A memorial service for sophomore Michele Micheletti, who was killed October 31 when she was struck by two cars while crossing Memorial Drive, will be held on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 1:30pm in Wong Auditorium (corner of Amherst and Wadsworth Streets). Her parents, Elmer and Shirley Micheletti, will attend the service.
A group of Ms. Micheletti's friends have written an open letter thanking members of the MIT administration for their support following her death. The text of the letter follows.
To Whom It May Concern:
On Friday, October 31, 1997, the loss of Michele Micheletti struck the MIT community. It especially struck all those who in one way or another knew Michele and were touched by the love she spread to all around her. This love, which saw no color, no race, no differences, was a never-ending fountain of happiness, inspiration, and joy, which we were blessed to have known.
Losing her was very painful and difficult for many of us to handle. However, the MIT administration was a powerful and effective force which provided strength, leadership, and guidance for all of us. We wish to thank Dean Osgood, Dean Henderson, Dean Bates, Dean Randolph, Professor John Essigmann, Ellen Essigmann, Paul Parravano, Charles Vest, the counseling department, the chaplain's office, and the Medical Department and MedLINKS. They all worked together to provide a solid foundation for those of us affected by the passing of Michele.
It was on October 31 that Michele passed away, November 1 when the news spread, and November 4 that a group composed of 26 students, two faculty members and a floor tutor were on a plane heading to San Francisco in order to attend Michele's funeral.
If there is one great gift which can be bestowed upon any person, it is the gift of bidding farewell to those we love. Upon our arrival in San Francisco, we attended Michele's wake. We then attended a rosary service for Michele at St. Dunstan's Parish, where Michele had spent her elementary school years.
The next day, we accompanied Michele's friends and family to the funeral and burial services. Every moment, we felt like we were part of her family, sharing our thoughts, grievances, prayers, stories and laughter with family members and friends. Michele's mother said that one of Michele's goals had been accomplished with our presence: Michele had managed to bring the East Coast to the West Coast.
Our visit was incredibly meaningful to all of us. When you love somebody and that person leaves you, the pain of their absence is like an open wound. But the process of healing this wound began when we arrived in California. Michele's family was not only happy to see us, but they were filled with joy to see how many lives Michele had touched in such a short time.
One of Michele's favorite phrases was Mi Amore, because that was exactly what she felt and expressed to all around her. She was the pride and joy of those who knew her, an exceptional person filled with qualities which many of us can only dream of. As Oscar Wilde once said, "To live is very rare. Most people exist, that is all." Michele not only existed, she lived and she helped us to live. She taught us the lessons of love without barriers and giving unselfishly of oneself.
The opportunity to travel to California granted to us more than we can fully express in words. We were able to communicate our feelings and love to Michele's family and to begin to lift the veil of sadness which had covered us. We saw the tremendous accomplishments which Michele had achieved before she arrived at MIT. We realized that Michele had lived a fuller life in 19 years than some people can live in a hundred.
We wish to express sincere gratitude to Dean Randolph and everyone who worked with him to make this trip possible. The generosity and caring he showed us are far above and beyond what was expected. This trip has touched all of our lives, and we truly thank Dean Randolph for enabling us to have had this experience.
Ricci Rivera, Rosie Alegado, Damon Lewis, Shelby Savage, William Melendez, Sam Wong, Baruch Feldman, Jackie Baskin, David Dunmeyer, Ana Karina Claudio, Jennifer Grewen, Charles Morton, Anjli Chokriwala, Susan Rosenthal, Alberto Cividanes, Shawn Atlow, Xilonin Cruz, Allison Waingold, Danielle Hinton, Jomaquai Jenkins, Kareem Benjamin, Marcus Baynes, Debbie Cheng, Helen Hsu, Anna Orenstein and Aleksandra Markina.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 19, 1997.