Tribble said. "I had had a letter
from Andy Hutchins saying that he felt the college needed a
Previous Page Next Page