We are raising funds that will go into college savings for Dave and Katie’s children.
This page is dedicated to the memory of Dave Bucci. Dave was a devoted father, caring mentor, inspiring teacher, fierce advocate, brilliant scientist, and dear friend. He brightened the lives of those who had the gift of knowing him. Here we honor and celebrate his memory by sharing all the ways that he made our lives better.
It is hard for me to think of any one memory to share. My mind keeps delivering the mundane, daily moments of sunshine he brought into my life. I find my eyes wandering to my open office door, expecting to see him sauntering up in the way he walked when he was approaching an old friend. Hey Wheatgerm. I expect to see him treating a junior colleague to lunch, taking a graduate student aside to congratulate them on their brown-bag talk or poster, seeing his eyes light up talking about his kids, throwing himself with child-like enthusiasm into undergraduate teaching, or celebrating the successes of others, big and small. He was kind and generous and genuine; it is no surprise that he knew everyone’s name in the building.
Above all, he loved his family, working with his hands, and inspiring his students.
And he was beloved, by all of us.
– Thalia Wheatley
01-03-2020 by Bob Smith
I worked with Dave when he worked at BMS in Wallingford, CT. My nickname was Bob-O. I am so sad to hear this news. Dave was the best and the greatest friend one could ever ask for. We had so much fun skiing in VT, playing lots of sports and just hanging out. I am a Red Sox fan, so we had our share of back and forth about the Red Sox-Yankees games. He always had such a positive attitude and he was fun to be around. Going to miss him so much.
11-23-2019 by Giovanni Bosco
Dave was a friend and colleague. He was smart, with an amazing sense of humor, always smiling. Yes, he had a nickname for me too-- more than one in fact: Bosconator or Bosconation. Once, after a particularly robust lunch, he called me Bacon-Bosconator, to which I retorted, "so now I'm a happy-meal? He gave a little nod at my plate and we both laughed so hard. The rest of that day I found myself chuckling over it. Very occasionally, when he had something serious to say, he would lean closer and just call me "Bosc".
One of many aspects of Dave that I love was that I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone-- including those who were unkind to him. When I first met Dave, it was like love at first site: We both grew up with having distinctly Italian names, catholic and, of course, Yankee fans. The trifecta! Although I always doubted he was old enough to know the same Yankees I knew as a child we nevertheless loved to debate whether the team and spirit was ever the same after Thurman Munson died in that plane crash or how many times was Billy Martin fired. We'd have lunch often, and we both got the same thing every time. Half a pizza and Caesar salad. 'Extra anchovies please. Yes, for each of us. Just pile them on. Yeah, can you believe there used to be a place in town that served everything but?' We always got a kick out of the looks we'd get from the staff! We wondered what they were saying in the kitchen about the two weirdos wanting a pile of stinky fish, and we laughed about it. We were happy as this was the best Italian food in Hanover;) We nevertheless shared a common sense of monachopsis, in disbelief at our dumb luck at having such amazing jobs, wondering when we'd be discovered as pretenders.
We talked about food a lot, and he shared with me his mom's secret of putting anchovies in her red sauce to make it flavorful and appropriately salty. We mostly talked about our families and science, mostly our families though. His smile would get even bigger and positively glowing when he talked about his kids. I remember thinking every time, "I hope I glow like Dave when I talk about my kids." He was always so proud and full of love for his kids.
We worked on a few grants together, and I remember how much fun it was to do this with Dave-- hearing his ideas and the way he liked to think about problems. (For those of us who have written grants, the word "fun" is not a word we normally associate with grant writing. But I truly mean it, it was so much fun to talk science and work on grants with Dave.) He always answered my stupid questions and always had a way of rephrasing my absurd ideas to make them sound like they actually were decent ideas (even though we all knew better). Dave was the real deal and so modest about it. Perhaps our biggest adventure was our year-long (or years-long!) effort to get a Dartmouth Young Mind Institute off the ground. Dave led this effort, with several other colleagues involved from Dartmouth and Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and Dave organized numerous meetings, proposal drafts and countless iterations of proposal edits (...we want something longer; no something shorter; global impact; more focused; distinctly Dartmouth; far reaching; etc., etc.), presentation practices, presentation coaches... and finally a presentation to donors where Dave hit out of the park. Like that 1978 Bucky Dent homerun over the Green Monster. In the end, nothing. All we wanted to have was some formal way to bring people together and systematically study the development of the young brain. Dave would say to me, what better way to transform the minds of the students we are entrusted with than to teach them how their brains work; to learn with them how their minds can make them more than what they are now. We tried again later in a different effort, and then again after that. We just marveled at the fact that the young mind, those of our own children and our students, could be so resilient and yet so fragile and impressionable. I am sorry we ran out of time Dave.
When the storm hit PBS and Dave was chair, I saw him take much of this so personally. The lunches became less frequent and the laughs never seemed as light hearted. He dutifully did everything possible to make it better, to make it right, and he did so at great personal expense and sacrifice (although now I know I really did not understand the degree to which Dave was affected by it). Many of us saw what a deeply personal toll this was taking, and once I selfishly suggested he just quit the PBS chair position-- let someone else do it. As was Dave's way, he leaned in close and said quietly "Bosc, I can't quit. I have to take care of the students; I have to take care of the faculty while we go through this." And he was right, of course. He was chair of the department and he needed and wanted to take care of the faculty, staff and the students who called PBS their home. That's what true leadership does.
And as I miss my friend Dave every day since he has gone, I find myself wondering what could be different. I mean, what could be different now and going forward. I wish I were more kind and generous like Dave. I am so honored to have known you Dave, and that you chose to be my friend. For you enriched my life in ways I never had a chance to really tell you about. I will miss laughing with you; the extra anchovies will never be the same. Rest now, my friend.
11-23-2019 by Michael
I dreamed that you were not gone and it was so real. You were standing at a lectern giving a talk in some futuristic classroom. I ran up and grabbed you, sobbing uncontrollably. And hugged you fiercely, and shook you like you were my child who ran off at the mall and disappeared for a day. I was so angry with you and so relieved. And I remember thinking in my dream- how strange the tears are finally coming out now that this is all over.
Upon waking my heart broke again.
Over the past month I’ve been reading these comments, searching for my own words to add and eventually shrinking back, overwhelmed by the enormity of our loss. Unable to make sensible words to fill a space that cannot be filled. I still do not feel ready but seeing you in my dream tells me that maybe you are ready. So I will try.
So many former students have shared the experience of feeling your support and guidance, despite not being in your lab. They describe their envy of the blessed few who had the privilege of working with you directly.
