| the history of wake forest
rom the beginning, religious services had been a central,
times even dominant, feature of life at Wake Forest. In the
“Wake Forest Institute” of 1834 students assembled twice a day, once
before breakfast, and once again before supper, for worship led by
“Principal” Samuel Wait.1 And throughout the nineteenth century,
in spite of occasional changes in form and schedule and content,
attendance by students at “chapel” programs was required. During
the administration of President Charles E. Taylor (1884–1905), for
example, a service was held every day except Sunday, usually about
eight o’clock in the morning. Members of the faculty were also
strongly “advised” by the Board of Trustees to attend.2
In the early years of the twentieth century, although chapel ser-
vices were still required for students and recommended for faculty
members, they became “largely secularized” and were “less rever-
ent and worshipful,” sometimes “given over to musical programs
and student meetings of various kinds.” Penalties for non-attendance
were established, but “there is no record that any student was ever
expelled on account of failure to attend chapel.”3
In 1968, as for some years previously, the hour from ten o’clock
until eleven o’clock every Tuesday and Thursday morning was re-
served for “chapel.” Students were still required to attend, and their
presence was checked by student monitors, using charts on which
every student was assigned a numbered seat. Excessive absences were
reported to the office of the Dean of Men, and sometimes delinquent
students were reprimanded, but, as in the past, no one was ever
suspended from school.
chapter three
The End of Chapel and
the Changing College Scene
It was not until
1838 that Wake
Forest Institute
became Wake Forest
College and Prin-
cipal Wait became
President Wait.
For information
about chapel ser-
vices during the
years before 1943,
I am indebted to
George W. Paschal’s
History of Wake
Forest College. See,
especially, Chapter
XXIII in Volume II
and Chapter II in
Volume III.
Paschal, History,
Volume III, pp.
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