Christmas break of 1965 was an interesting one for Dr. Robert Scott Dupree. He was taking a break from his graduate work at Yale to come home to Texas for the holidays. In between gift shopping and family time, Dupree made sure to stop by the University of Dallas, his alma mater, to visit his friends and former professors, Drs. Louise and Donald Cowan.
Dupree had just one semester remaining in which he would complete his dissertation, and the Cowans had already extended an offer to him to begin teaching at UD in the fall of 1966. The only problem, they informed him over lunch during his visit, was that they needed a literature professor immediately, for the spring semester. As much as he wanted to accept, Dupree again had to decline. While he was completing his graduate classwork, he needed to remain in Connecticut to fulfill a residency requirement in order to obtain his doctorate.
But the Cowans were not discouraged; they even suggested Dupree teach the course by phone or mail. It seemed hopeless until Louise Cowan came back with one more option: Dr. Dupree could teach the course while commuting. Between New Haven, Connecticut and Irving, Texas, that is. So with Louise Cowan's help in teaching the classes while he was in New Haven, Dupree racked up Frequent Flyer miles as he traveled to Irving to teach and back to Yale to meet with his dissertation adviser. It was a hectic beginning to Dupree's UD teaching career, which has spanned more than 48 years – and continues still.
After a rather unorthodox beginning, Dupree has certainly left his mark on UD. He worked closely with Louise Cowan in developing the Literary Tradition sequence, which would become the model for the Core curriculum that defines UD's academic program. He gave his input on the creation and implementation of the master's and doctoral programs, helped formalize the Junior Poet project, created the Art and Architecture of Rome course, has taught courses for six different departments while at UD, and counts some current UD professors among his early students. He was also the first in a long line of Fulbright scholars in UD's proud tradition.
Because he was a member of the university's third graduating class and returned to teach three-and-a-half years later, Dupree can say that he has been with the university in some context for every single class that has come through UD. Dupree's influence and hard work, particularly in the early years, is indicative of his dedication to UD, a dedication from which the students are still benefitting today.
PHOTO: Scott Dupree's 1966 yearbook photo.