A hot-seat trial-by-fire for the new Dean.

Low Library, a favorite for Columbia’s more upscale events. The rotunda was laid out like a high-dollar dining event: muted blue tables were scattered across the space and lit with candles, with a wide clearance in front of the stage. Dinner was served from the edges of the room, as well as a collection of cookies and (soft) drinks for whoever wanted them.

Note the soft mood lighting

But none of that was the main event. We were there to hear from Dean Josef Sorett, the new Dean of Columbia College, stepping into the very big shoes left to fill by Deantini. Just past 6:30, he took center stage, microphone in hand, ready to answer whatever questions the student body had thought of to throw at him (and which had been vetted beforehand. Sadly, or fortunately depending on your point of view, there was no opportunity for us students present to fling off-the-cuff questions at the new Dean to answer. Personally, I think it’d have been a good challenge.)

So, in no particular order, here’s some of what we learned:

  • It’s pronounced Yo-sef, not Joe-sef.
  • In college, Dean Sorett used to have overnight study sessions/hangouts at the Tulsa hospital, since nowhere else was open overnight.
  • He didn’t know about the Columbia tunnels, although he had been through the one under Union Theological Seminary.
  • The worst first date he’s ever been on was with his now-wife (going to a terrible movie).
  • He supports pineapple on pizza.
  • Bagel order: everything bagel with butter.
  • His favorite CC department is either the Core or—after a plea from the hot-seat hosts to “BE MORE INTERESTING!”—the astronomy department, for their stargazing.
  • Same theme: his favorite Core text is W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folk.

And—as a bonus—the bash also saw the launch of his Instagram profile, inaugurated with a selfie from the event, a place to go if you’re looking for more fun Sorett-facts.

(another bonus, for those of us who were there: merch! Hats and scarves, in this case, for a winter which has seen zero snow thus far, to a first approximation. But they look nice.)

All photos via Charlie Bonkowsky