From Veterinarian to Lawyer

Haden Edward "Eddie" Knox discusses having to delay enrollment at NC State by one year. His original intention was to study veterinary science, but he later decided to take classes to prepare himself for law school.

Interview on 2012-10-31


00:00:00.000 Well it's amazing that I ever went to college. I never really wanted to go, I wanted to be a farmer like my dad, and my dad insisted that I go and my brothers and sisters,
00:00:13.648 one of whom was a lawyer, all insisted that I go. So finally I agreed to enroll at NC State-College back then, now University-and I applied and was accepted at State
00:00:27.233 and I received a Smith-Douglass one thousand dollar scholarship from Smith-Douglass Fertilizer. I was sort of a lay veterinarian,
00:00:36.033 I used to doctor on people's animals and horses and cows when I was young, and I really wanted to be a pre-vet student. My daddy died,
00:00:45.484 he had a heart attack the day before I was supposed to start in 1955 and he died in his sleep that night, so the next morning I dropped out.
00:00:54.232 I decided that my mama needed me worse than State did. She didn't drive. I had to teach her to drive. We had to sell the cows, gather up the cotton,
00:01:04.469 and do some things there in the first year and then I went to State the following year. So I think that delay probably helped me more than you could imagine
00:01:13.754 because it awakened me to a lot of responsibility. It was pretty scary for me. Number one I had not taken many college preparatory courses.
00:01:24.691 I was in the advanced classes at North Mecklenburg High School but I really wasn't the best student in the world. I got there and was thinking
00:01:37.775 I'd be taking a lot of chemistry and things of that nature to get me into pre-vet, and I ran into a Korean veteran named Doc Ray and he said,
00:01:46.407 "I'm going to run for president of the freshman class. Why don't you run for vice president?" and I said, hmm, why should I do vice president?
00:01:54.681 But anyway, I was scared to death and decided I'd do that. I won and he lost. There's a moral in that story I guess: Be humble and take whatever's given to you.
00:02:05.192 From that I progressed to run for president of the sophomore class, vice president of the student body, and then president of the student body.
00:02:11.640 I took a number of courses in preparation for pre-vet, animal husbandry, everything that you take, but somewhere along the way I decided I didn't want to be a small animal doctor.
00:02:27.318 When I had helped people on the farm it was usually with large animals. So I told my brother the lawyer that I didn't want to graduate in agriculture
00:02:39.035 but I was stuck because I was there and I was in two years of a lot of agriculture courses, so we decided I'd go to law school.
00:02:47.904 I began to look around and there were all kind of good college preparatory courses, public speaking, English, history,
00:02:57.620 and I took all kind of public speaking courses, speed reading so I could really speed read, and when I got to law school it really helped me a lot.