A New Hand at the Helm 71
schools, or something that we will not have to continually defend or apol-
In 1945 we came to the conclusion that the only way to improve the
situation was to change the complexion of the Board of Trustees. This is
when the "fur began to fly" hence the rotation system was inaugurated and
now instead of having three or four preachers listed among the trustees, we
have a dozen or more….
Frankly, if you do not come to our rescue it is my candid opinion that we
will not again be so united on any other man and I don't know what in the
world we will do, so you can know something of my deep concern that you
may be led to join us.
In his letter Warren named fifty-two Baptist ministers in the state
"and 500 others I could mention" who could be counted upon to
support Tribble "ioo percent" in efforts to secure control of Wake
Forest for the fundamentalists. In the light of history it can be safely
said that if Warren and his co-conspirators hoped to use Harold
Tribble as their pawn, they were to be grievously disappointed. At all
times, Tribble remained his own man.
Except that on May 4, 1950, Tribble became Wake Forest's man.
That was the day when the Board of Trustees elected him the tenth
president of Wake Forest
The vote was sealed by a prayer of
thanks offered by Dr. W. Harrison Williams and preserved in the
minutes of that historic session. In his prayer Williams said, "We
wanted Thy man for Thy institution. We needed a strong man, and we
feel that Thou hast guided the committee and that Thou hast guided
Dr. Tribble in the decision he has made…. [We] promise Thee that
we will do our best to make his administration here unto Thy honor
and glory. Bless Dr. Tribble. May he feel the warm support of his
So began the association of the man and the institution, together to
work a wonder in Christian higher education.
Harold Wayland Tribble was born November 18, 1898, in Char-
lottesville, Virginia, the son of Henry Wise and Estelle Carlton
(Rawlings) Tribble. He attended Columbia College (now part of
Stetson University) in Lake City, Florida, from 1915 to 1917, playing
basketball and tennis, and transferred to Richmond College (now the
University of Richmond), where he took his undergraduate degree in
1919. At Richmond he continued to play basketball, and in his senior
year he was editor-in-chief of the weekly student news-