VOLUME 19 #3

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DEPARTMENTS

Jim Soles changed my life

Alumni and others whose lives were touched share their memories and thoughts.

William B. Chandler III, AS73

Professor James R. Soles entered my life at the ripe old age of 18, when I met him during my freshman year at the University. He would later jokingly say that he "rescued" me from the Department of Engineering—and indeed he did. More accurately, however, he likely rescued the Department of Engineering from me! After taking his "Introduction to the American Political System," I was hooked on political science as a discipline, which along with philosophy became my major. I soon had taken every course that Professor Soles taught, and along the way he had become my unofficial "faculty adviser."

Little did I know at the time that he advised and inspired hundreds of students just like me, hundreds of students who would one day collectively identify themselves as Soles mentees—which in retrospect is, I believe, one of Professor Soles' hallmarks as a teacher as well as one of his greatest legacies. Eventually, Professor Soles helped me gain admission to law school, and I was fortunate that the relationship continued, as he became a constant and steady source of advice and guidance throughout my life.

Aside from my own father, perhaps no other person has had a greater or more lasting impact on my life. I will be forever grateful for this amazing man and what he taught me, a man of such incredible talent and enduring compassion. I often tell young people about Professor Soles when I am teaching a class at some University or high school. I explain how lucky they will be if they find a mentor who can influence their lives, and how very lucky they will be if, like me, they find a mentor who improves their lives. My hope is that stories like this are being written every day at UD, life-altering stories of great teachers touching the future.  

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