Oznot, Joseph David,

Oznot, Joseph David, was probably the best known character admitted to the University in his time. His qualifications were eminently meritorious. The Admission Office's file on him showed that at high school in East Lansing, Michigan, he was a top student, a classicist, a concert pianist, and class treasurer, with College Examination Board scores in the 700s.

Notice of his admission to the Class of 1968 was accordingly sent him on April 16, 1964, and on the same day his name duly appeared on the official admission list posted in West College. Two days later newspapers from coast to coast carried an Associated Press report that Joseph David Oznot ``was not,'' that the University had been tricked into admitting a fictitious character by a clever, well-executed hoax, perpetrated by six sophomores, four at Princeton, one at Columbia, one at Michigan State University.

The Michigan State sophomore had submitted Oznot's preliminary application for admission in October, giving his fraternity house as Oznot's address. During the Christmas recess the Columbia sophomore came to Princeton for Oznot's interview at the Admission Office and made a favorable impression. In January two of the Princeton sophomores took Oznot's College Board exams, with highly creditable results. The final application papers, with space for marks and comment by the high school, were received by the Michigan State sophomore, and carefully filled out by the six conspirators. They settled on April 1 for Oznot's birthday and private detective as the occupation of his father, William H. Oznot (W.H.O.).

E. Alden Dunham, who was then Director of Admission, found the hoax ``ingenious,'' and took a professional view about Joseph David Oznot. ``We would have loved,'' he said, ``to have had him.'


A somewhat similar personage, Ephriam Di Kahble, was much talked about in earlier days by the Class of 1939. Ephriam did not, however, surmount the hurdle of the Admission Office. He appeared out of nowhere sometime in his sophomore year and similarly disappeared in his senior year. His name kept cropping up on chapel attendance cards in the Dean's office and the Registrar received examination grades for him in several courses. His classmates recall last seeing him at an intercollegiate cross-country race in Van Cortlandt Park one hazy Indian summer afternoon. Ephriam started out with the other runners but never returned.


Another Princetonian of some renown, Bert Hormone '17, was completely unknown in student days. As sometimes happens he did not blossom out until after graduation. In his case he was first mentioned in 1917's class notes in the Alumni Weekly in the spring of 1937, shortly before their twentieth reunion. He sounded like an intriguing person but, although several in the class had vague stirrings of their memories, no one could place him with certainty. Under questioning, the class secretary, Harvey Smith, admitted that Adelbert l'Homme-dieu X. Hormone -- Bert's full name -- was his brain child, created to stimulate interest in the reunion.

The class made Bert welcome and in later years from time to time different members reported chance encounters with him all over the world. Hormone became a Colonel in the Foreign Legion of France, and Smith faithfully chronicled his global exploits, marital as well as martial. Shortly before the class's fiftieth reunion he reported that Bert had died and been buried in his beloved Tahiti, his grave covered with flowers kept fresh by the tears of his several grieving widows.

From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).

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