Chapter Three: 1985–1986 41
distinguish, therefore, our desire to be of service to our Baptist constituency from a gover-
nance relationship with the Convention which meets just three days a year.”
By April 24, the situation began to turn around. In a letter to Wake Forest Trustee
Russell W. Meyer Jr. of Cessna Aircraft Company in Wichita, Hearn wrote: “There
have been positive developments in our negotiations with the Baptist State Con-
vention in recent days. I am fairly confident now that there will be some resolution
acceptable to Wake Forest.”
The Rhodes
The initiation of a proposed new covenant with the Baptist State Convention was
not the only major news story of the academic year. Just as exciting, but with much
less tension attached, was the selection of senior Richard Chapman for one of the
oldest, most prestigious scholarships in the world. Every year, more than 80 college
students, 32 of them from the United States, are chosen as Rhodes Scholars to study
for degrees at Oxford University. As far back as the 1920s, Wake Forest students
had been counted among the recipients, but beginning in January 1986 a new era of
scholastic achievement began. Chapman was a Carswell Scholar, a math major with
a 4.0 grade point average, and an avid cyclist. He conducted research both in physics
and on the Italian painter Giovanni Bellini as a result of a semester in Wake Forest’s
Venice program. He later reported to Tom Phillips that the experience altered his
perspective more than any other in his life. He credited Associate Professor of His-
tory James P. Barefield, who directed the Venice program he had attended, with an
instrumental role in his award.
Chapman’s award was the first in a stream of prominent scholarship honors
awarded to Wake Forest students. From 1984 to 2005, Wake Forest students garnered
nine Rhodes, nine Truman, nine Rotary, seventeen Fulbright, and a goodly number
of Luce, Beinecke, Mellon, Javits, Goldwater, and Cooke awards. This steady achieve-
ment was unprecedented in University history and
may be attributed to three factors. First, in the 1980s
the University began to attract many more well-
prepared and high-achieving students. Second,
professors like Barefield in History and Katy Har-
riger in Political Science, as well as Tom Phillips in
Admissions, became more directly involved in iden-
tifying exceptional candidates in their sophomore
and junior years and providing them with model
writing and interviewing sessions. Susan Faust,
administrative assistant in the Provost’s Office, also
did an excellent job of preparing Truman, Rotary,
and other scholarship nominees for interviews.
Third, Reynolds and Carswell Scholars started tak-
ing greater advantage of summer grant opportuni-
ties offered by both scholarship programs to find
the intensive and atypical summer experiences that
would speed their intellectual and social maturity. James P. Barefield
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