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Visitors to Gustavson often comment on how uplifting and extraordinary it is to see a group of faculty and staff so happy and dedicated in their individual and collective pursuits. However, what I believe they really experience is a group of people incredibly grateful for being part of a team shaped by a humble man with a compelling vision and an even greater capacity for empathy and service. While his presence is lost, Ali’s spirit carries on in the hearts and souls of those he touched.

On a personal note, parties at the Dastmalchian’s were epic. Ali was proud of his culture heritage and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating and sharing the food, drink, dancing, and stories of his youth. Ann was a most enthusiastic and gracious host and accomplice. As the morning hours approached, the look on Niki and Kia’s faces raised the question, “should parents really be allowed to have this much fun?”

I will forever miss Ali’s wit, wisdom and grace.