The Price of a Chair


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In the fall of 1991 Salvatore Nunzio was announced as the winner of theTexas State Law School's Distinguished Alumnus Award. The announcement of the award was greeted with cynicism by most of mycolleagues and with outrage by a few. The cynics noted that six months earlierNunzio had won the largest antitrust judgment in Texas history on behalf ofthe small Circle W Oil Company. The verdict, which was against Shell Oil forattempting to put Circle W out of business, was for two billion dollars. The case was eventually settled for about one billion, and estimates of Nunzio's fee were as high as $200,000,000, easily the largest in Texas history and perhaps the largest legal fee ever earned by an individual attorney in asingle case anywhere in the United States. Richard Dover, who taught lawand literature courses, told me, "That's just like the dean, confusing wealthand distinction."

The outrage was based on Nunzio's politics and style of discourse.

One of the traits that infuriated people was Nunzio's tendency to generalize about ethnic groups. He once told a young associate namedTimowski, who had made a major error on a brief: "Poles haven't acquired their reputation for stupidity without cause." Another time he told a reporter seeking to know the secret of his success: "I'm Italian. Italians like to threaten, fake, and make shady deals. And there is no better preparation for law."

Nunzio was reported to have said on more than one occasion that "left-wing Jewish intellectuals are ruining this country." Over lunch one day, Abe Levine, one of his Jewish partners, confirmed the quote and told me without much apparent concern, "None of us pay attention to Sal's political ravings." While such comments may not have fazed his partners, they madeNunzio an object of suspicion to many in the Jewish community.

One of the stories about Nunzio that intrigued me concerned his comments when the Lakeview Country Club, of which he was a member, was considering Dr.Theodore Hartman, its first Jewish applicant. I was told that Nunzio spoke after a local physician, named Anderson, had stated his opposition. Anderson had taken the position that although Hartman was "an excellent doctor," he would "feel and be out of place."

"I agree with Dr. Anderson,"Nunzio said. "One thing we Italians have learned is that if you start evaluating Jews fairly, before long you'll be up to your ass in Jews."

Despite a reputation as a tight man with a buck, Nunzio gave money to Texas State Law School each year. Sometimes he earmarked his donations, but mostly he limited himself to making a sizeable gift and sending it to the dean along witha letter attacking one or another of the school's current policies. He was a bitter opponent of affirmative action and also regularly decried the addition of "crazy left-wing-oriented courses." Each year Dean Engle wrote him a long letter in reply pointing out indications of the school's new stature and assuring him that "the faculty is not chosen for its ideology but for its legal competence."

Nunzio was only one of many temperamental alumni that Engle regularly wrote to. No special effort was made to win his support or get him to increase his contribution until the Circle W verdict was announced.

I met Nunzio for the first time at the awards ceremony. He was small with dark brown hair streaked with gray. His eyes were bright and active. He spoke in the self-assured voice of someone accustomed to being listened to. When he learned that I was originally from New York and had gone to BrooklynCollege, he seemed pleased. He told me, "We need a few New Yorkers on this faculty to add spice." He was happy to get the alumni award even though he seemed to understand the reason for it. He told me in a voice rich with mock sincerity, "I know you guys would have done it anyway based on my many jurisprudential contributions to the profession. The dean assured me that the Shell case had nothing to do with it."

In accordance with Engle's instructions, the prospect of increasing Nunzio's contribution to the school did not come up during the awards ceremony, the cocktail party that preceded it, or the dinner that followed. But we heard from one of his partners that Nunzio had said,"Engle is bound to put the arm on me soon. I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood, and one thing I learned was that you guys never leave anyone with money alone. It doesn't matter though, 'cause he's in for a surprise when he tries me."

