baptists,
business
courses,
and bells
|
221
Myear
ore than a decade after Harold Tribble, in the last
of his presidency, had expressed a hope that “bold ac-
tion” might be taken toward “the liberalization of the relationship”
between Wake Forest and the Baptist State Convention, nothing
substantial had happened in that direction; but in the fall of 1978
the Board of Trustees, under the determined leadership of Chairman
James Mason of Laurinburg, proposed to the Convention that the
University’s charter and bylaws be changed in three significant ways:
(1) that Wake Forest henceforward be considered an “affiliate” of the
Convention rather than an “agency”; (2) that only a majority of the
Trustees—not all, as had been true—would have to be North Caro-
lina Baptists; and (3) that the Board of Trustees be self-perpetuating,
that is, that they elect their own successors.1 The leadership of the
Convention was clearly in no mood to consider such far-reaching
changes. On the contrary, the Convention’s nominating committee
went even further towards enlarging its influence over the University
when it approved only five of the eighteen candidates submitted by
the University for membership on the Board.2 Four of Wake Forest’s
most generous trustees were not selected.
Furthermore, Charles Dorman, speaking as chairman of the
Committee of Fifteen, in the second year of its proposed three-year
study, said that the kind of “breach” proposed in the Trustees’ rec-
ommendations “would finally result in a great loss for the Univer-
sity and the Baptist people of North Carolina and consequently the
work of the kingdom of God.” At the time President Scales was in
Paris on a UNESCO assignment, and I, acting as President in his
absence, replied to Dorman that Wake Forest had not expected that
chapter thirteen
1978–1979
Baptists, Business Courses, and Bells
2
Each year there
were nine openings
on the Board. The
Trustees prepared
for the Convention
a list of eighteen
names, from whom
nine, typically,
would be chosen.
1
A detailed analysis
of changes under
consideration in the
relationship between
the University and
the Convention, in-
cluding important
legal opinions, is to
be found in Presi-
dent Scales’s annual
report to Trustees
and alumni, printed
in The Wake Forest
Magazine, XXVI
(Summer 1979),
4–18.
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