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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with I. Beverly Lake Sr., September 8, 1987. Interview C-0043. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Closeness of Wake Forest students and faculty

Lake fondly recalls the closeness between Wake Forest students and the faculty. He marvels at how his students became leaders in North Carolina. Lake's teaching gained the support of his students, which proved useful for his later political campaigns.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with I. Beverly Lake Sr., September 8, 1987. Interview C-0043. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

I. BEVERLY LAKE:
...The relationship between the Wake Forest students, and to some degree this was true of Duke also, but the relationship between the Wake Forest law students and the Wake Forest professors was remarkably close. The students would frequently come visit us. They always came to our offices at will to consult us about anything that was troubling them. We had law school on the upper floor of a very old college library building which has now been destroyed. But we turned out remarkably capable men. The two best classes I ever had. I think, were the class of 1938 and the class of 1950. In the class of 1938 we graduated, if I'm not mistaken, eighteen men. Among those eighteen men were the later Chief Justice Branch. Justice David Britt of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and Judge Robert Martin of the Court of Appeals, who ran for the Supreme Court and was defeated by Judge Brock by some 50 votes statewide. So I came that close to having three of my students, classmetes, on the Supreme Court of North Carolina at the same time. Also in that class was Shearon Harris, who became President of Carolina Power and Light Company and President of United States Chamber of Commerce. Several of the other pupils became successful and distinguished men. The other fine class that stands out in my mind was the class of 1950. That class was composed almost entirely of returned veterans. When the war was over, the two law schools separated, and we came back to Wake Forest. We were all somewhat uneasy, I mean all over the country, uneasy as to what, how we were going to handle these returned veterans, ranking from private to brigadier generals to rear admirals. They were much more mature both in years and in experiences than the students before the war. We were not certain just exactly what problems those situations would create, not only at Wake Forest but all over the country. We found that the returning veterans were, as a group, the best students we ever had particularly in the first year classes. One of my students, not in that class of 1950, was Dr. Norman A. Wiggins, who is now President of Campbell University, and who, after serving in the Marine Corps, came back to college and then to law school. But in the class of 1950, the top man in that class was Sam Behrends, who has recently retired as vice president of Carolina Power and Light Company. Others, I think I've got them more or less in order, were: George Womble, who's President of Durham Life Insurance Company: Hiram Ward, who's United States District Judge for the Middle District: Charlie Whitley, who's retired as a United States Congressman. Then it went on down the line, not necessarily in order, United States Senator Robert Morgan and--it'll come to me immediately--a great number of men who became distinguished judges and legislators in North Carolina. So that shows the quality of the Wake Forest Law School, and it was a great honor to have served as a member of its faculty. Those men whom I taught, not only in that class but in all the others before it, those men became the nucleus of my political campaign when I ran for Governor in 1960 and again in 1964.