David McHam and Darwin Payne were two of my favorite professors at SMU. I graduated 37 years ago and often still think of what I learned in their classes. My only regret is that I was not older when took their classes, so I would have appreciated the experience even more.
I would not have succeeded in law school if I had not taken David McHam’s writing class. He taught me that every word has a particular meaning and should be used correctly and carefully. This is extremely important in my profession. I think of him every time I read in the newspaper that someone “held” a meeting, since he taught us that a meeting is not “held.” He also introduced us to Willie Nelson and other famous Texas musicians that I continue to enjoy.
Darwin Payne used his experiences as a journalist to motivate his students to consider the ethical issues involved when covering a story. I was so glad to see him on the NBC special about the death of President Kennedy. I remember the stories about his interaction with Mr. Zapruder after the assassination and the difficult ethical issues he faced when interviewing Mr. Zapruder. I will also never forget the day that John Henry Faulk spoke to us In Mr. Payne’s class about the adversity he faced during blacklisting and the courage he exhibited in facing that adversity.