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Former professor to hold booksigning

Nov. 6, 1998

BY PATRICK BADGLEY

Contributor

Patrick_Badgley@baylor.edu

Dr. Ralph Lynn, a former Baylor University history professor, will be signing copies of his recently finished novel, What a World! The Collected Essays of Dr. Ralph Lynn, to kick off the homecoming weekend.

Dr. Paul Armistead, history department professor, said Lynn 'was and is a favorite professor of former Baylor students.'

The signing will be held at noon today at Baylor's Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center on University Parks Drive.

'I started writing my newspaper columns 40 years ago, so I don't remember most of them,' Lynn said jokingly about his book. 'I haven't even seen the book. I don't know what's in it.'

Lynn, who led the anti-war demonstrations at Baylor during Vietnam, taught classes that were fully booked a year in advance.

'He was most famous in the '60s,' said Dr. Robert Darden, part-time English lecturer and editor of Lynn's essay collection. 'He was one of the only liberals in a 10,000-mile radius. To Baylor's credit, they didn't fire him when all of the Southern Baptists would have wanted him fired.'

Dr. Steve Sadler, publisher of the book, said no professor has had a more endearing relationship with students.

'Students come to homecoming just to see him,' Sadler said.

With a mailing list of more than 10,000 former students, Lynn has been loved by almost all of the Baylor graduates he taught.

Speaking of a retirement dinner in honor of Lynn in which letters were solicited from former students, Armistead said, 'If I would receive three or four letters that expressed as much gratitude and care that each of the 200 or 300 for Lynn expressed, I would consider my career great.'

As another example of the positive feelings former students have for Lynn, Darden spoke of an occasion in which he requested letters from two of Lynn's famous former students. The two from whom he requested letters, Robert Fulghum, a New York Times best-selling author, and Ann Richards, former Texas governor, wrote letters of deep appreciation that same day.

Yet another demonstration of the former students' love for Lynn came in the form of monetary contributions for the underwriting of the book.

'I was going to go to the University of Texas or Texas A&M to underwrite the book, but Lynn's students--they call themselves Lynnists--were happy to underwrite the book,' Darden said. 'Donations ranged from $20 to $1,500.'

Comparing the selection of which stories should be put in the book to 'deciding between two gems,' Darden said the collection of essays will really make people think. He was happy to find out that the publishing company, Narrative Publishing, would make the decision concerning which stories would be selected for the book.

Lynn spends an average of two days a week visiting the history department and still takes part in the services at First Baptist Church in Waco, according to Armistead.

Lynn graduated from Baylor in 1932 and then served in World War II. After the war, he earned his master's degree from Baylor, and then he continued his education by earning his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in 1951. He began teaching European history classes at Baylor in 1952 and retired in 1975.

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