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J. Lyles Glenn, Wofford’s second Rhodes Scholar

Written By: Phillip Stone - Jan• 04•13

J. Lyles Glenn, Jr – Wofford’s second Rhodes Scholar

John Lyles Glenn, Jr was a highly-accomplished student at Wofford, involved in student government, athletics, oratory, and other campus activities.  It’s probably not surprising, then, that the Chester native was Wofford’s second Rhodes Scholar.

Glenn came to Wofford in the fall of 1908 at age 16, but even at that young age, he was the captain of the class football team each year.  He also played class baseball and was the catcher on the varsity baseball team for four years.  The college wasn’t playing intercollegiate football in these years because the Methodists thought it was too violent.  Glenn also became involved with the Preston Literary Society, one of the two (at the time) debating and oratorical societies on campus.  He later became a monthly orator, corresponding secretary, treasurer, and finally president of the Preston Society.  He was a speaker in both the freshman and sophomore exhibitions and a junior debater.

In student body politics, he achieved distinction every year.  He was the historian of the freshman class, vice president of the sophomore class, and president of the junior class.  To top it off, he was the student body president in his senior year.

In his senior biography, his classmates wrote “Pud is the model of what most of us wish to become.”  “He is an all-around athlete, a football star, yet his name has never been omitted from the distinction list for any of his studies since he came to college.

After graduating in 1912, taught in the Wofford Fitting School, and he was invited to teach Greek in the college during the 1913-14 academic year.  He was named a Rhodes Scholar in 1914 and set out for Oxford.  He studied at Exeter College, but his work was soon interrupted by the outbreak of World War I.  He found a position with the Herbert Hoover Belgian Relief Association and spent six months behind German lines with the organization.  He also was an ambulance driver behind French lines for six months.  After American entry into the war, he went into an Army camp and became a second lieutenant, serving with the First Division.  He was wounded at Catigny, and received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm.

On his return to the United States, he first served as an instructor at Fort Gordon, Georgia, then entered the practice of law. Ten years later, President Herbert Hoover named him to a position on the U. S. District Court in South Carolina.  J. Lyles Glenn, Jr was a highly-regarded jurist, and his death ten years later, at age 46, was a shock to alumni, friends, and the state’s legal community.

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