My fondest Tony Aveni memory was in 2002. I enrolled in Tony's Archeoastronomy and Culture class that included a study abroad trip to Mexico. We drove all through Mexico checking alignments of mountains in relationship to sacred stones on churches. We had about two weeks of note taking, gathering alignments, and had many lengthy conversations about pending presentations and paper projects due for the second part of the yearlong course. When the trip was over and we were back at campus gearing up for writing the proposed lengthy paper, I began to panic. And that's putting it mildly. I was really on the verge of a meltdown. I made an appointment to meet with Tony and drop out of the class. But what happened was I walked out of that meeting with a plan that would get the paper done by the end of the semester. We met once a week, sometimes twice a week, so that I would stay on task. That's the short version which doesn't include the incredible transformation/evolution of my confidence that took place during the writing process of this paper. Professor Aveni's sincerity and patience made, what was for me, a monumental and unattainable task possible. Each week he would coach me to stay on task. "Take one part at at time," he would say time and time again. He did this without frustration and always with that infectious wonderful smile. To say that Tony is a great teacher and a wonderful person just does not do justice to the greatness he inspires in others just by being his genuine humble self!
It is with fondness and appreciation that I write this memory for someone who has lived a life of great adventures and has been a mentor to so many students, including me. Congratulations and many blessings to you, Tony and Lorraine!