A few weeks later I got a call from the dean's secretary, summoning me to his office. I was upset by the call and fearful that he was going to warn me that I was in trouble because of student complaints or my failure to write law review articles, something I worried a great deal about. Instead, he greeted me enthusiastically and told me, "I'm about to begin my Nunzio campaign. I'll be in San Antonio next weekend and I've arranged to take him to dinner, and it occurred to me that you, coming from the East and all, might be able to help me out. I'm going to appoint you temporarily as coordinator for alumni relations. Your job will be to help convince Nunzio that faculty and other alumni consider him distinguished...a leader at the bar.In other words, kiss his ass, but do it subtly."

Engle didn't give me an opportunity to refuse. He just told me when and where to meet him and what to wear.

Engle was known to be one of the ablest fundraising deans in the country. Indeed I had come to Texas State because of his reputation. I had intended to turn down their offer of an appointment as assistant professor until Lorne Smithson, who was in charge of Harvard's program for aspiring law teachers, convinced me that I should give Texas State a try.

Smithson assured me that Texas State was bound to be an up-and-coming law school under Engle, whom he described as "the ablest young dean at a third-tier school in the country." I was surprised because when I first met Engle (during my recruiting visit to the school) he didn't look or sound like an academic leader. His appearance was ordinary at best: medium height with wide hips, a well-rounded rear end, and jowly cheeks. His stomach hung over the ornately carved belt that seemed to be his one effort to look Texan. He spoke with a marked Boston accent. But I trusted Smithson and assumed that the Harvard faculty knew more about the status of other law schools than I did. With much trepidation, I finally accepted the Texas State offer.

I learned about Engle during the coffee hour. Each morning from ten to eleven most of the law faculty would gather in the faculty lounge for coffee and academic gossip. By gossip I don't mean pedestrian questions like who was sleeping with whom or who was earning the most money. We talked about questions more compelling to professors: who were the great scholars and teachers and what were their secrets, what faculty at second-tier schools were likely to receive appointments at Harvard or Yale, which were the law schools on the rise, and who were the future deans at major schools. In one way or another, we tried to figure out where we stood in the great chain of legal education as individuals and where Texas State ranked as a law school. Optimists claimed we were as high as twentieth place, but most felt we were just moving into the top forty, a position that we all thought of as a significant improvement.

During coffee hour, Dean Engle always sat in the big leather easy chair at the back of the lounge; almost always he did most of the talking. Watching him in action, I realized he had what my mother used to call "working charm." He wasn't very impressive in casual conversation, but when he wanted to impress someone, he could be warm, funny, and even endearing. His charm was most noticeable in his dealings with alumni, with whom he was invariably gracious and witty. He was equally effective with the leaders of the state bar and the officers of major foundations, groups from which he obtained large and regular donations to the school. I knew that he was prepared to expend a great deal of effort persuading Nunzio to contribute some of his newly acquired wealth to the school.

We took Nunzio to dinner at El Pescadera, which the dean assured me was the best seafood restaurant inSan Antonio. The meal was excellent. Engle had arranged for fresh lobsters tobe flown in from Maine. After dinner, while we were sipping brandy, he asked Nunzio if he was interested in being appointed adjunct professor of trial tactics.

Nunzio looked up in much surprise. "Wouldn't that require faculty approval?"

I took this as my opportunity to enter the discussion. "As coordinator for alumni relations," I said, "I can speak for the faculty on this issue. You have a lot of fans at TSU. We'd find it an honor to have you as a colleague."

Nunzio's face broke into a smile. "That's amazing, even flattering, but there are two reasons why it wouldn't work. First of all, I'm not really interested in legal ideas. I'm interested in political ideas. And second, I'm uniquely unqualified to teach. But since I think I understand the reason for this meeting, I want you to know that I've been thinking about making a major gift to the law school. Dean Engle, how much would it cost to endow one of your fancy new professorships?"

The dean smiled broadly and for a brief moment laughed the delighted laugh of someone whose fantasy is about to be realized, but he quickly regained his composure, and when he answered, his expression was serious, almost grave. "The new ones start at about one million. Of course if you add a full-time secretary, travel, and research funds you're probably talking about something closer to two million. I know that sounds like a lot, but you have to realize..."

