After reading a brief blurb about NRO writer Yuval Levin's recent dissertation defense, I emailed the following story to Jonah Goldberg. Jonah liked it enough to post it to The Corner, here.
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.