Pete’s Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
December 9, 2014
219 Aaron Burr Hall, Princeton University

Legacies of Charity in a Storied Company Town 


The announcement for Peter Kurie’s Final Public Oral Defense (“FPO”) posted around campus.


Before anyone arrives, Pete has taken his place. At this point he’s quite nervous.


Pete’s primary advisor Jim Boon arrives and Pete loosens up a bit.

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(Left to right) Pete’s full committee has arrived: Jim Boon, Carol Greenhouse, Rena Lederman, Joao Biehl

At this point, I can’t take photos anymore. In addition to 6 full-time faculty members, there are 29 other people in attendance, mostly Pete’s graduate student colleagues and friends. Wonderful attendance for a Ph.D. defense on a cold and very wet Tuesday!

Jim Boon welcomes everyone. “It’s been an unusual pleasure to advise Peter. He is a serious fellow (jokingly), laughs a lot, and is exceedingly engaging.”

Pete gives 30 minutes of prepared remarks, which are well-received. Each one of the faculty members in attendance then has an opportunity to question Pete. Here are some snippets of their laudatory remarks.

Carol: “The tone here is remarkable, not in the least ironic and cynical. In the absence of irony, you do something far better….”

Rena: “Your dissertation is written in an unusually engaging style with sensitive, nuanced readings of multiple literatures; grounded use of interlocutors’ words. It’s very gripping, drawing attention to literary qualities all the way through.”

Joao: “Congratulations. Fantastic work and writing.”

Jim: “I want to reinforce the congratulations you’ve heard about the tone and mood and overall format you’ve delivered. It’s been quite an adventure, and what you’ve left on the cutting room floor is just dramatic.”

John: “All of this praise which we so rarely hear around here is very well deserved, so congrats!”

After a solid hour of Q&A, during which Peter fielded a wide range of difficult questions, Jim Boon asks everyone to leave the room so the committee can deliberate.

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After a few minutes, the committee comes downstairs to announce that Peter has become a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)! A champagne toast to Dr. Kurie follows.


Dr. Kurie with his primary advisors and dissertation committee co-chairs, Carol Greenhouse and Jim Boon.

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At the Witherspoon Grill with Jim Boon and friend/colleague George Laufenberg.

Pete ordered the grilled lamb chops special and enjoyed several glasses of wine.
(I had a delicious “brick” roasted chicken from a local farm with baby artichokes)

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For dessert, Pete couldn’t resist the Bananas Foster.

After dinner we shared a drink at The Alchemist & Barrister, where we first met.

Pete capped the night with a Padron cigar!

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4 thoughts on “DEFENSE

  1. Wonderfully done timeline with outstanding outcome! Thanks for the memories, David. We are very proud of Pete and appreciate all your support.


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