Nunzio broke in before Engle could finish. "I would expect to add money to acquire books, papers, andtranslators, and also probably an addition to the library to house the newmaterials, so I suppose were now talking about three or four million dollars."

My immediate reaction was that this was too good to be true. I noticed that Engle's face showed more suspicion than delight. "Tell me more preciselywhat kind of professorship you have in mind, and what kinds of controls over the money do you expect to have?"

Nunzio looked at us as though amazed by the question. His face was as innocent as a first-year law students. "It would be a professorship in comparative government, and I wouldn't expect to control any aspect of the expenditure after the person is selected. The only requirement is that the chair be named for and involve study in the ideas of Benito Mussolini, whom I consider one of the most misunderstood thinkers of our time."

At first I thought Nunzio was teasing us and the idea of a Mussolini Chair was a joke. But when I looked over at Engle and saw his neck muscles tighten, I realized that Nunzio was in deadly earnest.

I wasn't sure how to respond. Even Engle looked at Nunzio pleadingly. "We appreciate your generosity, but if I even mentioned the idea it would have the faculty up in arms not to mention my uncle Al who fought at Anzio Beach during WorldWar II."

Nunzio remained impassive. "No faculty ever turned down a gift of five million dollars that had so few strings attached to it. As far as your uncle is concerned, Dean Engle, don't tell him about it, or else explain to him that Mussolini was as much a victim of the war as anyone else. You can have him call me."

I wondered if the Mussolini idea was a matter of ethnic pride, so I suggested to Nunzio that we name the chair after another famous Italian: LaGuardia, Calabresi, Dante, Toscanini, even DiMaggio. He cut me off disdainfully. "I'm not interested in promoting one of these lovable wops. I'm interested in helping to restore the reputation of a great but unappreciated thinker."

Engle and I kept trying to get him to amend the terms, but he remained adamant. At one point Engle said, "Think of all the students you could help with such a grant if only you don't make it impossible for me to accept it."

Nunzio laughed. "I'm Italian, not Jewish. Guilt doesn't work with me. Besides, all you have to do is accept and all of those poor students and greedy professors will be happy. In fact, I'll make them even happier. I'll up the donation to seven million. But you have to send me a written letter ofacceptance within two weeks."

I was about to say something, but once again he interrupted. "Save your breath, Professor. It's been nice talking to you and the dean. I'll look forward to hearing from you."

Engle replied, "You'll hear from us one way or another within two weeks." I noticed he looked embarrassed and ashamed of himself. I mumbled something similar, taking my cue from him. Nunzio was smiling happily, obviously enjoying our consternation.

On the way home Engle confessed his confusion. "Why did I say one way or another? There is no way we would accept Nunzio's terms. A Benito Mussolini Chair in Law contradicts our deepest beliefs. No law faculty in America would seriously consider it."

I agreed. "It's unthinkable. We may be diverse and contentious, but we have nobody on the faculty who could stomach a Mussolini Chair.

That Monday when I went to the faculty lounge, I noticed that Engle was not there although most of the faculty seemed to be present. As soon as I walked in, Gerald Lebowitz, the school's resident expertin law and economics, asked in his unemotional way, "Did you get anything from Nunzio?"

"The only thing we got was the most frustrating proposal imaginable. He offered us seven million for a chair that has to be named for Mussolini. We told him that it was up to the faculty, and that we were sure the faculty would consider the idea of a Mussolini chair unthinkable."

"For seven million dollars almost anything is at least thinkable," said Howard Agee, the schools leading authority on dispute resolution. I was surprised at the nervous laughter that greeted this remark. Suddenly it occurred to me that some members of the faculty might actually want to accept the offer.

The next day Engle distributed a memo announcing a faculty meeting on the following Monday. He still didn't join the group for coffee.

