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visit the cafeteria or the library, see a play or hear a concert, and
everywhere he went, he stopped to talk, to ask how people were.
Class and race and conditions of employment were never barri-
ers to his friendship or his compassionate concern. He genuine-
ly liked being with people, and people genuinely liked being
with him. Also, he never wanted to offend. How often, when he
feared he had said or done something improper, have I heard
him say “So sorry.”
How did this president of admittedly patrician inclinations
remain so thoroughly a man of the people? In part, I think, be-
cause he continued to be an old-fashioned liberal. Brought up in
the inspirational and hopeful years of Franklin Roosevelt’s New
Deal, tempered by the progressive patriotic virtues proclaimed
in World War II, he believed passionately in democracy and in
the unique power of the American democracy to improve the
lives and the fortunes of all its citizens. He never allowed his
position or his authority to separate him from those who lacked
position and authority. He knew that “The rank is but the guin-
ea’s stamp.” “A man’s a man for a’that!”
And, I am also confident that his being a life-long Southern
Baptist gave substance and power to his essentially optimistic
nature. Ultimately, I think he knew no other faith than the one
in which his father and mother and the churches of Oklahoma
nurtured him. He rejoiced in the heritage of Wake Forest, he
was sad when changing perspectives in the denomination
caused it to become diminished, but he stood true to a vision of
education that is morally and spiritually redemptive and that is
rooted deeply in Baptist life.
I have said that Dr. Scales’s nature was optimistic, and I
think that it was. But this optimism was often and sorely tested.
Many of us here today remember, with a grief that is still alive,
the death of his talented and vivacious daughter Laura when she
was a mere twenty years old. We also have unfading memories
of his wife Betty Randel Scales, a woman of dignity and grace
who filled every role she played—teacher, mother, friend, First
Lady of Wake Forest—with straightforward and unpretentious
wisdom. And we watched with admiration as Dr. Scales him-
self, sometimes alone on long nights and difficult days in the
hospital, faced pain and death and, again and again, emerged
victorious—ready once more to come back to work, to fly to
Oklahoma, to take a Caribbean cruise, or just to go to a movie
or read another book or visit another friend.
In this congregation I must speak also of the fourth member of
the Scales family: Dr. Scales’s second daughter, Ann, a woman
well designed to enlarge the legacy of the family and its contri-
butions to true and fully inclusive democracy. She is independent
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