“The week I was to graduate from Harvard Law School, I received an envelope enclosing two letters. One, from the Dean, threatened to withhold the diploma at commencement from everyone who had not paid their tuition and fees in full; the other, from the Alumni Office, begged the new graduates (provided that they did in fact receive their diplomas) to start making large gifts to the Law School. I did not attend commencement, and I did not make a gift. Far too many years later, this experience became the inspiration for “The Idea of a Virtual University.
“The reason for the decades long delay is that I had to develop the right tone to write about this experience. If the tone is angry or off key, what should be funny becomes angry and sarcastic. Time helps. Some of my best stories came from ideas that bothered me for years until I finally had the right words to begin. If it’s worth writing, it’s worth the wait.”