The laying of the cornerstone of Main Building took place on July 4, 1851, and as part of the ceremony, The Rev. William May Wightman, the chairman of the new college’s board of trustees, gave a somewhat lengthy address. With thousands present, Wightman, who had been named to the board in Benjamin Wofford’s will, proclaimed, “We make this beautiful grove classic ground. For posterity emphatically we lay this cornerstone. Generations unborn are interested in the transaction of this hour.”
Wightman went on to announce that the college would “combine temple and academy; will be sacred at once to religion and letters… It is impossible to conceive of greater benefits, to the individual or to society, than those embraced in the gift of a liberal education…”
In writing a piece about President Wightman for the upcoming Wofford Today, I came across the handwritten version of his address in the Wightman Papers. Someone asked me to share, so I am including it below.