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Message of condolence from
Dr. Riccardo Marchi

Tampa, June 26, 2006

Dear [Dr.] and Mrs. Volan, Dear Greg, John, and Stephen:

My name is Riccardo Marchi, and I am a colleague of Angela at the University of South Florida in Tampa. I was also a student in the Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago during the years in which she was there.

I would like to express my deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to you for Angela’s passing away.

I know that no words can console you and us for losing Angela, but words can help us to remember how exceptional she was, and to be thankful for having been able to experience her rare gifts. In particular, I would like to convey to you how impressive Angela came across as a scholar and a teacher, and how excited we all were at USF to have her as a member of our faculty.

I was part of the Search Committee who recommended her to the Director and to the Dean for the position she won here in Tampa. Her scholarly accomplishments, her numerous and prestigious research awards, and her remarkable teaching experience made her application immediately stand out among many, many applicants. Her advisors wrote glowing letters of recommendations—extremely detailed and full of admiration. Not an inkling of the sometimes formulaic tone that often emerges in this genre showed in the letters of Angela’s professors: it was clear that they all highly valued her unique intellectual gifts and truly loved her as a person.

During her visit, she impressed us at the highest level. The faculty and the students were amazed at her poise at the podium, at her skill in presenting her paper with an extremely thorough knowledge of her topic, but yet in an extremely captivating manner. Angela had also prepared an astonishingly brilliant Powerpoint presentation, with very ingenious animations, which was the most accomplished use of this technology I have ever witnessed. All in all Angela was brilliant, eloquent, calm, in full command of the (stressful!) situation, and offered a really admirable performance. (Hers was by far the best job talk I have seen in many years. A graduate student of mine even told me that she was dreaming to be able one day to give a lecture like Angela’s!) In the conversations with the graduate students and with my colleagues, she won everybody over through her intelligence, sensitivity and warmth. In the judgment of everyone who met her, she was without doubt our top candidate. All of us felt extremely fortunate to have found a wonderful new colleague: an exceptionally gifted young scholar and teacher, but also somebody who would be a good friend because she was such a rare person. The maturity, sweetness and kindness I had experienced in Chicago during my Ph.D. years were traits of Angela’s personality that everybody immediately saw and appreciated.

Now that Angela is not anymore with us it is hard to understand why we have not been given the opportunity to keep enjoying her presence. But perhaps we can find comfort in thinking about the fact that Angela, even so young, had already been able to touch many people outside her family: her many friends, her colleagues, her professors, and the many students she had taught. You had a wonderful daughter and sister, and all those who have had the fortune to meet her felt this way, and will always remember her very fondly.

Very sincerely yours, with my warmest sympathy

Riccardo Marchi