It was my great honor to be one of those lucky ones. Even at the time we all knew it. And I knew it better than most; I had the greatest PhD advisor one could hope for. How many hours did I enjoy the luxury of your undivided attention while I struggled through each setback and milestone along the way? How many days did I walk into your office anxious and deflated, only to walk out 30 minutes later full of vim and vigor, inspired and ready to push on? How immeasurable, the value of that quality you possessed- to pour your positivity and enthusiasm into others like a water from a spring?
I remember our first breakfast at Lou’s during my interview weekend and how I barely slept the night before worrying about whether I could leave NYC to live in the frozen wilderness.
I left our breakfast ready to buy a snow shovel and a parka. I called my parents and told them that while I was still unsure about Dartmouth as a whole- I was absolutely sure that I wanted to work with you.
I remember the story about when you were in graduate school and you walked out one day to drive to (Washington?) for a protest march. I remember when you were so upset by the recent school shooting that you wanted to shut down government until we had reasonable gun laws- your worry about your children was palpable. I remember when we skied at a conference and we won. Dave, my stories are like all the stories on here... The words are not enough and the truth reads like hyperbole.
You will be missed by so many. I am just one more who feels the darkness where you had given so much light.
Forever your friend,
11-17-2019 by Megan & Dylan
Both of us completed our PhDs at Dartmouth where we had the good fortune of getting to know Dave. He was always the most genial and warmest person in the room. Although neither one of us worked with Dave directly, it always struck us as remarkable and unique how he championed the work of students from across the department and cared so much for everyone’s success and well-being. The last time both of us saw him was when we came back to Dartmouth for a visit after becoming engaged. We still remember how much Dave was beaming because he was so happy for us. It really touched us both that he cared so much, even for us former students.
11-04-2019 by Cynthia Akagbosu
I am still at a loss for words at the passing of Dr. Bucci. I first met him in the Spring of 2008 while a freshman at Dartmouth College, I was in the midst of finding a mentor for a HHMI fellowship and he was kind enough to be my mentor. He was always so patient with me- I had never done research before. I remember my first day in the lab, they were sacrificing rats to examine their brains with a "rat guillotine". He said wow, you didn't run out the door, you'll make a great addition to the team! He always had a jovial and fun attitude about life. I am now finishing up my third year of pediatrics residency at Boston Children's Hospital and his early inspiration created the confidence in myself needed to embark on such a career. He facilitated me into becoming a leader at the tender age of 17! We will all miss you tremendously. May you rest in perfect peace.
11-01-2019 by Will J. Millard
In 2001 Trish Jackson, my partner, came to Dartmouth College as an administrator while down the river I continued as a member of the Mount Holyoke College faculty. Several years later we left Hanover Plain and crossed the river to Norwich and a house off New Boston Road. On sabbatical from Mount Holyoke I was privileged to be a visitor in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth and it was there I met Dave Bucci. We were pleased Dave and Katie came to Turnpike Road and were delighted to see the family at the Norwich Inn. As denizens of academe we recognize Dave as an outstanding scientist, a respected professor and mentor, and a leader of a department in difficult times. As citizens of Norwich we are grateful for Dave’s love of family, his energetic kindness and respect for others, and his courage exemplified by his advocacy of firearm regulation in the wake of the mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Trish and I love this place and for us Dave is forever present.
10-31-2019 by Hannah Payne
It was strange to be at the Society for Neuroscience meeting this year, nine years after I attended for the first time with Dave, knowing he wasn't there. Back in 2010, I was a senior at Dartmouth presenting work from Dave's lab, miraculously able to attend SfN through his determined, student-focused efforts to design a seminar class incorporating a trip to the biggest yearly gathering of neuroscientists in the world. Dave's teaching in both large intro classes and tiny senior seminars, combined with his mentorship in lab, directly contributed to the fact that I am still in love with neuroscience today. More importantly, I will forever remember his infectious enthusiasm, sense of humor, willingness to listen, patience in correcting mistakes, and kindness. He will be missed tremendously.
10-30-2019 by Dan Romer
I first met Dave over an email I sent him in 2017 in regard to some research he was doing on risk taking in rats. I didn’t expect a response, but he wrote back a very nice note saying how he appreciated my suggestions! I forgot about that exchange when I wrote to him again late in 2018 asking him as the Department Chair if I could organize an undergraduate prize in honor of a special former faculty member of the department, Jack Baird. I again knew I was dealing with a special person when he expressed such enthusiasm for the idea, saying that there were not enough funds dedicated to recognizing deserving undergraduates in the department. He then helped me to organize the mechanism to establish the honor and suggested that the prize could best be spent to help an undergrad attend and present at a national conference. Shortly before I arrived in Hanover to attend my 50th reunion last June, Dave sent me a note saying the department had selected a student to receive the prize and that if I could attend the department picnic in honor of the graduating class, he would announce the prize. That was when I met Dave in person. I will never forget that occasion and the effort he put into the creation and first awarding of the prize. The student he selected needed the funds to spend the summer in Boston in a project that she could not otherwise afford to undertake. As so many have commented, this was just another way that Dave wanted others to succeed just as he had. I was deeply saddened to hear of his death. His enthusiasm and kindness will remain with me forever.
10-28-2019 by Kyle Smith
Here are a few great Dave anecdotes. (1) his brother at the funeral mentioned him helping out the homeless. One time he ran into my office saying there was a guy he’d given stuff to in west leb, and he pulled up next to the guy offering something but the guy really wants to give Dave a six pack that someone gave him since he didn’t drink. So they argued about who would have the beer. (2) one of his great friends was Bob Leaton, an emeritus prof, and he loved engaging Bob in his work. It was three separate times Dave marched in my office with a way to honor Bob, like his name on something or a brand on his homemade beer. He said Bob did not want to be the center of attention like that. Dave each time was like “I just got this done in Bob’s name! He’s going to hate it! Don’t tell him, I want to.” (3) I didn’t have a nickname but we started a journal club that he named Smucci Club from our last names. (4) He would also post silly things on my grad students door with their nicknames and ask if it was funny or not. I think a few were turned away. (5) we worked together so much that we are both on each other’s grants and didn’t even remember it. In the aftermath, I get “ you were on his grant, so...” and I have zero memory about what it was for and I’m sure he was in the same boat about mine, (6) my ex wife Dee and I brought him some Boston pastry when we visited his house, and he was utterly besides himself like a little kid, (7) he finished his basement, not something I know the least bit about, and was constantly at me to tell him if it was ok even though we both recognized I was useless, (8) him running in to ask me if I had a sec, then when I said ok I had just a little time, he would lay out some monstrous science project conversation that would take weeks to handle properly. Over and over again that happened. (9) and a sad one, he was my plus 1 for a very recent awards banquet since I didn’t see any successes that didn’t owe everything to him and his support, and he seemed ok that day. RIP
10-28-2019 by Alan Green
Dave was my friend. Some months after I came to Dartmouth (now 17 years ago), I got an email saying he wanted to talk with me about research. I didn't know who he was. He came to my office, wearing shorts and a ratty tee shirt, sun glasses perched on his head, and with a big smile and a handshake. We hit it off right away. We planned all kinds of research projects -- a number of which we pulled off. But more important, we became friends. He was witty, outrageous, generous, brilliant and warm. And yes, he game me a nickname as well -- "Hey AG!". He helped my students and postdocs learn about animal behavior, and was always open to any collaboration we had in mind. There simply aren't many people like him. I am so sad he is no longer with us, but my world is brighter because I knew Dave Bucci and he was my friend.
