Robert L. (Bob) Brown, Ph.D.

Photo: Bob Brown

That's me in fall, 2013. Note that the Ph.D. program has turned my beard completely white. It hasn't helped my hair, either!

I've been called Bob (after my maternal grandfather) since time immemorial. You should call me Bob. Or, you can finally call me Doc. It sure took a long time!

On my 56th birthday, I retired from my day job and enrolled in the CEC doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University. My grades have been mostly OK. You'd think that after more years than I care to admit I would have gotten used to being a graduate student again, but that turned out not to be the case. However, all turned out well. If I can do it, you can do it too!

If you arrived here after searching on something like "impoverished student cookery" the information you're looking for is further down the page. Click the link to go there. Otherwise, read on...

I can be reached by phone at (470) 578-7505 or by e-mail at e-mail: robebrow at nova dot edu. Complete contact information is here. I teach at Kennesaw State University (formerly Southern Polytechnic) in Georgia. You can go to for more information about that.

I've put together a set of Nova Southeastern University Virtual Postcards. If you're a student or faculty member, you've seen all this in person. Others might be interested in having a look.

The 2002 SPSU President's Distinguished Scholar Here's why I was in a Ph.D. program. That's the President of Southern Polytechnic State on the left. At the center of attention is the 2002 President's Distinguished Scholar, with a 3.96 GPA. She's holding a really pretty glass replica of a really ugly bell tower. The old goat on the right is her senior project advisor. The trouble is, adjunct faculty aren't supposed to be advisors. Busted again!

There was only one thing to do: get the Ph.D. and become a real faculty member. It took a long time, but it finally worked. I have a regular faculty appointment (not tenure-track, alas) and the degree!

Brown with his nose in FIFTY-EIGHT books! What was it like to be a first-semester Ph.D. student? Here's a clue... Brown's sitting in his office at Southern Polytechnic State, up to his nose in books. Outside is a beautiful Saturday in Georgia with the blue-green haze of early spring.. The sun is shining... the birds are singing... Brown's sitting in his office. (The Monitor Bear is laughing silently to himself. He'd better not make any noise!)

Here's another clue. I asked a colleague what I thought was a simple question. He responded by lending me FIFTY-EIGHT BOOKS, including nine by Jürgen Habermas. I suppose the first lesson a doctoral student learns is that there may be simple questions, but there are no simple answers.

{Time passes...} Dr. Hafner warned me about summer in south Florida and I've acquired some graduate student uniforms since this picture was taken. (Yes, I really did wear white shirts, neckties and French cuffs on Saturdays. But I'm recovering.) Maybe I looked more like a graduate student when I was on campus in June and September, but my friend Betty insisted I had to have new boat shoes. I was wearing socks, too, so it wasn't authentic.

{More time passes...} The third semester has begun and the desk still looks like a fortress of books. The books themselves have changed, but the APA Style Guide remains front and center.

Disney cartoon of the dwarf named Doc.

I'm Happy because you can call me Doc!

{Still more time passes...} The fourth semester starts in a couple of weeks. The desk is clear of books (largely because I was assigned to a different office this fall) but they'll be baaaaack! I'll try to get another picture for this page, with the graduate student uniform and without the books. Maybe. (Didn't happen.)

{Time flies like an arrow...} (Fruit flies like a banana.) By Ground Hog Day, I will have enough credit hours to be accepted into candidacy for the degree. Huzzah! I will be doing one more three-hour course in Spring semester (don't ask) and then it's onward to the dissertation.

{More time than you can believe passes...} My dissertation was signed off by the end of fall term 2013. My dissertation defense was in mid January. I was afraid the TSA would have trouble with that Valyrian steel sword so I had to send it and the thick oaken shield with the iron bands as checked baggage. I was also been asked to present my research as a poster. I didn't know how to do that!

In the end, everything turned out well. I remain a bit astonished about that, and I have a lot for which to thank Dr. James Cannady. Without his help, support, and occasional kick in the pants, I never would have made it. Thank you very much, Dr. Cannady.

Graduate student food: The first time I was an impoverished student, I had a copy of the Impoverished Student's Book of Cookery, Drinkery and Housekeepery Cover of the Impoverished Student's Book of Cookery, Drinkery, and Housekeeperyby the late Jay F. Rosenberg. When I became an impoverished student again, I was delighted to find that this little book has been reprinted by the Reed College Alumni Association. If you're interested in recipes like Howmany Casserole or Costless Rican Rice, get your own copy from the Reed College Bookstore. (Tell 'em Bob Brown sent you.)

After a certain amount of mucking around, I've discovered a link that will take you straight to the book's page at the Reed Bookstore. It's insanely long, so I won't ask you to try to type it. Just click the image of the book and see what happens.

If that somehow stops working, go to and click the search icon. (It's a magnifying glass in the top right corner.) Select "general books search" and do a title search for "impoverished." (For some reason, the author search doesn't work.) And thanks to the late Professor Rosenberg, who told me how to find this. Now you know, too!

Of course, graduate student food isn't all cookbooks...

Saturday evening: Cold antipasto of smoked trout, carpaccio, prosciutto, roasted peppers, and tomato with goat cheese; followed by hot antipasto of lobster ravioli with white sauce, veal ravioli with pesto sauce, and cannelloni with fresh garden vegetables, all washed down with a Santa Margherita pinot grigio. Main course, a beef filet with Barolo sauce, topped with melted gorgonzola cheese and served with mashed potatoes with white truffle oil, creamed spinach, and broccoli fleurettes, accompanied by a Borgogno Barolo that was older than one of the guests. Dessert course: crème brulée with raspberries in Chambord and a 30 year old Taylor-Fladgate tawney Port.

Sunday evening: Two hot-dogs sliced and cooked in Campbell's bean with bacon soup.

Guess which meal the graduate student paid for.


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This work by Bob Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Originally posted: Summer, 2003.
Last update: 2016-05-09 19:50