Letter: Mourning the loss of a great professor

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To the Editor:

Daniel Michaelson and I met in 2010. I was a math professor at the Engineering College by that time.

I live in Havana, Cuba. I worked for the Academy of Sciences for many years in the Physics and Math Department, whose offices were in Havana's Capitol. Then I started as a math professor at the Engineering College, it's a campus close to Havana's airport.

As I also studied history, after my retirement I got a contract as a tour guide at Christopher Columbus Necropolis, historically the most important graveyard in Latin America, which covers 138 acres and has the biggest concentration of Carrara marble in America.

Danny and I met at the graveyard. Later, we talked about different topics like our lives and experiences as professors and became good friends.

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It was very nice to sit down and listen to him. He was extremely modest, with a great sense of humor, charming, cheerful, always smiling. He talked to me about his first visit to Cuba in 1999, he was hosted in the Inglaterra hotel (the oldest hotel in Havana) and he said when got in his room and opened the windows he said to himself: "I am at home."

We used to meet, exchanged experiences, and I learned a lot from him. He was a great person and loved to help, was charming, and had an amazing sense of humor. I emailed Danny from time to time and he always answered, no matter how bad he might feel after the surgery and chemo. When I didn't get any answer, I realized something very bad happened to him, however could never guess he passed. He told me he was taking a daily pill for 5 years - I assumed was Tamoxifen - and everything seemed to be fine.

He loved Bennington College and his students and used to be well received in his former student's homes which didn't surprise me. He was welcome everywhere.

I am so so sorry for the great person who has gone! I share your sorrow and will remember such a good teacher and friend for the rest of my life.

Irma Berganti os,

Havana, Cuba


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