Brinkley has taught three generations of students at Arkansas State University, spending his 46-year career there as a professor of agricultural economics, department administrator, student advisor and mentor. Dr. Brinkley taught at least 10 different courses during his tenure (1969-2016), and almost 1,300 A-State agribusiness majors earned degrees during his tenure. When he retired from full-time service in 2005, the ASU College of Agriculture alumni established the L.E. Brinkley Endowment for Student Development to provide ongoing support of student activities. Brinkley is an honorary life member of the Memphis Agricultural Club, was named the outstanding Agribusiness Person by the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2005, earned an honorary State Farmer Degree from Arkansas FFA in 1986 and was named an Honorary Member in recognition of distinguished service by the National Block and Bridle Club in 1979. A native of west Tennessee, Brinkley earned an undergraduate degree at Lambuth University in 1964, followed by his master’s (1966) and Ph.D (1969) in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee.