Intense Class(es) & Mr. Friendly’s..

Remembering Don Fowler - College of Arts and Sciences | University of South Carolina

One of my best friends in the world whom I’ve known since I was in the 2nd grade, Trav Robertson, texted David Adams, and me, “Don just passed away.”

When I received the text, I sat up a little and as my heart sank, I showed Jennifer. She immediately informed her former boss, Warren Tompkins (R).

I can’t explain through this keyboard the events that have happened since I met Don Fowler, Carol, David, Jennifer, Pamela, and so many others. That’s another story, as this is not about that.

Two things about Don and me –

1- I got to see Don almost every time I went to lunch at Mr. Frienldy’s in 5 Points. For a while, Trav Robertson, David Adams, Crawford Cook, and I would meet on Fridays for lunch, and Don would be there with whatever crew he was with for the day. Every time we locked eyes and got to side hug, I’d say, “Hey, Professor! It’s Franklin Jones…”

*Fun fact – The reason I’d say, “Hey professor, it’s Franklin….” is because a lot of people confuse me with David Adams, and I understand that. One time he stopped me in mid-sentence and said, “Franklin, I know who you are.” He was saying, “Stop saying that…”

2- I straight up dropped his Political Science class. His class was 410+ Senior level & I was scared of it. I needed three hours to graduate, but not those three. Professor Fowler was expecting a big ass deep thought type essay and I was more interested in my girlfriend, fraternity life, hanging out at the Russell House, and Tecmo-Bowl.

That was probably a dumba^^ decision. That said, and through our sequence of events that began later in 1996, I learned more from Don in the actual political field than I would have in the classroom.

The three classes I did attend were awesome. It was obvious that he wasn’t just “teaching,” he was telling real-time, live, life stories. I remember one class where-by he invited S.C. Republican Party Chairman Henry McMaster to speak. Trey Walker was with now Gov. McMaster and it was a fantastic hour or so. Truth told, this was at a time Rush Limbaugh was on TV and I thought Rush was right about almost everything. That all said, durning that hour, I didn’t care what Henry and Trey had to say, I just thought it was incredible that Don Fowler, whom would later become National Co-Chair with Sen. Chris Dodd, under Bill Clinton’s presidency, would allow high officials from the other side to have the podium/microphone of his class of hundreds of college students.

Now that I wrote that paragraph, I’d love to ask him about that today…

That all said, my most vivid memories of Don will likely be from Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe. Running into him on Friday afternoons was always a treat. He’d always be in a suit or a blazer, and always have time for this young sales professional, that enjoys talking politics, and looked up to him.

I don’t know what I can or should say on this dippy little blog to my friend, Don Fowler, other than, “Thank you, Professor.”

Franklin Jones – GINT Class 410 – Don Fowler, Professor – University of South Carolina – 1995

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