Andy's presentation was wonderful. He really explained it such that three non-com-sci folks who might have stumbled in somehow could at least nod and occasionally make noises of assent. He went a bit long, which Dr Brooks approached him about. Dr Brooks said to get it the perfect length he'd just cut one whole section out. I'll give three guesses as to who wanted the section included. Dr Brooks also said that Andy's pace was relaxed and not rushed.
While the questions the general audience and his committee asked made him stop to think a few times, no one had to state the question twice in order to coax the answer they really wanted out of him. He definitely knew what he was talking about, and on a lot of the questions he seemed to be encouraging other grad students to maybe find the answer for their dissertation. His is definitely not a final word, but it'll be a building block and probably will be worth a thesis or three just in exploring the questions it brings up.
Then the committee grilled him in private. He came out a bit later and we milled around, waiting for news. I wonder how much time was spent saying "he passed" and how much was spent waiting just to drive us nuts ;). Anyway, his advisor finally came to the door and said "Congratulations". I didn't hear much after that; it was mostly formalities such as "You will still need to revise it and get it signed by three committee members before you're a doctor". Andy says further technically he won't be until commencement in December, but I'm writing technicality off.
Anyway, Andy got a ton of revisions from Dr Brooks. Almost to the exclusion of all else they were admonitions to re-state things. The things (mostly weasel-words; in fact the message at the end was "I despise weasel words. Get rid of them) had all been added very recently -- another guess as to under whose auspices. Too bad Andy hadn't saved a copy of the chapter from before when all the changes were made in the first place.
Sometime after that we arrived at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Cary. Everything was impressive -- the food, the way the waiters acted as a team (the one who introduced himself was busy with a big party when we were ready to order, so another waiter came and took it), the food, the way they go around scraping crumbs off the table, the food... it was just a wonderful way to round off the day.
I gave Andy his presents, too. He loved the graduate teddy leopard from turnberryknkn. His parents, aside from giving us a bedroom set which his Dad is building, also gave him the most incredible fountain pen. Imagine a really gorgeous marble stretched out to pen shape, and you'll pretty much be visualizing this thing. They also gave him ink and a pad of really nice paper for writing on, and he got a perpetual calendar from my mom and sister.
I gave him Zome stuff (DNA helix and bubbles), some little magnet-and-ball-bearing toys, and holographic lollipops. I'd wanted to give those to him ever since I first heard of them, but always thought of them too far away from any holiday to do anything. This time I thought of them close enough to a gift-giving occasion that they'd not get too stale or inedible. The lollies, while being honest-to-goodness holographs, are also completely safe to eat. The marketing babble talks about something akin to them carving the candy to catch the light holographically. The set I got him were based on kaleidoscopes.
Anyway, that's the day. Anyone who wants to know what his committee grilled him about behind closed doors in welcome to ask him. Thank you to everyone who replied to my initial post this evening -- the comments have been forwarded to Andy. Neither of us slept very well last night, so we're going to call it an early one. Hopefully we'll sleep better tonight and then have time to do some stuff with his parents before we have to deliver them to the airport.