10-27-2019 by Jeremy Manning
When I joined his department, I got to experience the first faculty meeting that Dave led as the new department chair. He inspired us with his unifying message of breaking down historical barriers between disciplines within our department. He carried that message forward throughout his time leading our department. I will remember Dave as a kind and caring person with an infectious enthusiasm for all things science. I will also remember his hearty, jovial, laid back confidence and easy humor. He will be missed.
10-27-2019 by Anne Krendl
Dave was one of the classiest people I have ever known. I started my PhD at Dartmouth at the same time he joined the department as a faculty member. We were in different areas, but as so many have echoed here, it didn’t take a lot of time to learn that Dave was special and genuine. At many department gatherings, he and his wife made a point of seeking out and talking to my now husband to make sure he felt welcome. My husband still talks about how much that meant to him. I last saw Dave about a year and a half ago when he was in Indiana for work. He greeted me as though I was an old friend, giving me a big bear hug and asking how I was doing. He was still chair at the time, and things were getting rather intense. I asked how he was coping and he laughed it off. It was clear he didn’t want me to worry about him, and was far more interested in making sure I was ok. Classy.
10-26-2019 by Tom Gould
Dave was a kind soul. His care, compassion, and earnestness radiated. Each time I would get to share a meal with him or grab a moment to talk was a gift; I treasure those sincere conversations. This loss is tragic beyond words. My heart goes out to his family.
10-25-2019 by Debbie Bangasser
Dave was my 1st conference mentor (not through an official program, because he cared about mentoring). He’d always stop by my posters at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Meeting & Pavlovian Society and check in.
As I grew up in science, we became colleagues & friends. We’d catch up at each SfN & Pavlovian to commiserate about grant rejections, talk about managing a lab, share tips on mentoring, & celebrate successes (he was so proud when I got tenure!). He also helped me through some tough times.
Dave was the best of us: the mentor, friend, colleague, & scientist that I aspire to be. My heart goes out to his family, students, friends, & colleagues.
10-25-2019 by Jaylyn Waddell
I was a graduate student at UVM when Dave joined faculty there. I was his TA and a student in one of his classes. He was so kind an supportive. He endured some extreme circumstances at UVM--a flooded lab that halted research for over a year...but he was never dark about it. I had many great conversations with Dave. I will always remember his nickname for me--Rosey--there's a convoluted way he got there and it was hilarious. I can just hear him saying it in the morning. It pains me to know how he struggled and what his family must grapple with. I regret not staying in touch better than I did but his memory is strong. Rest in peace and know your peeps miss you and love you.
10-25-2019 by Steve Maren
Dave is one of the good ones. He had a magnetic personality and always carried a big smile and a warm heart. He is among those colleagues that you truly enjoy being around. He was also an outstanding scientist and mentor, with a quick mind and a serious interest in important questions in the field. His legacy will live on in the students that he has trained, and in the colleagues with whom he has worked. Above all, he will be remembered as a friend of many--and we will miss him.
10-25-2019 by Feilong Ma
Dave was always kind, warm, caring, and willing to help others. My memories with him make me want to share the warmth and kindness to others, and to make the community a better place like he would do. I will remember him and miss him a lot.
10-25-2019 by Sarah Berger
I met Dave personally only a couple of times and yet he left a deep impression. I also work with a large cohort of students, many of whom either took his courses or worked with him as a research and "life" mentor. Through their lens I understood him to be a favorite teacher and beloved mentor. I speak to 100's of students a year and he was among a handful of professors I hear about so frequently, and, who obviously made such a difference in the education and spirit of their lives. One of the occasions I had the opportunity to meet him, was in a mindfulness group held for students, staff and faculty. It was a small group that day, and one of the students was going through a very difficult time. The attention and kindness he offered her that day was something that has stayed with me and I thought of often, so touched that though he was a "professor," there were no walls in sharing that he was a human reaching out to another human. I am honored to have had the chance to bear witness to the kindness and caring at his core. May his family and those to whom he was dearest always carry the loving energy he shared, in their own hearts.
10-25-2019 by Jiahui Guo
Dave was one of the most important people who made my graduate life in this small town welcomed and supported. He was always very relaxed, kind, and warm. He cared about me with his generosity though I was not his student. Every time we passed by each other in the hallway, he would smile at me and say “hello” like an old friend. Sometimes I felt I could still see him standing in the morning sunshine on the second floor, cheering for me after my dissertation defense with his usual warm and encouraging smile. I will miss you, Dave.
10-25-2019 by Carolyn Parkinson
Dave always radiated warmth, kindness, and enthusiasm. When I think of Dave, the first thing that comes to mind is his smile. Whenever I saw him in the halls of Moore during my time in graduate school, I could count on getting a big smile, paired with either a question about how things were going for me or a brief, hearty exclaim of "Parkinson!" I wasn't in Dave's lab, or even in his area of the department. Yet, Dave really went out of his way to make everyone in the department, no matter what we studied, or what our positions were, feel at home and supported from the moment that we arrived. Running into Dave during visits back to Hanover since graduating was always a treat. His joy was infectious, and he had such a remarkable knack for making all those around him feel welcome and valued. I'm so grateful to have crossed paths with Dave. He will be tremendously missed.
10-25-2019 by Margaret Funnell
What I will always remember about Dave is his smile and his kindness. There are so many stories about his thoughtfulness and inherent goodness, and this is just one more example. About a year ago, I asked Dave if the department had any funding for class projects. He said no, and he certainly could have left it at that. Being Dave, though, he didn’t. He wanted to know why I was asking. I explained that my class was going to be doing group projects again that year. I had assigned the projects for the first time the previous year, and I realized belatedly that some of the groups were spending money on their projects. None of them spent a lot of money, and they were splitting it amongst the group members, but I was worried about the low-income students. For some students, contributing is no big deal. For others, it’s the difference between eating that day and going hungry. As soon as Dave heard that, he immediately offered funding for the projects, and he allocated departmental funding going forward for all classes. It’s a relatively small thing, but it will make a big difference for a lot of students. That was Dave. He cared about everyone, and he was always committed to doing the right thing.
