A New Hand at the Helm 67
calling for "a man of strong and winsome personality, sympathetic,
easily approachable, inspiring confidence and cooperation." The
faculty's list of qualifications, which in most ways paralleled Dr.
Kitchin's, contained a preamble which set forth the sense of the
teaching staff regarding the spirit of Wake Forest. It said:
…We believe any person who may be invited to assume the responsi-
bilities of the presidency should be given information, if he does not have it
already, about the basic character and traditions of the college and, as far as
possible, concerning its plans and policies for the future. He should know
that for more than a hundred years the primary function of Wake Forest
College has been to strengthen the character and to train the mind of youth
for living wisely and serving mankind generously; that the college has held
firmly to its Christian origin and principles while courageously engaged in
its search for truth; that it has offered sound leadership and guidance in
religious thought and practice without yielding to radicalism and passing
fads on the one hand, or showing bigotry and holding to unwarranted
dogmatisms on the other; that it has sought to present truth, whether in the
field of liberal arts, the sciences, or in the professional schools, as an organic
unity having a common source in Reality which it recognizes as the Living
God.
Trustee Nane Starnes, in setting forth his priorities, said that "whom
we get for president may determine whether we arrive at Winston-
Salem or not."
As the search committee went about its work, the names of four
men recurred most often in the deliberations. They were Dr. Duke K.
McCall, executive secretary of the Executive Committee of the
Southern Baptist Convention; Dr. Olin T. Binkley, the Wake Forest
alumnus who had left the chairmanship of the Department of Religion
in 1944 to join the faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological
Seminary; Dr. George M. Modlin, another Wake Forest alumnus who
was president of the University of Richmond, and Dr. Harold W.
Tribble, an ordained minister who was president of Andover-Newton
Theological School.
Although given serious consideration, McCall and Binkley were
never truly in the running for the
presidency.1
McCall was regarded as
too much of a stranger to North Carolina, even though he had the
strong support of Dr. Ralph Herring and several other prominent
ministers. Binkley also won backing in an organized campaign of
letters from a number of churches, but the search committee saw
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