I was asked to start off with a little introductory piece about how the project developed and what possessed me to undertake it or alter it or spend such an abnormal amount of time reading old Czech magazines.
My committee seemed to want me to expound on quite a few things, and looked very grave when not in fits of laughter. Their first question was why I hadn't put the title on the manuscript. As usual, I couldn't remember what on earth I had called it. This prompted various suggestions which were regarded as extremely witty and which went by far too quickly for me to write down.
After the committee admitted that they thought it was a pretty good dissertation, and after they had incited me to blather on for an hour or so about who knows what, we decided it was time for the champagne.
Some people weren't sure whether I was capable of opening a champagne bottle without help. It's true I hadn't opened one in awhile and had forgotten that a corkscrew is not needed.
I managed to spill only a small amount of champagne, none of it on the dissertation itself.
Finally we had the glasses filled and proceeded to clink our fancy departmental plasticware.
Finally, my advisor examined an Archelaus card and wanted to know why I had failed to thank her for "the embroidered codpiece."
Photos by Kristen.