Mara Shingleton ’14

Published June 6, 2017

I’m so blessed to have been able to study the topic of Metamorphoses with Dr. Wiesel. Reading Kafka, Camus and even his own works will always be among my favorite memories. In speaking with Dr. Wiesel personally, he was kind to ask me about myself and what was on my mind. I told him that my 19-year-old cousin Nick had been battling a rare cancer (which doesn’t run in my family) and that I was having a rough Winter Term. He asked me about Nick, but not in a way that most people do: as a way to be nice because they know no other way of talking about such a sad subject. He asked me what Nick likes, and I told him all about how Nick was an avid reader, was so smart and had such an appetite for learning. He finally asked me where Nick was, and I replied Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. He then told me that he knew someone who worked in the pediatric cancer unit there, and he would call to check in with them to see how Nick was doing.

That a stranger, a Nobel Prize winner and a persecuted victim of genocide would make me feel so supported speaks volumes about who Dr. Wiesel was.

At the end of our class, when we were able to have our books signed, he signed a copy to Nick, Nick’s father and two of my other relatives. Dr. Wiesel asked me why I didn’t want one signed for myself, and I told him, “I will never forget you.”

He replied, “And I, you.”

It was such a warm exchange of humanity, so simple and humbling, that it has inspired me to think deeply and feel earnestly about the relationships I have in my life.

I will always appreciate the opportunity I had to meet him and learn from him.

—Mara Shingleton ’14