The following is from the March 26, 2007, edition of The Dallas Morning News.
By MICHAEL GRANBERRY
The Dallas Morning News
Many teachers come and go, barely making a blip on a student's radar. And then some teachers are extraordinary, leaving a lasting imprint on students' lives.
For Douglas Terry, Joe Coomer and Tracy Daugherty – all published novelists – Marshall Terry was precisely that kind of teacher – one Southern Methodist University has been lucky to have.
Related Links :
• Read the full story
• Students, friends share memories
• Share your memories of Marshall Terry
• Author Joe Coomer's essay
• About SMU's 2007 LitFest
"You always knew Marshall was going to help you as much as he could and tell you the truth about your writing," says Douglas Terry, author of The Last Texas Hero. "But it was always in a way to build your enthusiasm. ... It was all about confidence and creating your own voice."
Douglas Terry, 55, is not the first student to have found his voice or had his life changed in Marshall Terry's class. In more than 50 years as a professor at SMU, Mr. Terry – who's retiring at 76 – has directly influenced thousands of students. At least eight have become published novelists, and some, including Mr. Daugherty, are running their own programs at other schools.
SMU President Gerald Turner has called Professor Terry "the campus Yoda" since he seems to be all-seeing and all-knowing; he has served his alma mater in so many capacities for so many years that colleagues long ago branded him "Mr. SMU."
So, to mark the departure of the Hilltop legend, Douglas Terry and other students will return to campus for a three-day symposium and literary festival beginning Thursday that will honor his life and career. Those paying tribute include Mr. Daugherty, who, in a case of protégé imitating mentor, founded the creative writing program at Oregon State University and is the author of four novels.
He once called his former professor "the most humane teacher I've ever had."
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