The Corner

Dissertation Notes

Will Collier writes in response to the news about Yuval (which, yes, I know was mentioned around here the other day).

My dad is a dentist, and took the honors option in dental school, which entailed a final dissertation.  The school (UAB medical) invited a group of distinguished professors from Tufts down to Birmingham to judge his dissertation.  Well into the verbal defense, questioning from the Tufts profs had dad and his research partner sweating things pretty hard, and according to Dad, they weren’t exactly sure whether they were going to get out of there with a passing grade.

Right at that moment, the door to the auditorium burst open.  A student ran in exclaiming, “Oh my God, oh my God, the President’s been killed!” 

The date:  November 22, 1963.

Complete chaos broke out; being from Boston, the visiting Tufts professors were even more stunned than everybody else.  Dad and his partner stood there on the stage, wondering what the hell they were supposed to do next.  Finally, one of the judges noticed them, yelled, “You passed!”, and led the rest of the Tufts contingent out of the room

100% true story.  Dad is still practicing today, incidentally…

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