Christian influence for lives of service and leadership…. I believe you
will agree that rarely in history has there been presented to any people
such a magnificent educational opportunity as the one now before us."
By that time, however, Dr. Kitchin knew that he would not be the
one to lead Wake Forest to its new home. In the late 1940s he had
suffered several severe heart attacks which had put him in bed for
weeks at a time. Accordingly he submitted his resignation at a
meeting of the Board of Trustees on April 29, 1949, to become ef-
fective July 1, 1950. He was only a few months away from his sixty-
fifth birthday, and by the date of his retirement, he would have served
Wake Forest as president through twenty stressful years. The gigantic
task of raising money, planning a new campus, and preparing for the
physical move required a younger, more vigorous leader, he thought.
For a few more years, he said, he would remain on the faculty as a
professor of physiology and hygiene, but he knew, as did all friends
of Wake Forest, that his mission had been accomplished. The
Greensboro Daily News, in an assessment of Kitchin's presidency,
said in a succinct editorial caption, "He pulled the patient through."
The record supports that tribute. As a builder he was responsible for
the construction of the Johnson Medical Building, Wait Hall, the
Music-Religion Building, the Chapel, Gore Gymnasium, Simmons
and Johnson dormitories, and Groves Stadium. The two-year Medical
School was moved to Winston-Salem to become a four year school,
and both the law and medical branches were upgraded in quality and
esteem. Acquisitions included the Simmons art collection, the
Spilman Philosophy Library, and the priceless Charles Lee Smith
collection of books. With his appointment as president he reversed the
decline in enrollment that stood at under seven hundred and saw it
climb to more than two thousand. In 1930 the faculty had only 46
members, and that number grew to 187. The budget went from
$300,000 to $2 million, endowment was increased from $2.3 million
to more than five million, and the value of the Wake Forest plant rose
from $681,000 to $3.64 million.
It should not go unnoticed that President Kitchin held the price of a
Wake Forest education to a minimal sum. In 1930 it cost a student
$50 in tuition and $32.50 in general fees for a semester at Wake
Forest. Those charges held for fifteen years, until the general
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