baptists,
business
courses,
and bells
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The two professional schools on
the Reynolda campus—law and man-
agement—continued to experience
problems in leadership and mission.
Law dean Pasco Bowman, who
had taken a leave of absence in 1977–
1978 to teach at the University of
Virginia, announced the following
summer that he would not be return-
ing to Wake Forest but would instead
accept a position as dean of the law
school at the University of Missouri.
He chose to make “no comment”
about his decision.3 Also, WILPA
having been dissolved, Sylvester
Petro was named director of a Baylor
University-affiliated Institute of Law
and Policy Research. He decided
that, rather than moving to Texas, he
would remain in Winston-Salem.
To undertake a search for a new law dean, the Trustees appointed
a committee of eleven, chaired by Professor of Law David Shores
and including three additional members of the law faculty, four
trustees, and two law school alumni. I also served on the commit-
tee: the only non-lawyer. The committee’s recommendation, made
after four or five months of deliberation and interviews, was that
Wake Forest select John Donald “Don” Scarlett, Dean of the Drake
University Law School. The law faculty unanimously endorsed the
committee’s choice.
Scarlett was already well known in the University community.
A graduate of Catawba College (1948) and Harvard Law School
(1951), he had taught at Wake Forest for eight years (1955–1963)
and had then gained valuable administrative experience as a law
dean, first at the University of South Dakota and then at Drake. He
was, by nature, fair and conciliatory; moreover, he understood the
traditions of law at Wake Forest, and he would have as his Associ-
ate Dean Leon Corbett, an alumnus of both the College and the
School of Law, who had served justly and faithfully as Acting Dean
following Bowman’s departure. Together, it seemed, they would be
Don Scarlett
3
I think it important,
particularly in view
of the sometimes
heated exchanges
between the two men,
to report that, in a
letter dated August
29, 1978, Scales wrote
Bowman: “During
your service, and in
the past decade, the
Wake Forest School of
Law has undergone
the greatest changes
since this, our first
professional school,
was established in
1894. Working to-
gether, we have made
steady progress in
enrollment, in growth
and preparation of
faculty, in library
holdings and in in-
creased student use
of facilities. When
all else is forgot, I
hope you will recall
our partnership in
the common task.”
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