| the history of wake forest
t the end of a decade of uneasiness,” President Scales
as he looked back on the 1975–1976 academic year,
“a new confidence appears. No one sees permanent peace and pros-
perity… but the word ‘plight’ is no longer… applied.” And, quoting
from the 1975 Self-Study, he said, “The next ten years will probably
be stabilizing ones for the institution.”
Scales was justified in being hopeful. The nation was at seem-
ing peace. Not only were memories of the war in Vietnam fading,
at least for the time being, but the Watergate crisis had ended, Pres-
ident Nixon had left office, and Gerald Ford had become a Presi-
dent intent on bringing “healing” to America. Fortunately for
Wake Forest, President Ford was a friend: his son Michael had
been a member of the Class of 1972, he had himself been the
founding chairman of the Parents’ Association, and now, as Presi-
dent of the United States, he agreed to be honorary chairman of
the Association. On March 18 the University was also visited by
Jimmy Carter of Georgia, who was on the campus for a rally in
Wait Chapel, preparatory to his becoming the Democratic chal-
lenger to Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election.
Like the nation, the campus seemed free from discord or disar-
ray. Reading Old Gold and Black, one senses an absence of concern
about the direction in which the University was moving or about
the usual conflicts between students and the administration. Visi-
tation was still talked about, but perhaps Scales had delivered such
a discouraging statement about future prospects for change that
the students had virtually given up. At the beginning of the year he
had said, “It seems to me that it [i.e., visitation] has been considered
often enough.” Students instead should “devote their energies to
chapter ten
A Year of Confidence
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