10-25-2019 by Will Tackett
Dr. Bucci was my first guide into the formal study of neuroscience. After taking Psych6 and seeing the vast breath of lines of inquiry which make up neuroscience and which he somehow managed to pack into ten weeks, I decided to make it my major. Fittingly, Dr. Bucci was there for the end of my Dartmouth neuroscience career as one of my senior thesis advisors. During my defense, he asked me tough question after tough question. Afterwards, he told me "I wanted to push you, because I knew you could handle it." I believe Dr. Bucci cared deeply about his students and wanted to help them achieve their full potential. I'll never forget that.
10-25-2019 by Kyle Smith
Dave was my best friend up here, and I imagine I’m not the only one who would say that. I’m helping compile a list of people that loved him even just in the science world and it’s totally unwieldy. That’s how he was. Everyone’s dear friend. He hooked me in and never wavered, always a source of enthusiasm and love for life. Dave made his department the place to be. He was infectious. He truly loved his work and helping others. I loved talking with him, almost daily. He would maneuver from professional to personal stuff effortlessly because he cared so much. When he started struggling a repeated comment was his worry about not being supportive enough of others during it. What a person. His legacy in my world is a great scientist, a person that put personal and professional identities into the same basket to care about, and a person I would love to be.
10-24-2019 by Rachel Putney
In 2011, Dave gave me a job. This job was a big deal. It was my first real job after leaving the Army and it gave me the confidence I needed to realize I could survive outside the Army. I had no real qualifications, but within days of starting, I was a part of the Bucci lab family. Dave patiently listened to me ask the same questions over and over as I was learning new techniques and procedures And always answered them without a hint of annoyance. He made me feel important and as much of a member of the team as the grad students, even though I didn’t even have a Bachelors degree yet. When the time came, he encouraged and supported my decision to leave the lab and finish my degree. Dave was one of the most kind, selfless, and genuine people I ever had the opportunity to be around. He let me bring my 10 year old son to work when I’d have to run experiments through the weekend. When my daughter was just a few months old I brought her to the lab because I was so proud of where I used to work and I wanted her to be in the presence of this gem, even for a moment. I didn’t travel to conferences with the gang, but Dave always got my name on an abstract, article, or poster. Dave had a positive impact on so many lives, including mine. I only worked with him for 2 years, but those two years were full of greatness. He will be very very very missed. Thinking of his family, my lab family, and keeping everyone who knew him in my heart.
10-24-2019 by BJ Casey
Dave’s enthusiasm for science was infectious. There are few colleagues with whom we can discuss any idea, big or small, naïve or well-founded with such enthusiasm and without judgement. We would talk endlessly about our work and ideas and each conversation was a reminder for why I love science! I will miss these moments and my friend.
10-24-2019 by John Pfister
One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel." Although we will all remember Dave's scholarly accomplishments and many of us are now trying to recall and savor every word of every conversation we have ever had with Dave, it was how he made us feel that we will remember the most. He made us all feel welcomed, valued, important, and most notably, part of his world. Dave and I shared a common love of teaching. Not just good pedagogy or getting up in front of people and telling them a good story, but also those little things that no one seems to talk about. We chuckled when we both admitted to collecting student data or questions for class and if they did not turn out to be as interesting as we had hoped, neither of us was beyond manufacturing or altering the outcome in such a way to make a good story. We often smiled at one another and uttered the refrain, "What is good teaching? Smoke and mirrors, my friend...Smoke and mirrors." This was our inside joke and I feel privileged to have shared it with a giant among those who care about education, integrity, and the lives of those around them. Goodbye, good friend.
10-24-2019 by Mark Baxter
I met Dave in 1993 when I started my PhD at UNC-Chapel Hill. He was starting his work in Michela Gallagher's laboratory after finishing rotation projects in other labs. (I was hell-bent on working with Michela, so I started working there right away and managed to mostly skirt the lab rotation requirement.) In the spring of my first year, Michela said to the two of us "I have a vision" and suggested a comprehensive behavioral study with a new selective immunotoxin for basal forebrain cholinergic neurons, which we'd just started using in the lab. The code for this experiment was "BB" for "Baxter-Bucci" and I still have the lab notebook with all the surgery notes in my office. This was my first big project in the lab and involved, among other things, a month of 7-days-a-week all-day water maze testing. Working together nonstop for months cemented our friendship and our scientific collaboration. Dave helped me lighten up a little bit too which I desperately needed - he cracked me up by imagining the water maze computer speaking to us in the voice of HAL 9000 ("I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that"). This project became the first paper in my dissertation, published in Behavioral Neuroscience in 1995. It was one of the papers highlighted as part of the 30-year anniversary of Behavioral Neuroscience and it was a delight to write a commentary/retrospective piece about it with Dave (published in BN in 2013).
Dave always called me "Baxter" (usually doing an impression of Michela's voice) so even if I didn't see him right away in the crush of people in the poster session at SFN, he knew how to provoke an orienting response from me. He had a profound effect on my development as a scientist during the critical period of graduate school. He was enthusiastic and excited about science but also incredibly careful and rigorous, in days long before "rigor-n-reproducibility" was a buzzword. I am so grateful to have had him as a friend and colleague, and I will miss him terribly.
10-24-2019 by Meghan Meyer
Like many junior faculty in our department, I met Dave Bucci on a very cold morning to kick off my faculty interview at Dartmouth. Breakfast at Lou’s in downtown Hanover. Dave warmed the wintery scene with his passion for Dartmouth, science, and his colleagues. Once I started working at Dartmouth many months later, I quickly learned that Dave’s warmth was not a momentary show just to persuade faculty recruits. When he saw me walking alone across the green, he shouted, ‘Hey M-M, wait up!’ and walked with me back to the department. A small gesture, but one of many. Over time, he became one of my impromptu faculty mentors, despite the fact that we were in different research areas and despite the fact that he was already quite busy. He made himself available to last-minute meetings, where he helped me think through some big lab decisions. Perhaps most impactful was the time he looked me in the eye and encouraged me to share my thoughts more in faculty meetings. I could tell he meant what he said, and I still think about this memory before faculty meetings, to help me muster more confidence. What I know about Dave outside of Moore Hall comes from the many times I’d see him out and about in the Upper Valley. Once vigorously playing his mandolin in a dive bar in White River Junction; other times at the pool with his daughters. Just like on campus, he appeared present, passionate, and always said hi even if I wasn’t that close by.
10-24-2019 by Amir
He was a kind, caring man who loved his students and loved his department. He was dedicated to neuroscience and his enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone he taught.
His intro to neuroscience class sparked lifelong curiosity in students every year, it remained one of the most popular and best taught classes at Dartmouth.
He truly was a one in a million kind of professor and human being, and more than anything, I just want to say I will miss him.
