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Memories of Dr. Luis V. Colom

Dr. Steve Rosales

He was a very kind and supportive colleague and friend.  His jovial antics will be missed. 

Ms. Letty Fernandez

UTB won't be quite the same without Dr. Colom. I will miss his hugs and smiles. They always seem to come at the right time when you were having a bad day and he was there to make it better. Dr. Colom ... I will never forget you.

Ms. Lynne Depeault

Dr. Colom was like a father to me. He told the best jokes.  He gave the best hugs. From the minute I met him in 2001, I wanted to work for him and I have been honored to work for him for the past two years.  There is no one like him.  His passion for his work and for living was unbelievably extraordinary.  His dedication to UTB was always unwavering.  I miss him so much already.  He will always hold a special place in my heart. 

Mrs. Michelle Villarreal

Luis, Thank you for your grand spirit, generosity and courage. You spent countless efforts in supporting aspiring medical students and their dreams. You pushed us to never give up. I'm so happy we were able to reconnect after so many years and I am full of gratitude for being able to thank you one last time for always inspiring me and encouraging me to dream BIG. You were full of life with a BIG personality and I will always cherish the time spent together. Thank you, thank you for believing in me because I always believed in YOU.

Dr. Antonio García

My respects to Dr. Colom’s beloved wife Maria and his beloved children Cecilia and Sebastian. I will always be grateful to them because they shared their home and family time with me. 

In the year 2001, while working part-time and being a full time student at UTB, I had the blessing to meet Dr. Luis V. Colom from the Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Colom gave me the opportunity to redeem my life and I was able to finish my B.S. in Computer Science and M.S. in Biology.

Dr. Colom, personally, taught me fundamental neuroscience techniques such as in vivo electrophysiological recordings, signal processing analysis and microscopy imaging. Since he was always taking care of UTB needs, when he taught me electrophysiology, we used to stay until midnight working at his lab.

Because of Dr. Luis V. Colom caring guidance and patience, I published three neuroscience papers with him and was accepted in to the Biomedical Informatics Ph.D. Program at the University of Utah, the international leader in biomedical informatics research and education. I will always be in debt to Dr. Colom. He was my professor, my mentor and my beloved friend whose advice, patience, supervision, teachings and love helped me to grow as a person and as a scientist. There is no way I could have been where I am without Dr. Colom's help and love. Thanks to exceptional men like Dr. Luis V. Colom, Hispanic students from the Rio Grande Valley like myself can contribute to the progress of our great nation, the United States of America.

Mr. Rolando Hernandez

I've known Cecilia, Dr. Colom's daughter, since we were in the fourth grade at Sharp Elementary School. It was because of her that I met her father, Dr. Luis V. Colom. In the eighth grade, I asked for his help on a history project that had to do with cloning so he directed me to Dr. Lehker and Dr. Garrido here at UTB. With the interviews I recorded with them along with others, I was successful in a regional video competition. Then later, when I had just graduated from the Mathematics and Science Academy, I decided I wanted to become a researcher and joined the MBRS-RISE program here at UTB. I spoke with Dr. Colom and became a member of his laboratory staff. Although I no longer work in his laboratory, the experience I gained was invaluable. The point I'm trying to make is that Dr. Colom has always been willing to let students approach him and although he always had a packed schedule, you never saw him dismiss anyone with even a hint of rudeness. Every encounter I've seen him have with people, it's been pleasant. I remember very fondly when I needed his signature for an hour sheet I needed to turn in to the MBRS-RISE office and I ran into him coming down the stairs from his second floor office to go to a meeting in five minutes. I asked him if he could please sign it and he agreed with a smile and told me to turn around. He got his pen, clicked it, put the paper on my back, signed it swiftly and he handed the signed paper to me as we both laughed at my back having been just turned into an improvised desk. My words can't do Dr. Colom justice, but at least I can share that he meant a lot to everyone he knew.

Mrs. Maria Julie Villalon

Very few people have the ability to impact and change so many lives. Dr Colom was one of those individuals. He was a joy to have around. So many memories  and so many moments now treasured in our hearts. We will miss his leadership, guidance and friendship.

Miss Edna Michi

If I had known what waited on the other side of the door, I wouldn't have been so scared and intimidated at the thought of meeting the person who would be my mentor for the next four years. I didn't have to see him, just hearing him whistle down the hall was pretty much enough to turn my day around. Just like many others, I was blessed and lucky to have met Dr. Colom. His unending support, lovable nature and most importantly his true caring toward his students made him an exceptional person. Today I want to thank him for allowing me to experience the best years as an undergraduate, and for always encouraging me to do more. Not only did my love for science grow, but I became part of a family that I wouldn't change for the world. Thank you Dr. Colom for your unending encouragement and support, thank you for making us better people, and thank you for being you. 

Mr. Hugo Esteban Rodriguez Castañeda, UTB '09

I knew Dr. Colom for over a decade, and from the very first meeting I knew how awesome the man was. A hard worker, passionate, caring, and a larger-than-life presence in my life and at UTB. But above all, he was a fighter, for his university, for his family, for his students. 

