I took Astronomy 101 with Dr. Aveni my first semester freshman year (fall 1976) and I was struggling with the math and concepts. I approached him and asked if I could do something to improve my grade. Though he did not need to make any suggestion, he said I should write a paper on SETI. I did and it improved my overall grade. The next semester he invited Dr. Frank Drake from Cornell to speak about SETI. I met Dr. Drake and had him autograph my paper, which caused Dr. Aveni to break out in a big smile. I was one of many students in Dr. Aveni's class and he went out of his way to treat me as an individual. Years later I ran into him in NYC at a Colgate event. Afterwards, he immediately said, "I know you" and remembered my first name. It was very powerful to be remembered by him.
His sense of fairness, decency and his joy of learning and teaching motivates me to keep thinking about the cosmos and our little place in it.
Dr. Aveni, thank you for your small gesture of help to me and all the help you have given to other students you have met along the way. We are all better people because of you.