10-24-2019 by Andy Chen
I joined PBS as a graduate student in 2011, and I remembered that the first letter/email that I received from PBS was from Dave. As an international student, I had no idea how difficult living in a foreign country can be. Dave helped me a lot during this process even I am not his student. He created an inclusive and welcoming environment to students, and a lot of international students all felt the same as me, even we are all NOT his students. I really missed when he said "How is going, buddy?" when I met him every time on the second floor. Chatting with him always let me feel that someone in the department does care about you. I will always remember him. I will miss you, my friend.
10-24-2019 by Alyssa Letourneau
I met Dave circa 1999 in the Burwell Lab at Brown. He was one of the post-docs and I was doing research as an undergrad. I changed gears and decided to apply to medical school and needed to take a gap year and he generously offered me a job so I followed him to the University of Vermont to help him start his lab. We hung out quite a bit not knowing many others in the area and I was able to witness his courtship of Katie and the immense joy she brought to his life. Reading all the memories, I recall that he had some sort of nickname for me (as he clearly did for many) but I can't seem to remember it; however, I do clearly remember his smile and infectious laugh as he said it. I have a few fond memories at UVM including flooding Dewey Hall a couple weeks before starting experiments as the water purification system burst on the weekend before winter break only to be discovered by water leaking into a computer workroom 4 floors down a couple of days later. We had to delay everything, but he certainly kept a positive attitude and managed to keep me working. We closed the year off with a trip to Alaska for a collaboration at the University of Fairbanks and were able to see Denali and fly up over the Arctic Circle with the pilot letting each of us fly for a bit. We had an amazing time both with the science and the adventure. As others have said, he was an amazing teacher, mentor and friend. I had not spoken to him for some time although we emailed a few weeks ago, but I knew that if I ever needed something he would be there for me. He was just one of those people you can count on regardless of the time and distance between you. I will miss you Dave and all my love to Katie and the children.
10-23-2019 by Emily Finn
I first met Dave when I was interviewing for an assistant professor position in PBS this past spring, while he was chair. Right off the bat, it was clear that in contrast to many senior PIs, Dave genuinely loved not only research but teaching as well, and he was quick to emphasize how interacting with students at all levels enriched both his research program and his life. Also, his openness, humility, and candor in discussing the recent difficult events in PBS made a strong impression on me, and was a big part of the reason I was so excited and optimistic about joining the department. After I'd gotten the offer and was back in Hanover for a second visit with my fiancé, Dave took us out to breakfast at Lou's, where we had a spirited discussion of everything from science to local politics to his kids' athletic pursuits. It was clear he genuinely loved all of the communities he was part of -- both personal and professional -- and his enthusiasm for Dartmouth and the area was infectious. After that visit, Dave followed up unprompted to put us in touch with several close friends of his in an effort to help my fiancé find a job in the area. While I didn't know Dave nearly as well as other current and former members of the department did, over the last few months as I've envisioned myself starting a lab and a life at Dartmouth, Dave was a big part of that. I'm terribly sad for his family, all of his current and former mentees and colleagues, and, selfishly, for myself, that I won't get to benefit from any more of his generous and devoted mentorship. To all who knew him, I'm deeply sorry for your loss, and I look forward to finding ways to honor his memory.
10-23-2019 by Sharon Furtak
I met Dave in 2001 when I was a first-year graduate student at the Society for Neuroscience. He was presenting his poster from his postdoc in the Burwell lab, and he generously spent about an hour talking with me about the perirhinal cortex at his poster. From that time on, I have regularly interacted with him throughout the years. I consistently looked forward to getting his perspective on my newest data and theories at conferences, and hearing about his. Over my career he regularly checked in and inspired me to fight the good fight. I regularly referred to him as "one of the good ones" in science. Not just because of his thoroughness as a scientist, but because he was a kind and generous person. Dave kept me in science when I had doubts about my path. In the last few years, as a tenure-track faculty at a teaching-focused university, Dave became a mentor to me. Taking an interest in helping my research program thrive and supporting my career. I have been honored to be one of the many he mentored. He will be greatly missed.
10-23-2019 by Eric Reavis
My fellow graduate students and I used to refer to the Bucci Lab half-jokingly as the land of baby lambs, green pastures, and rainbows. We likened Dave's lab to a bucolic paradise because Dave was such an extraordinary person and devoted mentor that we all secretly envied the few students fortunate enough to work with him. Luckily for the rest of us, Dave was extremely generous with his time, and he made himself available to anyone who asked. I went to Dave for guidance regularly, often when I did not know where else to turn. No matter how busy he was, he always made time to help. Indeed, each time I imposed on him in this way, his eyes would light up and he would respond with the cheerful, buoyant enthusiasm he was known for, as if I had somehow done him a favor by asking for a meeting.
Dave was the rare sort of person who renewed my faith in humanity through every interaction I had with him. His gentle, earnest sincerity was unmistakable. He was unfailingly kind, thoughtful, and trustworthy. He treated everyone around him with equal respect, goodwill, and genuine interest, regardless of their rank or position. He was humble, preferring to redirect praise for his accomplishments to his students or collaborators rather than accepting it for himself. He was selfless, and seemed to be at his most joyful when he was helping others. Above all, he was a man of strong principles who always did his utmost to do what was right.
When I think of what it means to be a genuinely good, upstanding person and an outstanding mentor, I picture Dave Bucci. In our own lives, I hope we will honor Dave's memory by emulating the many virtues he embodied. If each of us could be a little more like Dave, the world would be a better place.
10-23-2019 by Alex Klausing
Dave was one of the nicest and most helpful people I’ve ever met. He was instrumental in the success of my thesis work. Whenever I was struggling for an answer, he would always have a logical solution. He would often make time to talk with my PI (Robert Schwarcz) and me to help advance my project despite his very busy schedule like most professors. Reading through all the memories of Dave posted so far it sounds like this was a common thread of his. He would go out of his way to help others. He will be missed and I feel like my life has been greatly enhanced just knowing and interacting with him. Thank you, Dave, for all the wonderful things you have done for me and everyone else.
10-23-2019 by Julia Abraham
I first met Dave when I came to interview for the position of Department Administrator in PBS. His enthusiasm about the department and his excitement for how much he wanted to accomplish in his time as Department Chair was infectious. We were quickly bubbling over with ideas of how to accomplish his big plans. I knew this was someone I wanted the chance to work with. Soon after I started at Dartmouth, he invited my husband and me to dinner with his family where Ava and Lila gave us a grand tour of their house while Dave made pizzas. When we were house hunting, Dave was connecting me with realtors and contractors, whether or not I asked him to. When I was pregnant, Dave was regularly reminding me the importance of “good fat” for a baby’s brain development and trying to feed me dark chocolate. Even through his own struggles, he was constantly seeking out ways to help others, and trying to learn how he could do better. I loved overhearing his animated conversations with his students in his office and felt so valued when he’d ask to practice a presentation and get my feedback. I will forever remember a time recently when he introduced me not as his colleague or coworker, but as his friend. I only had the privilege of being Dave’s friend for the last four years, but what a four years it was. I will think of Dave often, whenever I use the word “indeed”, whenever I drink a warm cask ale, and whenever I need to channel some unbridled enthusiasm for supporting those around me.
