Mitch and Morrie met in the spring of 1976. Morrie was a professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and Mitch was a student in one of his classes. There were "only a dozen or so students" there when Mitch walked into the classroom. Mitch was in the process of considering dropping the class because "it (would) not be easy to cut a class this small" when Morrie called him by his full name, Mitchell, as he read from the roll sheet. When Mitch raised his hand, Morrie asked him if he preferred to be called "Mitch" or "Mitchell". Mitch had never been asked this by a teacher before, and had replied that "Mitch (was) what my friends called me". Morrie responded with a smile, "Well, Mitch it is, then...I hope that one day you will think of me as your friend".
During his two years at Brandeis, Mitch took every class that Morrie taught. At his graduation in the spring of 1979, he introduced "Morrie Schwartz, (his) favorite professor" to his parents. Mitch had bought Morrie a present, "a tan briefcase with his initials on the front". He had not wanted to forget Morrie, and suspects that he did not want Morrie to forget him either. At Mitch's graduation, Morrie had asked him to keep in touch, and Mitch remembers that, when he left that day, Morrie had been crying. Caught up in life, Mitch did not kept in touch with his old professor ("The Curriculum" and "The Audiovisual").