Yesterday, a dear colleague presented his dissertation before a group of faculty and graduate students. This was the person whose enthusiasm for Carnegie Mellon, for Pittsburgh, and for our program convinced me that CMU was where I should do my graduate studies. Throughout my coursework and exams he provided advice and moral support, lent me books and notes, and schooled me on some of the finer points of postwar urban historiography.
Watching him present the culmination of his research was inspiring and humbling. We went on a research trip to Ann Arbor three years ago--he to the University of Michigan archive, and I to Zingerman's Deli--and I recall that he was stabbing around for sufficient sources, and was unsure what to make of what he was finding. And now he has written a cohesive, coherent, engaging and historically significant dissertation. It gives me hope that with enough time and perseverance, I too will someday have answers to my questions.
I have several close colleagues defending this spring and summer, and I look forward to celebrating all of their achievements and calling them Doctor!