Public Papers and Letters of Oliver Max Gardner: Governor of North Carolina, 1929-1933

By Edwin Gill; David Leroy Corbitt | Go to book overview

The Wake Forest mind does not run in grooves; it breaks through the barriers to the frontiers of thinking. There is a genius for leadership in this college which is indefinable. And yet, on second thought, I believe I shall try to define it. Is it not our belief here that something deeper and stronger than the human will holds the State together and keeps it from falling into fragments? Is not this democracy of ours as capable of a scientific test as anything in your chemical or your biological laboratories? And in the State as in the plant, is there not a tendency by which both strive to fulfill the law of their being?

The point I make is that this democracy, which is of the essence of Wake Forest, fired our fathers to an audacious faith in mankind. It will inspire their children with the will to preserve that faith. Here, as the late Edwin A. Alderman once said, "a sound and varied learning is taught," but running through the whole of college life, like the theme in a great operatic score, is the belief that mankind are brothers in a divine family, and that the attempt of some to prosper at the expense of others is a violent denial of the fundamental article of our faith.

I want to see you give full play to that faith. Your world never has needed it more. I want to see you do your part to recover the lost radiance of our democracy. I want you who have descended from sires of 70, 60, 50 and 40 years ago to remember them. Who among you does not have a kinsman who looked upon wide tracts of fertile territory, blackened with fire and ruin, countless homes destroyed in general conflagrations; no homes in which sorrow did not come, no firesides where care and anxiety did not find a place? For the sorrows of our people rose like a flood and all the sweet places of peace and happiness, the quiet gardens of beauty and fruitfulness were blighted and Wake Forest took deeper root and withstood the storm. A

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