14
| the history of wake forest
“Tcontroversial
hese have been eventful years, exacting but exhilarating,
yet constructive.… I have tried at all times
to give my best in thought and labor to the service of the College.
Now I am tired, very tired.… The institution needs new and vigor-
ous leadership.”1
With these words Harold W. Tribble—on October 14, 1966, soon
after the beginning of his seventeenth year as President of Wake
Forest College—announced to the College’s Board of Trustees that
he wanted to retire. My “three-fold mission” has been accomplished,
he said: the College has been moved to its new home in Winston-
Salem; a building program has been successfully financed; and grad-
uate studies have been resumed and expanded. Tribble was 66 years
old. The last day of his presidency would be June 30, 1967.
President Tribble chose with care the adjectives he used to de-
scribe his years at Wake Forest. They had indeed been “controversial”:
in 1956, by the astonishingly close vote of 20 to 13, the Trustees had
decided to retain him in office despite the opposition of some of
Wake Forest’s most respected and influential alumni. And there had
been the December night in 1955 when five hundred students, angry
because the Director of Athletics and the football coach had resigned,
had marched to the President’s home and burned him in effigy.
But the Tribble years had also been “exhilarating”—perhaps
never more so than on the day (November 13, 1963) when, returning
from the defeat by the Baptist State Convention of a modest proposal
to change requirements for membership on the College Board of
Trustees, Tribble, who had fought courageously for the proposal,
was welcomed back to the campus by an estimated thousand sup-
porters, mostly students, who cheered and threw confetti. Tribble
chapter one
From Tribble to Scales:
From College to University
1
The Wake Forest
Magazine, XIII
(Nov. 1966), 4.
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