A memory submitted by Sterling E. Moore, Class of 1954

Dr. William Mayne Longnecker was my biology professor in 1952 and he was instrumental, along with Drs. Harold Jeskey and Joe Harris, in my being accepted to medical school. On visiting SMU one Saturday afternoon in 1965, I took my children, ages eight and six, to tour Fondren Science Building. Dr. Longnecker was in a lab, writing lessons on a blackboard. As the door was open, we entered and interrupted him to greet and reminisce. After meeting the children and inquiring about their education, he learned that they were taking French lessons. Longnecker then proceeded to teach them the similarities and backgrounds of counting in three or four different languages, demonstrating on the blackboard, as he would continue to write and erase for 15 or 20 minutes. The children were fascinated and awed, and I reflected back to his abilities as a lecturer, his broad range of knowledge, and his animated facial, hand and body characteristics when interacting with students. Dr. Ogden Baine was head of the Chemistry Department in 1950, the year Fondren Science was dedicated. That year he taught general chemistry to our freshman class. The new facilities were outstanding, the acoustics in the amphitheater of high quality. We were six weeks into the lectures when Dr. Baine announced our first quiz. We had some trepidation as this would be our first major examination at the college level, and on that morning we sat on the edge of our seats. When Dr. Baine arrived carrying a stack of tests, he began passing them about the room. As he did so, he warned that no one should write on the booklets, or open them, until he gave the word. Once all had the test, he instructed us to put our names on the first page, and then put our pencils down. He next gave instructions to open the booklets, but not to write anything until he said “Begin.” The tensions and our anxieties were mounting as this imposing figure kept giving one warning and instruction after other. By this time he was standing behind the desk, staring at us to be sure no one started early. At that, without looking, he reached into the drawer in front of him, pulled out a pistol, raised his arm toward the ceiling, and fired a blank cartridge. With the deafening sound and prolonged ringing in the ears that followed, Dr. Bain’s command to “Begin” was totally lost. Beyond that point, no one seemed to remember anything about the exam.