(Washington Post) — I faced a mini-crisis at the beginning of my senior year at Fordham University in New York. Through careless procrastination, I had failed to complete the foreign-language requirement for graduation. I took my case to the college dean and begged for a dispensation. I had decent grades, and I said was using the extra credits to get a minor in English.
The dean, a Jesuit priest named Father Robert Roth, waived the requirement. Fair? Not really. But I got my bachelor’s degree in 1977, I became a reporter and was scrappy enough to work my way to The Washington Post. I have never forgotten the break Father Roth gave me.