When I look back on college, it is like a frozen moment in time. There are memories aplenty, but the campus community in my mind never changes and stays just as it was when I was a student. We all know this is not true especially when I read the alumni newsletters that point out the improvements.
That said, my old college professor, Dani Novak, who was also a mentor to me, just announced yesterday that he is retiring in a couple of weeks. Though I am thrilled for him and know that the future will only lead to more achievements for this man that goes way beyond academia, there is sadness also tugging at my heart.
It is an unjustified sadness except for the fact that my past has a crack now in its frozen-in-time ice. Goodness knows this knowledgeable math professor has earned his retirement after decades of service at Ithaca College where he encouraged and inspired young minds by the dozens.
When I was in his class, it was like magic. For those of you who know me, you would understand when I say that math is the class where you’d least expect me to connect with a professor. To say the least, I am not exactly a mathematician, but that is exactly why Dani and I connected. I was his greatest “I’m scared of Math” challenge, and he never gave up on me. His strongest ability was for me to recognize that my fear was holding me back and found different and interesting angles to explain mathematical concepts so I would understand. I never had another professor quite like him, and we have kept in touch for all of these year.
So, my dear Dani, thank you for an incredible “magic carpet ride.” Your lessons have stayed with me for a lifetime, and I am certain that other students would echo the same sentiment. My song of the day, Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” is dedicated to you. Click HERE to go to Youtube to hear it and best of luck with all of your exciting new adventures. I look forward to a visit! Mi casa es su casa!