I was introduced to Alan in 1997, when my junior paper was in shambles. My adviser suggested that I speak with Alan. What a blessing. Alan not only had dozens of questions for me to ponder, but he stayed by my side as my senior thesis adviser, my introduction to a first job, and beyond. As I am certain others will share, I would not be where I am today were it not for Alan. More than a mentor, Alan was a nurturer.
When my junior paper was failing, Alan was there. He tolerated weekly visits to his office on the A floor of Firestone. It was there that I discovered some of the University's most hidden academic gems.
When my senior thesis on tutoring in the U.S. proved interesting enough, Alan was there to push me to explore local (Princeton) and international (Japan) tutoring systems. He helped me to secure research funding, and he introduced me to the amazing Ed Freeland and the Princeton Survey Research Center.
When my inquiries into local tutoring and educational programming drew a headline in The Princeton Packet, Alan was there to quell my concern.
When I was one week away from signing an investment-banking contract, Alan suggested that I meet a man named Bill Bowen *58. When I asked "Why," Alan simply replied, "Just talk to him," therefore helping me to find my way to another great mentor. I never looked back after meeting Bill and soon became one of his research associates at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a role that set me farther on the path that I continue to forge today.
I was a good enough student from Hawaii, but I was flailing a bit in 1997, when Alan started caring. He taught, encouraged, and corrected me, but always, as President Obama noted, with a kind smile. Alan's last words to me were in November 2017, when I returned to campus to celebrate the Princeton Survey Research Center's 25th anniversary. At the end of the celebration, I was on the phone with my husband in Hawaii, discussing our son's illness, when Alan and Lisa walked by me on their way home. Alan paused to make sure all was OK, I muttered something about a particularly bad ear infection, and he smiled his famous smile. Both Lisa and Alan reminded me to keep calm, as all parents go through countless ups and downs. Helping me to the end, how lucky am I.
The list of "gifts" from Alan goes on and on, but his last was a small one that he sent to my daughter, Mira, in late 2017. Attached to a water bottle printed with MIRA was a note that read "From MIRA to Mira ... Stay in touch. Alan" MIRA, the Music Industry Research Association, was one of Alan's latest contributions to the world. Without knowing about Alan's MIRA, that is the name that my husband and I were mysteriously drawn to when naming our now 6-year-old daughter in 2012. Mira is now my constant reminder of a teacher who cared so deeply and consistently, who was a tremendous mentor and friend.
To Lisa, Sydney, and Benjamin: My deepest and most heartfelt condolences. Me ke aloha menemene.
To Alan: A hui hou. Until we meet again.