The halls buzzed with conversations, some whispered, some angry,some filled with nervous laughter. There were lunch caucuses among faculty with similar views on education and politics and many evening phone calls discussing the proposal. I found myself outraged by Nunzio's behavior but intrigued and, I must admit, tempted by the money. Surprisingly there was no direct discussion of the matter during coffee hour. On one occasion, Rod Michael, who had graduated from Harvard, mentioned a phone call about something else from Alan Dershowitz. Michael said, "I'd sure hate to explain this one to Dersh." There was a big laugh, and no one had to ask him what he meant.

By the end of the week, news of the offer and of the impending faculty vote had reached other law schools. People were reporting calls from Cambridge, New Haven, Austin, Palo Alto, Chicago, and Ann Arbor.

Almost the entire faculty came to the meeting, which the dean began promptly at three oclock with a more detailed statement of his discussion with Nunzio. He finished by saying, "I have little doubt that Nunzio is serious. He is prepared to write out a check for at least seven million dollars if we are willing to establish the Mussolini Chair. If we reject the name, he will give us nothing." He asked if I had anything to add, but I said he had summed thingsup admirably. There was a short pause and then Barney Lang, a commercial law teacher known to most of us as "Fine Line Lang", raised his hand.

"Mr.Dean, did Nunzio specify Benito Mussolini? Perhaps we could call it the Mussolini Chair but provide by faculty vote that it is named for Francisco Mussolini, who was, I believe, the author of an eighteenth-centuryNeapolitan commercial code. You could tell Nunzio that we will establish a Mussolini Chair without mentioning the full name."

The suggestion was greeted with laughter, a smattering of possibly ironic applause, and a few snorts of outrage. One of the latter came from Michael DeCinsa, the schools young up-and-coming employment law teacher. His lower lip trembled and his body shook as he rose to speak. He seemed on the verge of tears. "That is the stupidest idea I have ever heard. I cannot believe that any law faculty would seriously consider naming a chair after a fascist dictator, an ally of Hitler, and a person responsible for the death of millions of people. As some ofyou know, I will be a visiting professor at Michigan next year. If we accept this ridiculous offer of Nunzio's, I will be ashamed for people to know that I come from Texas State."

When DeCinsa finished, hands were up all over the room. The dean called on Dalton Ray, one of the schools two African-American faculty. I liked Ray. During the late sixties he had been active in the civil rights movement, and according to faculty rumor he had had ties to the Blackstone Rangers when he was a student at Chicago in the early seventies. His office had a large picture of Huey Newton and another of Ray shaking hands with Thurgood Marshall. His radicalism still occasionally surfaced in the faculty lounge, but it rarely bothered people. He was a popular teacher, and he published articles in leading law journals. He told me once over drinks that he felt he was "entitled to the next chair Engle can finagle from someone."

Ray spoke in a low voice and rather formally, but with considerable emotion evident, "Mr. Dean, this is an issue that I cannot help but view from the unique perspective of an African-American. There is no great university in America that does not have a chair or a building or a division named for a racist, often someone who supported slavery or segregation. Yale has Calhoun College; West Texas has Shivers Hall and a Stark Professorship named for a person who led filibusters against the voting rights bill. Harvard, USC, and Stanford have chairs named for notorious racists. There was nothing worse about Mussolini than about many of those whose names are attached to legal educations most prestigious chairs. I could deal more easily myself with being the Mussolini Professor than with being the Stark Professor. The only thing that would be different about a Mussolini Chair is that it would be named for a foreign fascist rather than for an American racist. To me, as a black man, that makes it less troublesome rather than more. Every black professional has learned to endure slights and insults from the sort of people for whom chairs are named in this country."

When Ray finished, I noticed a lot of head-nodding and a smattering of applause. But it seemed more tentative than enthusiastic.

