Magazine March 19, 2012, Issue

Dim College Years

Students walk at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C., September 20, 2018. (Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

Rumor said the prof flipped out: pulled a pistol in front of the class, declared he was the son of Otto von Bismarck, and started yelling in German. No doubt some still took notes. This could be on the test. The incident supposedly happened a few years before I took his class, and seemed specious. Granted, lecturing seemed to be a strain; by the end of the class he looked like a hot, wet beet. But he was certainly one of the finest teachers I ever had. I wish I remembered 5 percent of what he taught us.

The class was

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