10-23-2019 by Dylan Gee
Dave was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. His thoughtfulness and generosity came at a particularly formative time when I was an undergraduate and first exploring research in psychology and neuroscience. Even though he was never my formal advisor, Dave was incredibly generous with his time. He was always willing to talk science or provide guidance and seemed so genuinely excited to do so. I have no doubt that he was a huge reason why many of us decided to pursue careers in psych and neuro. Dave was such a supportive presence in my career ever since, and it always struck me how much he cared about everyone around him. Catching up at SfN or during visits to Hanover was always a treat. I will miss Dave and these conversations deeply and know he will be sorely missed by so many whose lives he touched.
10-23-2019 by Dave Kraemer
Dave was the kindest and most generous Yankees fan I’ve ever met. Ever since I’ve known Dave, he’s felt like an old friend. When I was a grad student, he would never miss a chance to celebrate my successes (“Kramah! I read your study and I’m citing it in my next paper.”) as well as those of all the other grad students. And I also remember how down to earth and comfortable he always seemed, whether tossing a baseball around outside Moore Hall, or talking about his plans for his next home-brewed beer. Then when I returned to Dartmouth as a faculty member, Dave was among the first to invite me back as a colleague and, again, as a friend. As always, he continued to look for ways to support me, as well as all the students and other faculty. I’m in awe at the number of lives he touched and I treasure the advice he’s given me over the years as one of my self-appointed faculty mentors (even before that became a formal label). Now as I continue to find that more and more of my friends from other walks of life also knew, admired, and cared about Dave, it’s clearer than ever that he was a pillar of support for so many communities and in so many capacities. And as is the case with the most interesting and important people that I’ve met in my life, this kind and pure-hearted adherent of baseball’s evil empire embodied several contradictions. Chief among them, it seems now, was his desire and ability to support all those around him even as he endured such tremendous pain himself. I know that my life is truly enriched for all that he gave selflessly. I wish I had more chances to tell him that. I owe him a debt that I can never repay, and it’s small comfort, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.
10-22-2019 by Michele Tine
I had the pleasure of knowing Dave in two contexts. (And I mean that sincerely; it was such an honest-to-goodness PLEASURE to know him.) I knew him as a faculty member at Dartmouth and as a father in Norwich. At Dartmouth, he was, without exaggeration, the most respected faculty member I knew. He was also the most humble. He was the first one to reach out to me to congratulate me on a publication or grant on more than one occasion. And it was never a formality; he was so sincere when celebrating successes. In truth, I was always a bit in awe of Dave because he was exceptional in every aspect of the job. He was an enormously talented teacher, a prolific researcher, a thoughtful leader, and the first to roll up his sleeves to do the menial work. To excel at all of those things in academia is rare. Dave was rare. I also knew Dave as a father in Norwich. Two weeks ago I chatted with him in the candy isle of Dan & Whit’s while he was picking out a treat with his girls. Years ago, I embarrassed him (and my own children) by cheering a bit too enthusiastically when I saw him and and his son run by my house during a town Labor Day running race. I’ve seen him laughing his way through multiple BINGO nights in the multi purpose room at the Marion Cross School. My respect for Dave at Dartmouth was enormously amplified by my respect for Dave in Norwich. And vice versa. Dave possessed an absolute, unbending, unimpeachable integrity and he carried it with him everywhere he went. He will be sorely missed in many contexts, by many people, including me.
10-22-2019 by Maital Neta
This is an unbearable loss. I have tried a few times to write some memory of Dave, but I can’t bring the right words to mind. I recently came across a letter of support I wrote for his tenure case (as a then grad student in the department) and it chronicles all the many ways he changed our lives. He did it right... he cared fiercely and he always wanted the best for his students, and for all of us that were fortunate enough to cross his path. He was a role model to so many people. But it’s like Thalia said… there were so many things that, to Dave, were probably little things… it was just the kind of person he was to be thoughtful and to look out for people and to care so deeply. But it meant the world to me… to all of us. I was so miserable for long periods of time in grad school and it was always really hard to talk about it with anyone. Except Dave. He was a constant source of strength and support. Even for years after my graduation, we kept in touch and he cheered me on and humored my scientific ideas and... he believed in me. And there are just no words to express my gratitude and my devastation. The world feels like a colder place now that he is gone…
10-22-2019 by Courtney Rogers
I joined PBS in 2007, and for nearly 13 years, my office has been just down the hall from Dave's. Nearly every morning, I'd walk out and see Dave, sauntering down the hallway, on his way to his lab or in search of coffee. If he was in a rush, I'd get a smile and a wave, but most of the time he'd yell "Rogers!", which never failed to make me laugh; the halls of Moore are quiet in the morning, and his voice would echo. I'm sure I will be missing that morning greeting for a very long time.
10-22-2019 by Brad Duchaine
Dave was the best we had in PBS.
He was fun, loose, smart, caring, positive, and warm. He was a natural leader who brought the best out of others through his support and generosity. At a college-wide faculty meeting shortly after he became chair, I pointed to the administrators in the front of the room and said you’re going to be sitting up there some day. He laughed and said he just wanted to do his science, but many of us thought chair would only be the first of many leadership roles. Several times in recent years I said that PBS was very fortunate that Dave was chair during our recent turmoil, because that job demanded someone with his empathy, energy, and strong sense of right and wrong.
I am going to miss him a lot.
10-22-2019 by Jackie Bruce
I was the Academic Assistant when Dave arrived at Dartmouth. It was evident immediately that he possessed a wonderful sense of humor as well as being a respected scientist. He never called me by my name, always referred to me as Brucey and always with a smile and a laugh. His laughter was infectious. Dave became a friend . He never failed to ask about my family, we discussed children, schools and life in general. My children were grown while he was just starting his family so many of our conversations centered around the different parenting styles as well as the changes in raising children in different times. Dave was a kind, generous, devoted man. And always a true gentleman. The world was a better place with him in it. My heart goes out to Katie, the children and family. He will be missed.
10-22-2019 by Andrew Richman
Dave was the most genuine person I know. He was disarmingly honest; about himself and about the world around him, but always with smile. He always made whoever he was with feel like he was completely happy to see them, and he was. When you spoke with him you always felt like you had his full attention, and you did. He just cared about the people around him and it showed, deeply. We did not see each other much now that I live in Boston but I always looked forward to the opportunities that we got and am agonizingly sad that future trips to Hanover will not give me another visit with Dave.
