Hugh LaFollette -- Brief Bio

I grew up in Nashville, TN. After graduating from (the now defunct) Isaac Litton High School, I attended Belmont College (now University).  I graduated in 1970 with a major in psychology and a minor in speech and theater.  

After fours years of college, I was ready to enter "the real world."   By accident I met the renowned editor (John Seigenthaler) of The Tennessean , and decided to give reporting a shot (although it took nearly six months to convince him that I deserved that shot).  Initially I served as a general assignment reporter (a fancy phrase meaning that you do whatever no one else wants to do).  That was about as fun as bathing a porcupine.  After a couple of months, a most gracious city editor (Frank Ritter) decided (god knows why) that I deserved a chance for something "better." So I became the "Metro Beat" reporter: I covered the administration and council of the Metropolitan Nashville government.  Occasionally I also covered the courts.  It was a fascinating job.  But after two and a half years, I decided to take a leave of absence to take some philosophy graduate courses at Vanderbilt UniversityAt that time I had no plans of getting a degree; so the Tennessean editor graciously offered me a six month leave of absence; at the end of that and each of the next four semesters, I decided to continue taking courses. The editor graciously continued to grant me an extended leave.

Initially it was tough going after all, I had no serious background in philosophy.  I was always in the dark about people and ideas that my fellow students discussed with remarkable ease.  But after two years I decided "This is what I wanted to do."   I formally resigned my job as a reporter and proceeded with my graduate studies.

After I finished my PhD, I had a visiting appointment at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (1976-7).  It is a dandy school and a superb philosophy department.

The following year I had the chance to move to East Tennessee State University, which is located in the beautiful mountains of Tennessee; I leapt at the opportunity.  I was there until the summer of 2004 with the exception of two glorious years in Scotland.

That spring I accepted the Marie and Leslie E. Cole Chair in Ethics at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.  [The Chair was established by a generous bequest from former St. Petersburg mayor, Edward Cole.]  It is an interesting and challenging post; many USF-SP faculty are keenly interested in discussing ethics with their students.

I am married and have three children.  Kristie, the oldest, lives in St. Petersburg Beach FL; Rachel lives with her husband, Ron, and their son (Keegan) and daughter (Makenna), in Providence, RI; and "Little Brother" Timothy, resided in Greensboro, NC until his death from ALS in late 2011.

My wife (Eva) and I love to travel.  One of the few perks of academic life is the chance to travel professionally, and we often tag a personal vacation on one end of a fellowship, a visiting lecture, or a professional meeting.   We have some shots of our sojourns to Scotland on our personal web page.  And, had it not been for my inept attempt to clean our camera, that site would now also include pictures of the glorious Norwegian fjords and the lovely towns of Oslo and Bergen.

In addition to my "ordinary" professional duties, for eight years I produced and hosted a weekly 30 minute interview show ("Ideas and Issues"), aired primarily on the local NPR affiliate (WETS-FM).  I have a list of all shows, and mp3 copies of more than one hundred of them, at the program's web site.

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