Those of you who knew Dr. Myers well, will no doubt appreciate my comments for what they are. For like the quality grain of a cherry wood, the starry expanse of a night sky, or even the concentric layers of an onion--to reference one of Inma's favorite poets, Pablo Neruda--we do not usually suspect the whole form its parts. The cherry patch, the configuration of the cosmos, and the onion field are all difficult to fathom, each in their own way, on the sole basis of their subsets.
Reflecting similarly about Inma has been an ongoing process since her passing, as I'm sure it has been for many of you here today. It has proved to be a dynamic of mind from which successive images of her trigger an involuntary play on memory, which in hindsight forms ever greater connections and larger meanings, the sum parts of which conjure up a wonderful colleague, a friend and a truly special human being.
For those of you who may not have known her, and for others who may or may not know some of the more relevant details about her life, a few biographical data will help recall her official history. Inma Minoves Myers was born on June 9, 1950 in Lerida, NE Spain. Her family settled in Latin America, more specifically in Uruguay's capital, when she was three. It was in Montevideo that she received her formal education, interrupted in 1969, the year she completed her American Field Service and received her high school diploma in Clinton, Illinois.
Professor Myers returned to the US to study at Drake University, where she received her B.A. in Spanish in 1973. She then undertook graduate studies in Spanish at the University of Illinois, where she earned her Ph.D. in 1981. Having married David Myers in 1972, Inma became a proud mother to Jonathan, in 1977, and also to Katie, in 1985. Jonathan is currently studying in Bloomington, while Katie is attending junior high school in Valparaiso where she resides with her father, who holds the position of Professor of Law at Valparaiso University.
Inma began her teaching career at IUN in 1980, a year before completing her doctorate. From the very beginning, she is on record as a consummate teacher--a fact made clear in myriad ways and in numerous student and peer evaluations. In reviewing commentary from students, class after class, and year after year, there is no question that she was a master teacher. Her designation of Outstanding Teacher by the IUN Teaching Committee in 1984, and her Outstanding Faculty Recognition Award are but token expressions that she was a highly regarded and respected teacher. For Inma's students have repeatedly spoken and written about her superior teaching ability and dedication. She was considered an inspirational model by all those she touched in special ways--and there were many such people. Students and colleagues alike referred to her as a mentor.
Inma's reputation as a teacher who challenged and encouraged students was preceded only by her personality. She had a positive attitude; a contagious enthusiasm, and cheerful disposition. She was always ready to consider the better side of those with whom she crossed paths. She was warm, fair-minded, and understanding. Above all, she was passionate about her profession; about Spanish and Catalan, her native languages; about Spain and Latin America, and about Hispanic culture and literature. She was also devoted to her family. Her nurturing love for her children and husband was a self-evidence. So, too, was her selfless commitment. It is a wonder that, above and beyond her familial devotion, she was still capable of expressing to such a degree her dedication and commitment to students and colleagues alike.
In the end, she taught us all something about the human spirit. She fought her illness stoically, until she knew her time had come. She prepared herself, and her loved ones, without sparing effort or detail. In fact, with the help of her husband, she planned her own memorial service, which is to be held tomorrow at 3 p.m., complete with music, strawberries, and champagne, in Valparaiso's First Presbyterian Church. I hope many of you will come to Inma's memorial service which she surely meant to be a celebration and communing of spirit. Throughout her painful ordeal, and to the very end of her journey, she refused to show the world outside her family the real extent of her physical decline, preferring instead to be remembered as she really was: an elegant, soulful, and truly outstanding human being.
Allow me to conclude my remarks with the request for a moment of silence, so that each of us might remember Inma in a very personal way.