Sally and the ‘World of Ideas’
Scotty arrived at the University of Illinois campus with mixed emotions, and the ‘old dread of feeling out of things’ never escaped his consciousness. These feelings would subside, however, as he immersed himself in sports to the detriment of his academic pursuits. For Scotty, college was merely a gateway to employment; it was not a place of ideas. In the meantime, he was content to play golf and work for the University’s Sports Publicity Department writing short sketches of football players. No one could fathom that this apathetic student would become the most trusted journalist in America. Even Bruce Weirick, Scotty’s mentor, did not predict his eventual success. ‘No one would have guessed where he was going,’ Weirick later reflected.
Scotty’s life would change forever when he met a sophomore named Sally Fulton in 1931. He had never encountered anyone like Sally: she was a stellar student who hailed from a distinguished family in Sycamore, Illinois and socialized with intellectuals instead of the jocks Scotty customarily befriended. Yet the romance almost never blossomed, because Sally was dating one of Reston’s fraternity brothers. Having vowed never to steal a girl from a fraternity brother, Scotty broke off contact with Sally. He immediately regretted his decision and longed for her companionship. Then, one day, Sally sat by Scotty in the University Library unannounced and informed him that she had ended her relationship with Lindall. As their romance rekindled, Sally’s influence over Scotty became noticeable. Scotty found himself frequently attending literary discussions with Sally and her peers, which exposed him to the world of ideas.
Great Depression Anxieties
Unfortunately, the Great Depression jeopardized Scotty’s future with Sally, and his plans for graduation when his tuition check bounced. Scotty appealed his case to Thomas Arkle Clark, the matriarchal Dean of Men. According to Scotty, Clark ‘looked like a saint but had the mind of a cop.’ Clark rebuffed Scotty’s pleas for an extension and informed him that the ‘University of Illinois is maintained…for students who live in Illinois.’ Humiliated by Clark, Scotty contacted James Cox, who loaned Scotty the money and indicated that he might soon have work for Scotty.
Indeed, Cox’s Daily News in Springfield, Ohio hired Scotty upon his graduation in 1932 and quickly promoted him to sports editor. Yet Scotty embarked on this new chapter in his life with trepidation, terrified that he would lose Sally, who was not due graduate until 1934. To cement the relationship, Scotty gave her his fraternity pin, a symbol of commitment among college youth in the 1930s. In the meantime, Scotty immersed himself in his trade, a young man on the rise.
Scotty recalls his encounter with Thomas Ankle Clark and James Cox’s loan, interviewed by James Reston Jr., May 7, 1978.
Found in RS 26/20/120, JBR Jr. Interviews JBR and SFR.
Continue to: A Young Man on the Rise
 James Reston, Deadline: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), 29.
 Ibid, 27, 29-30; John F. Stacks, Scotty: James B. Reston and the Rise and Fall of American Journalism (Boston: Little, Brown, 2003), 30-31, 34.
 Ibid, 33.
 Ibid, 31, 34-38; Reston, Deadline, 31-33; “Tape Recorded Interview with James B. Reston,” December 25, 1977, James B. Reston Papers, 1935-1995; Record Series 26/20/120, University of Illinois Archives; “Sally Reston,” Undated, John F. Stacks Papers, 1914-2003; Record Series 26/20/157, Box 2, Folder: Notes from Tape Recorded Interviews, University of Illinois Archives.
 Reston, Deadline, 32.
 Stacks, Scotty, 33; “Tape Recorded Interview with James B. Reston,” May 7, 1978, James B. Reston Papers, 1935-1995; Record Series 26/20/120, University of Illinois Archives. For the record, it should be noted that Thomas Clark approved an earlier loan to Reston in 1930. See James Reston to Thomas Ankle Clark, April 25, 1930, General Correspondence, 1912-1947, 1973-1980, 1982; Record Series 41/2/1, Box 50, University of Illinois Archives.
 Reston, Deadline, 32.
 Ibid, 33; Stacks, Scotty, 38; “Sally Reston,” Undated, John F. Stacks Papers, 1914-2003; Record Series 26/20/157, Box 2, Folder: Notes from Tape Recorded Interviews, University of Illinois Archives.