Engle next recognized Norton Pye,who taught property and was the oldest member of the faculty. I always admired Pye's silver gray hair and elegant dress. He wore pinstriped suits and narrow regimental ties. His clothes, his oratorical style, and even his jokes were different from those of the younger faculty. Pye had come to Texas State many years before from Harvard, where he was an outstanding student. Iwas told that great things had been expected of him when he first joined the faculty, but over the years he had been surprisingly ineffective as a teacher and his publication record had gone from slight to nonexistent. Now Pye rarely spoke at or even attended faculty meetings. Most of us did not mind. I knew that Engle had made it clear that he wanted Pye to retire, not only because Pye was a poor teacher but also because there were frequent complaints from aggrieved feminist students about his use of sexist stereotypes. There were even hints of possible sexual harassment.

Pye began by pointing out that he was almost certainly the only person on the faculty who had actually served during World War II. He spoke about his "pride in wearing the uniform of my country" and about "the unique feeling of comradeship" that he had shared with his fellow soldiers. "They were Americans from every part of the country and from every creed and background. Many were Italian-Americans who felt that Mussolini had tarnished their heritage. A goodly number died fighting against Mussolini and the ideas that he represented. We would dishonor their memory if we were to accept this condition, no matter how much money or other emoluments such acceptance would carry with it."

When Pye finished, I found myself nodding in agreement, and I could see expressions of shame on the faces of some of my colleagues.

Almost a minute passed before I saw Jack Heller's hand raised almost apologetically. Heller was one of our acknowledged stars. He had published in major journals almost immediately upon joining the faculty. He had come from Stanford, where he had simultaneously obtained his law degree and a Ph.D. in political science. He was a part of the critical legal studies movement and was frequently invited to attend conferences on the intersection of law and various social science disciplines. He was cynical about the rule of law and cynical about the accomplishments of legal education. Most of us envied and admired him.

Heller was not eloquent in the way older faculty often were. He spoke hesitatingly, interspersing a string of ums between his ideas and sometimes repeating himself. His oratorical style suggested that he was thinking out loud rather than attempting to persuade, but he could be surprisingly effective when he really cared about an issue. He began almost apologetically. "It is difficult not to be stirred by Norton Pye's eloquent statement. He espoused the type of views that I learned from my family when I was growing up. My father, um, was among the first wave that landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. I have no doubt that he, ah, would agree with everything that Norton just said. And if we, um, end up, finally end up accepting this chair I will, um, have great difficulty in explaining our action and my vote, my vote especially for it to him. And yet to turn it down is to pretend, um, to honor, that is to pretend to hold to a value system that we no longer, at least most of us, um, recognize as binding. I agree with Dalton Ray that the names of chairs are not statements of values but, um, merely represent, um, the price that we pay for the opportunity to do the type of scholarship that we value. If Nunzio attempted to, um, control the content of scholarship that the chairholder produced I would be among those first to oppose it. But its too late by far to police the naming of chairs. Our task is to,um, police the product of the chairs, not their names."

He went on in this fashion for another twenty minutes, carefully expressing his distaste for both Nunzio and Mussolini and the grubby business of fundraising. His final conclusion, however, was that "the greatest, um, contribution we can make to the society is our scholarship and anything which will, um, benefit our ideas and demonstrate the importance of scholarship would be, um, positive and that surely, um, means a great deal of money." I was not persuaded, but I began to see that the issue was a complex and difficult one.

When Heller finished, the dean recognized Barbara Wolfe, one of the first women appointed to the faculty and a popular teacher. A frequent contributor to law journals, Barbara was as opinionated as she was successful. Engle always treated her with great friendliness, but privately he would describe her as unnerving and infuriating. I noticed that she was one of the few people who did not flatter him. She never laughed at his stories and rarely sought his advice. During meetings she peered at him suspiciously, her dark eyes narrow and intense, her thin lips drawn tightly in a half smile. I found her attractive, but Engle always seemed to worry about saying something that might offend her.

