Skip to content

Mormon Scientist: The life and faith of Henry Eyring.

Memoirs of the man who fused science & religion

Featured Memory

Going the second mile for a humble undergradduate

David Brighton Timmins |  posted: June 29, 2008 |  occurred: Sometime in the spring of 1952 |  in: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

When I was still an undergraduate at the University of Utah in 1952 I got a note from the secretary of my major department saying that Graduate School Dean Henry Eyring would like to see me. With some fear and trembling that there was a problem with my major or with my graduation plans I showed up at the Dean’s office.

Dean Eyring told me he’d been going over my transcript and found that I had many more classes than needed to graduate. Moreover, several of these were Upper Division classes in which I ‘d gotten A’s which could count as graduate classes. If I took a couple of more summer school classes I could graduate with a Masters as well as my B.S. This meant that when I joined the US Diplomatic Service after graduation I was inducted one grade higher (with a higher salary) than others of my group of new Foreign Service Officers.

I wondered at the time why Dean Eyring would spend time going over the records of a humble undergraduate. I now realize he took seriously his objective of turning the University of Utah into a major graduate university and was rounding up every student eligible for a graduate degree. But I wonder how many other U students he gave such an important leg up in life.

David Brighton Timmins; BS, MS, University of Utah; PhD, Harvard; US Foreign Service Officer (ret.)