President Trombley's "Point of View" Column in The Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated August 15, 2008

The Night I Almost Died

As soon as I sat down, I felt a peculiar tightness in my chest. I instantly rationalized the sensation: My shirt was tight; it was a Friday; I was tired.

I had been looking forward to this special evening. A faculty couple at Pitzer College, where I am president, was holding a small dinner to celebrate a substantial gift that had been given in honor of an emerita professor. As I made small talk and snacked on cheese, I felt the tightness gather into a sharp point on the right side of my chest, just below my rib cage. "Gas," my internal voice calmly explained. My host, noting that that night marked the beginning of spring break, joked that after 20 years of teaching, his immune system knew just when to fail so he would not miss any classes. Laughing in agreement, I realized I could not take a deep breath.

Click here to read the complete column.