As the faculty discussion proceeded, she became agitated and flushed with emotion that darkened her complexion and made her eyes seem abnormally bright. "Mr. Dean, a chair in the name of Mussolini will just be one more aspect of legal education honoring the concept of male domination. As recent work has shown, the concept of men as owners and women as subordinates mere property was the essence of fascism. And yet, we can turn the issue around by making this gift a testimonial to caring, nurturing,and empathy the traits that define feminist scholarship. We should declare it the Mussolini Chair in Oppression Studies and appoint a woman whose own writings reflect feminist values as the first chair holder. I point out that there is not a single woman chair holder at the moment although many of us have published more and in better journals than the men more recently given chairs."

By this time I was totally confused and not sure how I would vote. I could sense the tide and my own feelings moving towards acceptance, even though I got the definite impression that the dean was against it.

Dean Engle, judging from his expression, was far more engaged than he normally was by faculty debate, and his own views were more clearly evident. I noticed that when people spoke against the proposal he nodded his head sympathetically and smiled at them afterwards. When speakers spoke in favor of the proposal, he shook his head silently from side to side in what seemed a mixture ofamazement and disbelief. The smile he directed toward Barbara Wolfe when she finished was far more sarcastic than approving.

Finally William Wheeler, a family law specialist who had taken off a semester to receive training in psychoanalysis and who never let the rest of us forget his psychological expertise, confronted Engle.

"Mr. Dean, you seem to have strong views on the matter. Why don't you share them with us?"

Engle first protested that it would be inappropriate for him as chair to state his views. But Don Lyon, our most experienced trial lawyer, once called the Roaring Lyon by the press, disagreed: "Nonsense! The decision will profoundly affect the future of the school that we all revere. You, as the person who has presided so magnificently over the schools meteoric rise, should be prepared to inform the rest of us how you evaluate the situation."

Engle then claimed that his opinion wasn't important: "I believe profoundly in academic freedom and faculty governance."

Lyon persisted. "The last time I looked, Dean Engle, you were listed as a tenured full professor on this faculty. I hope you will not let your well-known modesty override your sense of professional responsibility." He finished with his arm thrust out in supplication, a flourish he must once have used with juries.

Engle now seemed genuinely perplexed. He got up and paced back and forth for a moment. Then he began speaking in a low voice. "I hesitated to speak because my own perspective is so colored by my position. Of course, to some extent, everyone has spoken from a peculiar perspective. Dalton spoke from the perspective of an African-American;Barbara as a woman; Norton as a veteran; and Jack as the fine scholar that heis. My own view is tied to the future of the school, our reputation in the worldof legal education, and our ability to carry out the mission. I am not, as most of you know, unaware of the importance of money in enhancing the school's capacity" (a comment that provoked knowing laughter from several of the faculty) "but our status in the world of legal education means more to me than money, and I fear that acceptance of Nunzio's terms would make us a laughingstock. The faculty of Harvard and Yale will not react by praising our initiative or even envying our fundraising. They will treat us as a joke...a school whose honor is for sale. They will no longer recommend us to able young faculty or to able students not quite good enough for them."

He paused as though finished, started to say something, paused again, and then continued, "As a few of you know, I have been asked to submit my name for consideration for the presidency of a major Eastern university. I don't think I would have been asked if Texas State did not have a reputation as a serious academic institution. I could not imagine an Ivy League university interested in the dean of a law school that named a chair after Benito Mussolini. Its not that I am interested in leaving. I am happy here and consider myself a Texan.It's just that I want to be able to refer to Texas State Law School with pride.For these reasons, I urge you to vote against accepting the chair."

