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Liz Lasdon '76
November 14, 2016
When I first arrived on campus in the fall of 1972, Colgate had instituted a Freshman Seminar for the month of September, when we took only 1 course on a pass/fail basis before beginning a multiple course load in October. The objectives of the “seminar” were to encourage new freshmen to explore an unfamiliar area of study and in turn, better integrate them into the college community. Although a tad apprehensive about the physics side of Astronomy, this Humanities student was lured by Aveni’s reputation as a popular professor and was delighted to find herself assigned to his class.
As expected, Tony Aveni embraced us all, regardless of our level of acumen for science and the novelty of so many new female faces on campus (only third year of coeducation). Tony was charming, engaging and fun, no matter the celestial phenomena we studied, from the classroom to stargazing from the Observatory on top of the Hill near the President’s house. Apart from being a good teacher, he also warmly welcomed us all to his home —despite the cocky and nervous among the pack of us. With Tony Aveni as our first “official” mentor and advisor, our entree to the Colgate community was assured.
Although that seminar was my only Astronomy course at Colgate, I still remember my study of mirages and I continued to cross paths with Tony Aveni during my Colgate tenure and afterwards. Years later, I eagerly attended his lectures on his Mayan research to alumni in NYC, which were always a treat. At each meeting, Tony was as warm and passionate as he had been in that first course. My only regret is not having travelled off-campus with him to Mexico for a ringside seat to his astro-archaeological tour of the dawn of civilization. I wish him well on the wonderful new adventures that his retirement affords him.