I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
Dr. Wayne Balducci '72
November 3, 2016
What more can be said about a man who, from humble beginnings in the Northeast, turned his passion for astronomy into a protean career as a scholar, teacher, author, and popularizer and in doing so became a beloved icon to his students and the public in upstate New York and beyond? But enough about Carl Sagan...
Tony Aveni -- astronomer, historian, inspiring teacher, mentor, confidant, pizza maker. He is all these things. But to me, what stands out in an enviable career was when he delivered what came to be known as the legendary "Hralpteney together" speech at the end of April 1972, a few days before the successful launch of Project Honcho's mighty Hralpteney-Narwhal rocket with A-Mudge the mouse in the cockpit. Addressing the assembled launch crew, the press, and a few bewildered hangers-on, Prof. Aveni christened A-Mudge "the Lindbergh of his generation, and noted that "one of the failures of NASA was neglecting to explore the lower troposphere; Project Honcho should fill that gap." And as he brought his remarks to a conclusion, his inspiring words rose in crescendo to the climactic exhortation: "Let us Hralpteney together!" His dazzled audience sprang to their feet cheering and applauding wildly in agreement. Afterward, when calm had been restored, I presented him with a personalized Project Honcho T-shirt and, as reported in the Colgate Maroon, "... in the emotion of the moment [he] burst into tears." This revealed the true measure of the man: that he could confront the cosmos with the cool detachment of a man of science and then, with a starry twinkling of his eye, traverse the spectrum of the human spirit from the sublime to the just plain nuts.
The Honchos salute you, Tony And may the solar wind be at your back. You can Hralpteney with us anytime!