This reaction, the wisdom of the dean's words, and the great regard in which he was held, convinced me that the Mussolini Chair would be rejected overwhelmingly. For about thirty seconds no one sought the floor, and several people called for a vote. But before the call was implemented, Matt Arnold, our leading constitutional scholar, raised his hand. Arnold was not someone to be ignored. He was an honors graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, a prolific author, and a distant relative of John Connally. He was a friend of the governor and had been a business associate of the president. According to several senior faculty members, he had expected to be named as dean when Engle was chosen. Arnold dressed fashionably, spoke with the hint of a British accent, and always looked carefully groomed.He wore his hair slightly long and invariably sported a colorful tie. His thin, aristocratic nose and slightly curled upper lip made him look almost as arrogant as he sounded. It was his reputation for arrogance that had persuaded the faculty to reject him and support Engle. Ever since Engle's appointment, Arnold had softly but consistently made clear his disdain forEngle.

He began by announcing his admiration for Engle in language so forceful as to border on parody. I would have assumed that he intended his remarks to be taken ironically except that he always spoke this way. No one ever knew if Arnold was genuinely expressing his views, and this made people fear and distrust him. The praise went on for about five minutes, and even then Arnold did not get right to the point.

"I want to make clear that I am not speaking to persuade the faculty to ignore our dean's sage advice. I speak only because I have spent a great deal of time considering this issue, which strikes me as unique even in the long and frequently bizarre annals of legal education.

"I started with the assumption that a huge gift of this magnitude could do great things for our school and should be rejected only if the grant would threaten comparable harm or else compromise our institutional honor in a meaningful way. Let me begin with the harm. It has been argued that we will lose the respect and support of the faculties at leading law schools. But I have talked with the leading scholars at Yale, Harvard, and Columbia. I suggested,indirectly of course, that we might use some of the Nunzio money to establish a new journal in law and that paid fairly handsomely for articles. If we did this, I asked if they would be willing to write an article for a symposium on the ideas and impact of Mussolini. To a, to a person,they said yes.

"Now the dean has mentioned the possibility of his being appointed as president of an Eastern university. Of course, in his typically modest way, he discounted the possibility, but I am aware that he is being considered at a variety of institutions, and I fear that his concern with these processes has made his normally acute reactions about the needs of this institution less valid than they might otherwise be. I am not, of course, suggesting that he is placing his own concern ahead of the well-being of the institution, only that his insight is clouded by his preoccupation with not appearing to be seeking elevation to a higher position."

When Arnold finished,Engle's face registered first surprise, then embarrassment, and finally anger.He seemed about to respond but instead he merely turned to Arnold and thanked him for "speaking with your usual generosity and forcefulness."

I could tell that no one was happy. That's when I had my great idea! I moved that in order to avoid unwarranted political implications we accept the offer on the condition that the chair be named the Nunzio-Mussolini Chair in Government and Law. To my great surprise, the motion passed overwhelmingly with almost no debate.

That night the dean called me at home and asked me to accompany him for the delicate negotiation with Nunzio over the new name. We prepared for half a day simulating conversations, sharpening our phrasing, and thinking of new ways to flatter him. We flew to San Antonio for the meeting, reminding each other of agreed-to stratagems during the trip. As it turned out, our preparation was unnecessary. When we told him the idea, Nunzio burst out in a delighted laugh. "I knew a bunch of professors could do it."

"Then you accept the idea?"

"Sure, that's exactly what I want."

The Nunzio-Mussolini Chair in Law andGovernment is listed in our catalog as the N&M Chair with an asterisk referring to a tiny footnote indicating its full name. Matt Arnold was appointed the first recipient, giving up the Edwin J. Smith Chair, named for a former congressman, an avowed racist. That chair went to Dalton Ray.

The dean was able to shift enough money around to create a new chair...the Irma Bradley Chair, named for our first woman graduate, who had never worked as a lawyer. It went to Barbara Wolfe. The entire episode brought such compliments to Dean Engle that a month later he was appointed provost at an Ivy League college. Arnold was named dean of the Texas State Law School, and enough money was freed up to create chairs for two other faculty membersJack Heller and me. And that is how I earned the distinction of being the youngest chaired professor in legal education.


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