I remember hanging around LHSB about twelve years ago when I was still in high school. My parents both worked in the building, so I'd sometimes wait for them and I'd get to interact a lot with Dr. Colom, who was always friendly and willing to take some time from his busy schedule to chat or share a joke with me.

As much as it hurts now, there is some comfort to the knowledge that his example and his legacy are going to live on in all of us who had the privilege of knowing Dr. Colom.

Ms. Ana Lara

I met Dr. Colom in the Vice President's Office in 2008 when i used to work for the department. This news broke my heart. I had good memories of him. He always had a smile and jokes to say. He liked to see you with a smile. Great man and professor. I don't have any photos with him but I have many memories in my mind.

Mr. Dirce E. Hernandez

Dr. Colom was a great man. He was a great friend and mentor to my brother Eder which helped in his development as the medical professional and provider he is today. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Dr. Colom on a few occasions, and he always had great things to say about my brother and that made me respect him and like him even more.  R.I.P. Dr. Colom.

Mrs. Veronica Vera

Our hearts are heavy, but your spirit will live on forever within us and this university. You had a driving passion for knowledge and that shaped your life, but along the way you touched the lives of many colleagues and friends.  We will miss you and the enormous excitement that you had about life itself and of your native country of Uruguay. We will miss you forever dear friend.

"PARABLE OF IMMORTALITY" by Henry Van Dyke
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs
like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
" There she goes! "
Gone where?
Gone from my sight . . .that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
" There she goes! "
There are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . .
" Here she comes! "

Jesse Gomez

Dr. Colom was a good friend and supporter during my time at UTB.  He had a big heart and a generosity that will not be forgotten.  His smile and sense of humor were infectious.  My condolences to his staff, friends and colleagues at UTB and especially his family whom he dearly loved.  He will be missed.  Rest in peace Luis.

Olga R. Garcia

I was fortunate to be one of the first to meet Dr. Colom. My job allowed me to connect his phones, voice mail, etc. and if personal training was needed I would give it.  I felt honored that Dr. Colom remembered me. Every time I would see him he had a hug for me. It did not matter who was present that's who he was and he always called me by my name. To me, he was like a "teddy bear". I enjoyed his hugs.  I will dearly miss Dr. Colom.  Thank you familia Colom for sharing him with us.

Mr. Luís Román Sauceda

My many condolences to my professor, Dr.María Díaz, and her family for their loss. It was an honor to have met Dr. Colom while employed as a work-study.  A humorous man that will be missed by everyone on campus.

Prof. Julio Facelli

Luis will be greatly missed as an esteemed colleague and as a personal friend. Let's honor Luis by following his lead in inspiring the young people of the Rio Grande Valley into the realm of science.

Marilyn Woods

Dr. Colom was a kind soul and brilliant scientist with great depth of feelings for people. He loved and found joy in his family and his students. 

His capacity to just be himself was rich. He would speak expertly about brain functions to me, which I probably  misunderstood, but then, he would sit with me to laugh at something silly.   Then the day would be a better day.

I miss him as a dear friend and colleague who made a difference with his time on earth.

Un abrazo fuerte,
Marilyn

Dr. Emilio Garrido

Luis Colom has now transcended the limits of nature in our memories, in the history of our university, in his remarkable legacy to the neurosciences, and in his passion and commitment to alleviate the burden of patients with devastating neurological disorders as Alzheimer's disease. As a colleague, we will always remember his legendary vision and efforts to expand biomedical research opportunities for students as a way to engage them in immersive learning experiences. As a neuroscientist, I highly enjoyed every moment we dreamed about scientific ideas, or just to "chat about science" as he always invited. As a mentor, I will always be grateful for his unconditional support during so many years, his very practical advises and guidance that impacted so many of us. As a friend, Luis will be forever in my heart, imprinted in the intrinsic circuits of my neurons, in my memories. He illuminated our lives with his practical wisdom and very special sense of humor, a humble person with a big heart and a soul of a child, a charismatic figure of noble ideas, always loyal to his friends, romantic of the neural sciences, for the rest of our times, with us he will, Luis Colom, el maestro, this simple great man, exist.

Ms. Susan Galvan

So sorry for the loss of this great researcher. He welcomed me and my students on several occasions to UTB. Even though he was a very busy individual he made time for high school students who wanted to know about his current research project. He will be missed. I hope he finished his research or someone is picking up after him. What a loss.

Joyce Mitchell

Luis Colom was such a special person. I worked with him on the Bridges to the Doctorate program between UTB and the University of Utah. What fond memories I have of the various UTB faculty, UTB students who came to Utah for their PH.Ds, national meetings related to our grants, and lunches or dinners with him.  I will miss him a lot.  I loved working with him.  He was my friend.

Prof. William Harris

Luis Colom was an extraordinary man.  I met him and we became friends through my work in the Academic Senate.  The first time I encountered him after we met in a social setting, I recall being absolutely flabbergasted when he grabbed me and engulfed me in a huge hug.  From then on I often described him to friends and colleagues who didn't know him as the mischievous bear that they sometimes saw on campus.  He was devoted to his students and a man of principle.  His loss to the campus is great, but it is greater still to those of us who had the opportunity to know him.  I am a better man for having made his acquaintance.  I miss him, and wherever his indomitable spirit is now, I send it an abrazo, with my love and admiration.

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