In 1954 I entered SMU with a general idea that I wanted to be a lawyer but without a clue as to what would be a good pre-law major. For some reason I enrolled in a course in Comparative Literature – I’m not sure why, probably because something like that was required.
I remember very well the first day of the course, when Professor Lon Tinkle walked in to start teaching. I think that about 30 minutes into that first day, I knew that my life would never be the same. I had never had a teacher who inspired me so much to want to learn what he knew (although I had a quite good English teacher at Highland Park). I went on to major in Comparative Literature (really to major in Professor Tinkle) and go on to law school.
I am not sure whether or not my major helped me in law school or as a lawyer, but it gave me a life long love of literature, especially drama – as I think about it, Professor Tinkle’s classes were small plays. After my career in law, I entered the business world – occasionally I thought that it would have been easier to run a business if I had taken a few business courses or some advanced math, but I would always think back to those golden days of Comparative Lit classes at SMU and realize that there was nothing that I would trade for them, or for Professor Tinkle. Many years later, at a charitable event, I had a chance to tell him how he had changed my life.