Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Laurence  Perrine 
Doctor of Humane Letters  1988
Status: conferred

Laurence Perrine has a national and international reputation as teacher and scholar. He has served Southern Methodist University and the greater community of scholars in an exemplary fashion. After receiving his B.A. and M.A. from Oberlin College and his Ph.D. from Yale, Perrine began his distinguished career at SMU in 1946 as an instructor in the English Department. He advanced through the ranks, serving as chair of the department and holder successively of the E. A. Lilly and the Daisy Deane Frensley Professorships in English. He was one of the founders of SMU's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and one of the shapers of the SMU undergraduate experience through his work on the Faculty Planning Committee for the Master Plan. In 1980, he retired from teaching and became Frensley Professor Emeritus. He has served as the director of the National Council of Teachers of English and as president and vice president of both the Texas Conference of Teachers of English and the South Central Modern Language Association. He has published more than 100 articles and books, and delivered innumerable papers and addresses, notable for their wit and insight.
Through his two textbooks, Sound and Sense and Story and Structure, Laurence Perrine has taught hundreds of thousands, perhaps by now several millions of high school, junior college, and college students how to read works of literature with appreciation, perception and perspicacity. Originally developed for use simply in his own poetry classroom, Sound and Sense, through its structure, integrity, and vision, became one of the most influential works on the American educational scene. Story and Structure maintained the high standard of its distinguished predecessor. A whole generation of young people can attribute its enjoyment and understanding of literature to this distinguished professor who has taught a nation. Southern Methodist University has been honored by his presence and is further honored today to confer upon Laurence Perrine the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.