Q: Those years did pass and you were at UGA until '63. Let's talk about other parts of your life there. You said you pledged a fraternity. You went to Sigma Nu.
TJ: I pledged Sigma Nu. Sigma Nu became, since I had no brothers, no sisters. Sigma Nu became my family. I loved Sigma Nu. Loved the Sigma Nu house. We were made mostly of south Georgians, they were my kind of guys. I was fortunate enough to be elected president, called commander of Sigma Nu, and then National Man of the Year of Sigma Nu, and then got many, many other honors. I’m telling you they were like my family--good and bad. I had the same wonderful roommate all the way through, Don Rountree, who was a journalism student. I tried my best---they owned a newspaper business down in Dawson-- to make a career out of journalism. He worked for the paper in Macon a couple of summers with me, but getting the extra $25 from the Chamber of Commerce and then later from an executive search firm, took him to another world, so I was not able to keep him in it. After my junior year, more and more people had been saying to me including my faculty advisors--Dan Kitchens and others--that you really need a graduate degree in these days. So I started applying for scholarships. I applied for the Grantland Rice Scholarship at Vanderbilt. Grantland Rice, said to me the ultimate sport writer of the era and earlier. I applied for a wonderful scholarship and won it to the University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill. I was so proud. I went down to Macon and asked for an appointment with Peyton Anderson. This was the spring of my senior year. I said, "Mr. Anderson, I've won this scholarship to the University of North Carolina, to get my masters in Journalism. Everybody tells me that a masters degree is a good thing." He looked back at me, I'll never forget these words, “Tommy, you do not need another journalism degree. You have a journalism degree. Tell me, what is it you hope to do with your life?" I said, “Mr. Anderson, one day, I would really like a job like yours." I think back, that took a lot of brashness to say to the publisher of the paper, but I had seen him drive in in his Cadillac, his private elevator up to his office. I had seen him get on his helicopter to go over to his place at Lake Sinclair. I had seen some of the other side of the track in a way, and I just thought, just settling for being the editor of the paper…He looked back at me and said, "If that is your goal to become publisher one day..." to a college senior, "...if you can get into Harvard Business School, I will pay your way." He didn't say Stanford Business School, he didn't say University of Georgia, he said, "I've always dreamed..." I mean Peyton...."of going to Harvard Business School." I said, "I never even thought about it." He described briefly why he thought that you need both the business side experience, as well as the news side of experience, if you really want to rise in the profession. So I applied late to Harvard Business School, with fabulous letters from Bill Ott and Jim Chapman and Peyton Anderson and others, and I was accepted after the deadline at Harvard Business School for the class beginning in 1963, finishing in '65.
Q: So all this time you were commuting back and forth from Macon, you were involved at the University of Georgia in everything, I think. I have a list...Gridiron, Biftad, Greek Horseman, Blue Key, ODK, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Eta Sigma, Sigma Delta Chi, Sphinx...Where did you find the time?
TJ: I loved what I was doing. I never even thought about not getting up in the morning
and getting out on the ROTC drill field at 7 AM. I knew I was missing some real fun, getting in my car driving down to Macon, but I was excited about getting into that newsroom by 3 o'clock. I needed to be there by 3, so I had to build my classes around, so I could get there by 3, and then working the weekends. Sometimes I took my then girlfriend, Edwina Chastain with me a few times, to Macon. Unfortunately, she never liked Macon. Maybe, the only city in the world we’ve lived in she didn't like. Mostly…there was effluent coming off the paper mill there that was not great. Macon could really be hot in the summer, particularly if you don't have an air conditioned house, which we didn't. I guess, as I look back on those activities, many of them were...you don't apply for any of those, I have one regret. I think it was a botany class that kept me from being Phi Beta Kappa. I think I made Phi Kappa Phi...I think all the tests were true or false or fill in the blanks, so I should have done really well on it. That's the only goal that I set for myself, I also learned later that you can't do it all. I also learned, I was rapidly becoming something that I do not recommend for anybody. I was rapidly becoming a workaholic. I had somehow...this fire had ignited in me in the ninth grade and the flame grew stronger and stronger and stronger as I went to the University of Georgia, to Harvard Business School and beyond. It was like, I was becoming something that today I urge everybody to avoid. I think you must have a balanced life, and I was putting so much of my time and effort into work. I was ignoring play and play was almost a word that would bring me a since of guilt. I don't have time to play. Play is not productive. Play...I must tell you...I give almost lectures today, to students, because I burned out twice. I am convinced myself, I drove myself by keeping the petal to the metal...I drove myself to two burnouts. I loved Georgia. I loved the activities there. I loved the way which... getting elected secretary-treasurer to the class, getting elected to head of my fraternity, Sigma Nu. Getting a chance to become a battalion commander in the ROTC unit, and there is also a story of how I was getting ready to go to Vietnam, but got injured at Fort Benning. I was a distinguished military graduate. I was a cadet lieutenant colonel, and I had all the best awards that you can get from ROTC. I had this feeling of patriotic duty to go and serve as a lot of southern boys did at the time.