It took lots of breaks for me to get my MIT degree. There was my pity pass in 18.02. There was Prof. Will Watson, who, weeks before graduation, heard I only had 351 of the 360 units required to get my degree. So, he gave me a pass in his history seminar instead of an incomplete.
And there was the deal cooked up by the Sloan School faculty the week before I graduated.
In Course XV ( management), if not in other courses (at MIT, courses with roman numerals, not departments), the faculty meets shortly before graduation to vote on granting degrees, even undergraduate degrees. The process is usually pro forma. I was interviewing Sloan School Dean William F. Pounds for The Tech that week.
He said “Paul, the faculty voted the degrees yesterday. You were the only one about whom there was any discussion. The faculty asked me to ask you to never practice management, for the sake of the reputation of the Sloan School.”
I was happy to oblige in 30 years of journalism. Imagine my surprise when I read the memoirs of the first managing editor of Fortune. The same thing happened to him at MIT.
Since every job I ever had was the result of MIT on my resume, my gratitude is boundless. Dean Pounds and Will Watson heard from me personally. I am still looking for the 18.02 TA so I can thank her.