“ No one can truly explain the relationship between a Dean and his assistant – I often joked that I was his bouncer, bodyguard, timekeeper, ghostwriter, mother, or child. Our relationship was constantly evolving where I could scold him for coming into work when he was jet-lagged one minute and then have a deep conversation about my career goals in the next minute. I knew his favorite wine, that he didn’t feel confident cooking fish, and a technique to try and make him smile/giggle on camera. Even so, what I did know about Ali could never be enough.
During the last 5 years, I did my best to onboard Ali into his Dean role (including scheduling 4 months of one-on-one meetings when he first started), working with him on the many stages of the ‘B3’ process, and making sure he was taken care of when my role transitioned out of the Dean’s office. Throughout this, Ali continued to invest his time and energy into me. I received many heartfelt cards from Ali and have kept them all knowing just how much his words meant to me. (Even the one that stated he wrote me a message in invisible ink so I can’t see it followed by a large circle underneath). His encouragement and mentorship are irreplaceable.
Ali spoke very highly of everyone and took the time to make sure each person he encountered felt appreciated - often in the form of hallway chats or heartfelt Christmas cards. When delivering Christmas cards one year, we accidentally set off a security alarm – I froze, not knowing what to do, while Ali yelled “Run!” and ran for the exit leaving me behind. He reminded me that you can’t take things too seriously, he was kind, caring, funny, and a kid at heart, and my memories of him will be cherished forever.
To Ann, Niki, and Kia – Ali’s stories of you all were constant and his smile was the brightest when doing something he knew he was not supposed to be doing, or talking about his family. My deepest condolences on your loss and know he will be missed. ”