Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Memories of Huntingdon College and Jeff Sessions

I attended two Alabama schools in pursuit of a bachelors degree. One was the University of Alabama and the other was a small, liberal arts college in Montgomery, Huntingdon College. I was awarded a BS with a major in business administration in 1969. Huntingdon was known as a "poor little rich kids school". The tuition was on a par with Harvard. Many children of rich and powerful people ended up at Huntingdon after an unsuccessful run somewhere else or just to keep control of the party hardy gene prevalent in many of them. I was not one of them. Huntingdon just happened to be in my back yard so I went there.

I ended up having a 30 year career with a huge, global company. I served in several positions ranging from sales rep to government affairs manager. The customers and clients that I served were very bright people. The prime customers were physicians and health related personnel. During the GA assignment I was in touch with legislators at all levels and association executives with ties to health care. I always was comfortable in relating to all of them and felt that my Huntingdon education had prepared me in a splendid fashion to conduct myself as a business professional.

I remember a certain business law class that I took at Huntingdon. The professor was appointed to a federal judge position later by President Nixon and had recently served as US Attorney for the middle district of Alabama. He was quite the colorful jurist.

The class I took from him was held at 7:00 AM in the Delchamps center on campus. He had a deep baritone voice and pretty much read the text book to us at that early hour of the day. The class of 25 or so of us would listen to him and wait for the inflection to rise in his voice at particular segues. When that occurred you were well assured that the subject addressed was going to be on the test. You wanted to take special notes during such moments.

On this chilly, January day we were in his class. I was taking careful notes with a Flair tipped pen. It had a nylon point and was a forerunner to the roller ball. It made a nice writing instrument with bold, black images that were easy to read. Amidst one of Judge Varner's changes in inflection I was furiously scribbling notes. The pen went dry. The seats in the classroom were aligned in a straight line with parallel rows running straight away from judge Varner. So we were seated right behind another student with the exact alignment to the right and left of each of us. As my pen went dry I shook it desperately like a thermometer and the ink happily returned to the tip so I was successful in completing my notes.

After a lull in the lecture I casually looked at the floor to my right. I was horrified to see splashes of black ink on the floor running at a 45 degree angle to the row of students to my right. I then noted a student who had ink all across his London Fog trench coat and part of his shirt. He was looking haplessly at the ceiling as if he had been awakened by a kamikaze from above. Class ended in a few minutes afterwards and I approached the student and apologized profusely offering to pay to have his coat cleaned.

That student was Jeff Sessions. I knew him casually having played intramural basketball with him. He was one of a few lucky campus dorm male students who lived amidst the 3 to 1 ratio of women to men there at Huntingdon. He was such a nice, gracious person who laughed at the ink incident. He was from Mobile and was immensely popular there on our tiny campus.

Jeff went to law school at Alabama. Practiced law in Alabama, was appointed U S Attorney there. He later became Attorney General for Alabama and won a senate seat and has been Senator Jeff Sessions ever since. He helped carry water for the Trump campaign and it is now being discussed that he  may well land a cabinet position. My ink target may possibly become the secretary of defense. You never know where life is going to lead. Wish I had been more careful with that Flair pen.

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