10-22-2019 by Katie Powers
There are a handful of people -- the very best teachers and mentors I have had over the years - who I think to for guidance when faced with big life decisions or difficult situations in the classroom or the lab. What would their approach be? How might they respond to this situation? I think of Dave and his wisdom and kindness in these moments so often. Dave was not my advisor in an official capacity, but like so many other PhD students who came through PBS in the last 15 years, he impacted my experience in graduate school and intellectual development so deeply. I remember seeing Dave a couple years ago up at Dartmouth - I was visiting for the day to practice a job talk with my former lab, and stopped by Dave's office to say hi. His door was open, as it most usually was, and his face brightened so much when he turned around from his computer and saw me standing in his doorway. Dave was on his way to a meeting, so we walked to the meeting together, stealing a few minutes to catch up. As we walked down the hallway on the second floor Dave asked me about this upcoming interview. "Are you excited about this job?" he asked. I said something like "I am, it seems like it could be really great." And he said, "Then give 'em hell." From this and so many other moments I will remember Dave for his deep and genuine concern for the happiness and well-being of others; for his unwavering support in both good and tough times; for his hearty greetings in the hallways of Moore ("Pow-ahs!" he'd always say when we ran into each other); for welcoming me to the dinner table with his family; and for his contagious excitement for doing and teaching science. You were the best of the best, Dave - we miss you so very much.
10-22-2019 by Travis Todd
Dave accepted me into his lab as a post-doc in Fall of 2013. I've learned so much from him in the past six years, but the most important lessons have been out of the lab...just about life. I really looked up to Dave; Meg can attest that I've described hoping to be like him, to have his qualities. He was just so generous, kind, and good. There have been times where work has been hard, or I have been stressed, and Meg would just say: "Go talk to Dave tomorrow, you will feel better". She was right, talking with Dave always made things ok. I'll miss him forever.
10-22-2019 by Steve Smith
Dave and I were assistant coaches on a youth baseball team, which included our sons, and we had a lot of fun doing it. I admired and shared his coaching philosophy, which was to encourage kids to work hard and be competitive but above all to be supportive and positive. Dave was good at that. I always enjoyed watching youth baseball with him, as he told stories. At one game Dave and I and other parents shared lobster rolls and beverages from the bleachers at Little Fenway in Maine. Dave also offered me important and welcome support as we collaborated to bring towns together to form a baseball league. Dave didn’t need to be that generous with his time and friendship, but he was.
10-21-2019 by Jef Lamoureux
I met Dave in grad school. Our PI's (Michela Gallagher & Peter Holland) were collaborating, so Dave serendipitously ended up at the desk next to me in the cozy Holland lab for much of the last 18 months our grad careers. Much of what I remember from that time were verbal battles about the Duke and UNC hoops teams. And, ok... there was some good science, too. We received our PhDs in the same year... a bumper year for the Holland-Gallagher clan. Geography intervened a bit as we then moved to different places, but we always managed to grab time at conferences whenever possible over the years since. I remember Dave as one of the most authentically kind and generous people I have ever known. Sitting in the lab at Duke, he had a brilliant ear with which to share experimental ideas, and a quick laugh when it was time to take a much-deserved break. At conferences we would chat vigorously about science, but more often the conversation would drift to family, and he would glow when talking about his kids. Dave's combination of obvious brilliance and profound humility always struck me, like when he would say that he could barely follow the hyper-precise experimental designs of "you 'real' learning theorists." I will, perhaps, remember most his thoughtful presence each and every time I spoke with him. Whether in the lab, in the middle of a ringing conference hall, or sitting on a grassy quad, when you talked to Dave, he so clearly listened and heard you. I cherish the time I was lucky to spend with Dave, and wish I had had more. My thoughts are with Katie and his family.
10-21-2019 by Travis Masterson
Dave interviewed me for my post-doc position here at Dartmouth. I was fortunate to get to know him a bit during my time here through our T-32 program. His death is a tragic loss to the Dartmouth community. During my interview with him, he really expressed interest in my work made connections back to his own and spent time to really understand why I was pursing the research I was. One time I was crossing the parking lot and Dave happened to look back and see me. I know he was headed back on to campus after a long day and even though he didn't know me all that well he took the time from his busy day to stop and let me catch up to him so that he could shake my hand and ask me how things were going.
10-21-2019 by Bob Leaton
I met Dave as my professional life was winding down. He joined our department the year after I formally retired. In that sense he was my faculty replacement, and he took over the laboratory space that had been mine. What a wonderful coincidence for me. He and I shared research interests, and his friendship and support became a very significant part of my years of retirement. He basically adopted me into his research group. He gave me access to his students and the many discussions that went on in the lab. He shared his data with me and even generously asked my opinion on occasion. He let me borrow his postdoc and encouraged me to actually get back into the lab physically. Outside the lab one batch of his home brew beer, the Conditional Brewing Co., featured my picture on the label. I don’t know how I came to deserve such a brilliant, yet humble, and generous friend. I simply cannot imagine the last fifteen years without my nearly daily dose of the spirit of Dave Bucci.
10-21-2019 by Rob Chavez
Graduate school is challenging for most people, but it can be particularly challenging moving to a small community in the middle of the woods with six-month-long winters. Dave was a cornerstone of support for so many of us, not only for our academic work but also for our health and wellbeing. After my first year of graduate school, I was feeling very depressed and discouraged and was strongly considering cutting my losses and leaving the program. After wrestling with it for a long time, I finally decided to get some help and the first person I went to was Dave. He sat down with me, talked me through my options, and really injected into my bloodstream the confidence I didn't have to do something about it. That same day, I made some hard decisions and took dramatic action to change my situation. In no uncertain terms, the conversation that I had with Dave directly led me to all of the good fortune and success I have had to this day. — Dave was never my advisor in graduate school. Indeed, we did not do work in what seemed like even remotely close areas. However, that never stoped him from taking an interest in me and my work, even inviting me to lead one of the first discussions in a new journal club he had started. Every time he would see me in the hall, he would smirk and give me a hearty, "Chavez! How's it going buddy?", and it always felt genuine and kind. With the same inflection, he said this same thing when I ran into him briefly last year when I was in town visiting. I remember thinking, despite everything that was going on at the time, how great it was that at least Dave was still Dave: a deeply kind and patient person who always seemed interested in putting others first. He is missed tremendously already.
10-21-2019 by Brian Russ
I'm going to miss Dave.
