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Luis Sanabria 1963-2007

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I first met Luis Sanabria seven years ago, while interviewing for the position I currently hold. I recall how quiet and shy he seemed to me. I had no idea at the time how much we would eventually interact with one another and the range of projects, as well as successes and failures, we would share in time to come. It was sometime in September 1999. Y2K was still thought of as a real threat to computing and 9/11 was still two years away.

Luis Sanabria at The Juilliard School in 2004.

(Photo by Tunde Giwa)

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Luis Sanabria first joined the Human Resources Department of The Juilliard School in late 1989 and joined the I.T. Department in January of 1999. He left in December 2006 to join the staff of Manhattanville College. While we were very sorry to see him leave, we were happy that he got the chance for significant personal growth at his new position. The news of his sudden and untimely death on September 15 at 44 came as a real shock.

We remember Luis as an engaged and hard-working colleague. He was also a kind and generous human being who was always sensitive and occasionally quite sentimental. He maintained active friendships with a diverse group of Juilliard staff members. Given the attendance at his funeral service in Norwalk, Conn. on September 17, it was clear he was like that not just at Juilliard, but everywhere he went. He was a good friend to many. Luis was always very connected to his family—his parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews. He often spoke of them. Over the course of his tenure at Juilliard, we had an opportunity to meet some of them. I recall one particular episode with a hurricane approaching Florida, where his parents still live—how devastated Luis was by the prospect of his parents being adversely affected by the hurricane. In the end, the hurricane passed without incident. As a dutiful son, Luis once took a leave of absence to go help his family after his father became ill.

I fondly remember our occasional lunchtime ritual. Luis was very particular about his food and he had a healthy appetite. A frequent question was where to order lunch from (or even dinner, if we were staying late). Mama’s, Ollie’s, or Penang? Perhaps pizza from Francesco’s? He was also always keen to share traditional music from his native Colombia with me. He opened my ears to this new musical vista.

Luis was extremely fastidious about his work. In the moment, this was not always fully appreciated. Since Luis’s departure from Juilliard, we have come to rely quite heavily on his meticulous notes. These notes constitute a significant proportion of Juilliard’s Colleague institutional memory and we will be using them for years to come. Luis remained on very friendly terms with I.T. staff, continuing to serve as both a Colleague resource as well as good friend.

Luis is survived by his parents, Edgar and Ligia Sanabria, and two sisters and a brother. He will be very much missed by those of us who worked with and knew him.

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