I have two.
Franklin Balch was smart, entertaining, and interested in his students, both in class and out. He took a personal interest in his student’s intellectual progress, and their personal well-being. Our freshman small group seminar met in his home, where his gracious and lovely wife made incoming freshmen from widely divergent backgrounds feel at home while far from home, and Prof Balch sparked or fanned our desire to be intellectually curious and to hone the critical thinking that should be the cornerstone of a liberal arts degree.
After freshman year, I considered him both my mentor and my friend, and treasured him in both roles. We could, and did, talk sports, the female of the species, the evils and joy of tobacco and the circular as opposed to linear nature of the spectrum of political thought, and the divergence of political theory and practice. He encouraged taking classes from the best professors in each discipline, regardless of their reputation on grades. One of my favorite lines from him was that he believed in the divine right of kings, and that he was anxiously awaiting the time the rest of of the world to agree and appoint him king.
Hal Williams was the president of The College when I came to SMU in 1978. Because of his speaking, bureaucratic and fundraising roles, he only taught one class, a spring course, America 1900 to present. Freshmen were ineligible to sign up for the class due to its difficulty and popularity. I had enrolled in the three-year program and some ambiguity existed concerning my eligibility to sign up for the class. With the help of Prof Balch, I was able to take the course. Prof Williams was the most dynamic, thought-provoking and entertaining professor I have ever had the pleasure to learn from. His class was dynamic, and his use of multi-media was cutting edge (remember, this was 1978). The course required the reading of at least 11 books in one semester, but it was worth every minute, in class and out.