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February 23, 2018

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Preview Entry
February 23, 2018

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February 15, 2013
By happenstance my first four years as a professor at Wofford College coincided with David's undergraduate career. I'm sure you all knew David to be soft spoken, modest, gentlemanly, scary smart, and to have an unerring ethical and moral compass. It may shock you to learn that as an undergraduate ... he was exactly the same. Every professor has a pantheon of a very few students they consider their best ever. Mine numbers four, and of them David was by far the most versatile.
Without clearly understanding why, it is widely accepted that language, music, and mathematics are closely related manifestations of the human brain. In David Morgan this linkage found its perfect storm. When David first took a mathematics class from me I found out how truly exceptional and wide-ranging his gifts were. Though I knew he was a French major I shamelessly began a campaign to win him over to mathematics. I didn't know at the time he was also majoring in history and economics. Eventually he fell one course short of mathematics as a fourth major. So I had to live with my status as the man who failed to convince David Morgan to dedicate himself to mathematics. His mathematical brilliance stood him in good stead for his intention to study law, another discipline which proceeds logically from first principles. He asked me to write a letter of recommendation to Vanderbilt Law School, and I was more than happy to oblige. What followed was a two page single-spaced epistle of praise in which I essentially told the Vanderbilt admissions committee if they didn't enroll David they were quite simply out of their minds. Of course they weren't and they did. Number one in his law class. Editor of the Law Review. Hired directly out of law school by the New York firm of Cravath, Swain, and Moore, arguably the top corporate law firm in the United States. Ho hum! So what else is new?
Four years later, my office phone rang. It was David calling from New York. I'm guessing David never used the word "hate" in his life, but he explained to me in his quiet way how dissatisfied he was with lawyering, citing all the reasons why lawyer jokes are so popular. "Well David, what does your heart tell you to do?" (... and I'm thinking, "Aha, mathematics at last.") "I want to go to Princeton, get a Ph.D. in French, and become a professor." "Oh." If I only could have been a fly on the wall when he explained to the managing partner of Cravath, Swain, and Moore why he was giving up the practice of law. Finally relinquishing my vicarious ambitions for David in mathematics, I agreed to write a letter of support to Princeton. When I hung up the phone I immediately called the chairman of our French department. We agreed we'd hope to have a French position open four years hence so we might have a chance to lure David back to Wofford. Alas, no such position materialized, but I was happy to learn that a fine institution like Furman did have one available and had the good sense to hire David. The memorial service in the Furman chapel on February 15 testifies that they found him every bit as brilliant and admirable as I.

Lee O. Hagglund, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics Emeritus
Wofford College
February 13, 2013
Dearest David, I am so sad to hear this news - it's been a long time since we were together, but we did have some occasional (and, as always with you, enlightening and amusing) phone calls down through the years. I was your first room-mate in NYC (in Hoboken, actually) and you always referred to yourself when we spoke in subsequent years as my room-mate. Those years in Manhattan and Hoboken with you remain very special to me, and I remember your long thought process as you made the decsion to pursue your dream and to become an academic - and to leave me without my room-mate! I will treasure my memories of you, David, all the moreso because I did not know that you were soon to leave us. I hope to meet your parents and Dan again - I still recall my happy visit to Charlotte with you and our expedition to the PTL campus. Lots of love from Oxford, England, from Brian
February 12, 2013
I only spent a week with David at Rusticatio and our communication was limited by my Latin. Nevertheless, his intelligence, humor, patience and sense of enjoyment of life came through clearly. My condolences to his family and friends.
February 12, 2013
Two summers ago, I had the great fortune to study spoken Latin with David at a week long workshop. He was the first person I met, and I will forever remember his warm and gracious smile and ability to make a person feel at home and welcomed within minutes. Over the course of the week, I learned much from his gifted teaching methods; shared many home cooked meals and enjoyed many thoughtful and engaging conversations. We have lost a wonderful man and a true educator. Ave atque vale.