Returning to its tradition of clergyman-president, the Board selected John Alfred Morehead (Class of 1889) as Roanoke’s fourth president. Morehead strengthened College ties with the Lutheran Church, which was finally in a financial position to contribute to the endowment. He also continued Dreher’s private fundraising efforts. With an improved financial picture, Roanoke engaged in a building program which included dormitories (The Sections), the Commons, and--what the students had been begging for for years—a gymnasium! The President’s home was razed, and "Rose Lawn" built in its place. Morehead dramatically increased the size of the faculty and the student body surpassed 200 for the first time in Roanoke’s history.
World War I had its negative impact on the College, with both enrollment and income dropping. But Morehead saw his services needed in Europe even more. First taking a leave of absence to serve as Chairman of the European Commission of the National Lutheran Council, Morehead tendered his resignation in April, 1920, to continue the work of wartime relief by the Lutheran Church. He was later nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work overseas.