Ernest J. Walters, Jr. joined the political science department at Furman in 1962 after completing graduate work at the University of Chicago. He chaired the department from 1979 to 1984 and retired in 1989 as professor of political science emeritus. He continued to teach in Furman's Learning in Retirement program until his death on January 31, 1997.

Jay's greatest commitment and enduring contribution were to the students that he attracted to the discipline he loved, political philosophy. His long hours of class preparation (often extending into the early hours of the morning) and dedication to his students were characteristic of the twenty- seven years he gave to teaching at Furman. His excellence in the classroom was recognized in 1971 when he was honored as the third recipient of the Alester G. Furman and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching. In the words of one of his students: "What I remember most about Dr. Walters is that he expected a lot from his students, but he was willing to take whatever time it took to make you understand the idea or the argument. Above all, he made it clear that he really loved what he taught, and therefore invited his students to love it too. In my mind that is what real teaching is about."

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