Where were you?

speedschool4Each year at the University of Louisville Speed Scientific School, the students put on Engineers 
Day. This was a faculty idea of an open house to acquaint parents with that bottomless pit where they sent their money to educate their nerdy offspring. The students collaborated on who would assemble different exhibits to demonstrate the exotics of science. For show more than anything else but to make it truly a student event, even the organization and leadership of Engineers’ Day was chaired by a senior, with some guidance from faculty, of course.

In late 1963, I was spending more time on Engineers Day than I could afford given my pathetic
academic performance. For you see, I had been selected chairman that year. It could only have
been because I was judged incapable of any meaningful exhibit. Maybe this was my first
experience of being kicked upstairs. Whatever, I fretted over the luncheon for parents, the
speakers, publicity, booth assignments and all the myriad of details of any organized effort
involving people.

Finally, when November 22 rolled around, I was still scurrying from one place to the next on
campus making sure signs were in place here, enough chairs were there, exhibits were ready,
and so on.

Then the news broke.

Conferring with the Dean and other faculty, we decided to go ahead with Engineers Day but I
doubt if anyone noticed at the luncheon whether the chicken was cooked right or any of the
exhibits worked. Most people were thinking about the event in Dallas, Texas where President
Kennedy was shot.