Dave joined Dartmouth not long after my graduate school class arrived, he quickly became an important mentor in my academic development. Eventually, Dave became a member of my dissertation committee, and even though he had ton of other things going on, clearly spent the time to read and evaluate the work I'd done. Since that time, his mentorship had grown into a friendship as well. Every SFN I would be sure to find Dave's lab's posters and make sure to catch up with him about where we were both at. It was one of my favorite moments at each meeting. He'd written numerous last minute letters of recommendation for me, and he is most certainly one of the reasons I've succeeded so far in academia. I'm going to miss Dave's enthusiasm for science, and his great advice, and I feel grateful for having the chance to be his friend and colleague.
10-21-2019 by Leslie Henderson
There is a scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, where Sheriff Bledsoe says, “I never met a soul more affable than you, Butch….”
Dave Bucci was our Butch; he was always affable, and he, more than anyone I have known at Dartmouth, always wanted to make sure that everyone else was doing OK; that everyone was at the table; that we really might one day be One Dartmouth.
Dave was smart, talented, and had a wistful laugh. We shared research interests in how sex and exercise influenced the brain and behavioral outputs, but my favorite thing about Dave was that he was a UNC basketball fan through-and-through. When March Madness rolled around, in recent years I would delight in sending him and my other UNC hardcore friends a now viral image of 4 well-known past Heels holding up a sharpie-lettered piece of cardboard asking, “Where’s Dook”, in a year when Coach K’s #1 squad had made an inglorious and early exit. That delighted Dave.
I hope Katie and his kids know that each and every time I talked with Dave this past year, how much he loved them, how much they mattered to him through everything that troubled him. I wish I could have done more for Dave. I will think of him each year at the end of March, and I will miss him every day throughout the year. Most of all, I am grateful for the chance to have known him.
10-20-2019 by Amy Chess
I was Dave's first graduate student. I first met Dave 17 years ago, in 2002, at the University of Vermont, eventually choosing to come with him to Dartmouth. Dave was a leader. He lifted others up; you could see his pride when his students were successful! He always expressed gratitude for his relationships with colleagues and their contributions / ideas. He was a human being who was gentle and kind, smart, who balanced accountability with providing the kind of environment where his students could take risks and test their independence. I am shaken to my core that we have lost him.
When I left academia, he was so kind.
He told me: "As you know, I'm happy no matter what my students end up doing, so please don't think I'm disappointed or anything with your plans. Just want you to be happy! That said, you've got a great research mind and putting it to good use, in whatever way you choose, can only make the world a better place. :)."
Dave was a caretaker by nature. He elevated others and took on so much responsibility to ensure that his friends and colleagues were in a good spot. This is why this news is so painful to so many.
It's inevitable to feel regret when something like this happens. Regret around things left unsaid. Regret around visits or meet-ups that didn't happen. I certainly feel my share of those regrets. But when I think about Dave, I know he wouldn't want to cause any of us pain or have us dwell on things that never came to be. That's not what he was about. He was a team builder, a leader, who would want to see us lifting each other up, supporting each other during difficult times. He would be so pleased to see this----after all, elevating and inspiring others was his life's work.
We love and miss you Dave, so very much.
10-20-2019 by yale cohen
Dave was a dear friend even though we didn't see each other much after I left Dartmouth. We got together regularly at the SfN meetings. More recently, we were texting and talking, and I was checking in with him over the past few months. We talked last week.....
I often think about what it means to live a "good life". Dave lived a good life. Dave was a great scientist, person, mentor, and friend. He loved Katie and his children. He lived life with a certain grace and joie de vivre. When I ponder what that means, I will just remember Dave.
10-20-2019 by Jesse Gomez
I was an undergrad at Dartmouth, and Dave taught the intro to Neuroscience course that inspired me to switch my major to neuro. I’m gonna start my own lab soon so it would not be an exaggeration to say Dave had a profound impact on my life. As one of the most gentle souls I’ve ever met, he was an inspiring teacher, a wonderful mentor to me and my friends, and my deepest sympathies go out to his family. Rest In Peace, Dave.
10-20-2019 by Ryan Hyon
As an undergrad at Dartmouth, I took the Intro to Neuro class taught by Dave six years ago. I enjoyed the course so much that I had majored in Neuroscience and volunteered to do research in various labs. Six years later I am now a PhD student. His charisma as an educator and his passion in teaching inspired me to pursue this career.
One funny memory that I'll never forget -- I was an RA in Kyle Smith's lab and was doing perfusions with another lab member, Beth. We slowly realized in horror that the perfusion table's drainage was clogged, and all the water (and the other fluids that it usually washes down the drain) began to overflow onto the floor. It was a frantic scene, and we were panicking with no idea what to do. I think we somehow contacted Dave, who came to the rescue and ran into the room with a plunger and went at the clogged drain like there was no tomorrow, while Beth and I were frozen in our tracks and stared in awe. He saved the day, and we all shared a laugh of relief. Rest in peace, Dave.
10-20-2019 by Will Haslett
I just got to know Dave this summer, spending time with him and trying to support him as someone with similar lived experience. We became fast friends, bonding over the experience of depression, but also over music and ideas. I have met few people who were so warm, considerate, and easy to be around. Dave was both accomplished and humble; a combination of traits that is rare, admirable, and should serve as a model for all of us who might be distracted by notions of our own personal success.
10-20-2019 by - Leah Somerville
Dave was a huge supporter while I was a PhD student at Dartmouth. He didn't advise me officially, but he always had time to answer questions and cheered me on at my dissertation defense. He showed the good that could come from nurturing students outside of one’s own inner circle. After I left Dartmouth, our scientific interests converged. We had a great time spinning ideas on parallel rodent-human development projects together, and I had a blast talking with him and Heidi Meyer (his graduate student) about data that were eventually published in Current Biology. I wrote a dispatch for it and when Dave found out, he was so grateful, only because it drew more attention to Heidi’s work. Dave’s pride in his trainees was pure and infectious, and he never missed an opportunity to shift credit toward them. Over the years Dave and I wrote a couple of (unfunded) grants and visited each others’ labs for marathon lab meetings. Once we talked for so long, Heidi and Dave had to sprint to catch the Dartmouth Coach back to Hanover at the end of the day... oops! I so enjoyed doing science with Dave. He was generative, knowledgeable, and got so excited bouncing ideas around. My lab buzzed for days after our meeting. Dave was always patient in his willingness to take time out to teach my (human psych/neuroscience) lab about circuit anatomy, chemogenetic methods, and the ins and outs of studying development in rodent models, etc. My lab was so enriched from those interactions.
Finally, Dave took on so many extra jobs in the fallout of the three faculty members leaving the department. As one tiny example, he stepped in and wrote many recommendation letters for the trainees of those faculty who were applying for grad school, med school, and other positions. These trainees, stressed out and unsure who to turn to, were met by kind and patient Dave who took on their needs without fanfare. I will always remember Dave as a great scientist and a generous and kind human being.