It should have been "public" -- not "pubic."
The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs humiliated itself -- twice -- with embarrassing typos connected with last Saturday's graduation ceremonies at the University of Texas in Austin.
First, there were those handsome programs -- distributed to hundreds of parents and students at Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium.
On the front covers, the school called itself: "Lyndon B. Johnson School of Pubic Affairs."
And when horrified university officials realized what they'd done, they sent out this tweet:
The LBJ School
Our deepest apologies to our 2012 graduates for
the eggregious typo in our program. We are
working to distribute corrected programs.
Obviously, it's "egregious" -- one "g," not two.
Jim Romenesko, in his venerable blog covering "media and other things," explained how school officials immediately went into damage-control mode:
Susan Binford, assistant dean for communications at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, says the "pubic" typo was spotted after the programs were distributed at Saturday's commencement exercises.
"Obviously, we are mortified. It's beyond embarrassing."
The program went through "lots of layers of approval" without anyone catching the error.
"As soon as we realized the mistake, everybody went into overdrive and we went to work to reprint it." All grads will be sent new copies of the program.
"Graduates have already received apology letters from the dean," says Binford, as well as an apology tweet, which misspells egregious. (UPDATE: They've now corrected that.)
"No one is laughing about this at the LBJ School."
So what must parents have thought as they looked at the programs from the LBJ School of "Pubic Affairs" -- and wondered about the tens of thousands of dollars they'd spent on their kids fancy graduate degrees?
Binford's biggest concern, however, apparently wasn't getting a dressing down from outraged parents. She told Romenesko that her "biggest fear is the typo getting mentioned on 'The Daily Show.'"
Here is the letter that school officials sent out to parents and students to make amends:
Dear 2012 Graduates,
The cover of this year's commencement program contained an unfortunate typographical error, which has since been corrected and is in the process of being distributed. The error originated with UT Printing, but we failed to catch it. The mistake was inexcusable, and we are mortified. As soon as we caught the error after the programs had been distributed, unfortunately we immediately began work on a corrected version that we will send out electronically and in hard copy to all our graduates, with our deepest apologies. We will send three hard-copy versions to each of you so that you can pass those on to your families and friends. Let us know if you need additional copies. No one feels worse about this than I do, so please accept my deepest personal apology.
With best wishes,
Dean LBJ School of Public Affairs
Everybody makes typos, of course, but the consensus among top editors seems to be that typos are far more common today than in the past. "Use of the word processor has resulted in a substantial decline in author discipline and attention," Geoff Shandler, the editor in chief of Little, Brown and Company, was quoted as saying in an illuminating New York Times blog, "The Price of Typos."
Blog author Virginia Heffernan also observed: "The Pollyannaish upside to writerly inattention and cutbacks in publishing, then, is that readers sometimes see more of the human writer, and less buff and polish."
That said, Heffernan notes that bad spellers, who are perhaps less adept at spotting typos, include the ranks of some great authors and great minds.
Perhaps Dean Binford will want to make that point in any additional tweets or letters to parents and students.