Originally from Argentina, Santi Morgan joined Andover this year as an Instructor in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics. He loves the wilderness and helped lead Outdoor Pursuits last term. In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing and riding horses.
I decided to join this community after I came to visit the campus in April when the Tang Institute invited me along with other grad students. At first, I was just amazed by the campus, I couldn’t believe that a place like this existed. But what really made me want to work here was the conversations I had with the Senior students in the Tang Institute. Their intellectual levels, their social abilities, were just amazing, I couldn’t believe how mature they were. I remember two of the students gave us a tour around campus and for half, or the first 40 minutes, I thought they were faculty, I didn’t know they were students. I just wanted the experience to work in a place where students are really engaged with their learning and to be in a place where students chose to be. They work hard to be here, I’m used to working in schools where students just go because it’s mandatory. Their parents send them and that’s it. They don’t push themselves and they don’t put that much effort into work compared to what I see here.
It’s been great so far, I’m so surprised. I didn’t know that before coming here to teach, but that is another reason I would choose this campus once again. It’s an amazing community, how kind and how thoughtful everyone is. I remember the first week this year I didn’t even know the names of many of my colleagues, but all of my colleagues knew my children’s names. When we came across them in Paresky [Commons], for example, they say, “Oh, hi Francisco,” and I was like “wow,” those small gestures really bring the community together and they really make us feel that we are at home. One of my colleagues found out that my wife Rosario loves sewing… and yesterday she invited Rosario to her house and gave her a lot of fabrics for free that were from her mother. So it’s just tiny gestures that happen all the time that really make us feel at home. It’s a great place to raise a family.
Where to start? We had so many good trips, but I think the best memory I have was during an overnight trip we made to the White Mountains. We did a part of the hike during the night and the stars and the moon out there in the White Mountain were just fantastic. Hiking with this amazing group of students, and my colleagues Tony and Ingrid [Kupka, Instructor in Mathematics, Statics, and Computer Science], who are great, and just staring at the stars and listening at how philosophical or spiritual the students turned out to be — they started sharing super deep reflections. It was a great memory.
I love those blue jeans because they were really cheap and I found them in a store nearby the school, and I like them because they combine with everything. I don’t have to think much, I just put them on. I’m not into fashion that much, as everyone must have noticed, so I love them because I can use them for work, for hiking, for everything.
I have a couple. There’s one called “Coach Carter” with Samuel Jackson, I love that movie and I take a lot a lot of my teaching inspiration from that character, Coach Carter. Also one called Unbreakable [directed by] M. Night Shyamalan with Bruce Willis, a 2000 movie. It’s not on TikTok so I don’t think you have heard about it. But I love it, it’s kind of like the first superhero movie that there was in the millennium, but it’s about the journey of a hero to adopt his true identity. It’s awesome. I just love that movie.
WD-40 has changed my life forever since I noticed how a powerful tool it is. I’ve traveled through many countries and [in] every country I visit, I come across this tool, and I just love the story behind it, how failure leads to success. It’s funny how I use WD-40 as a metaphor for a learning philosophy in many different countries with many different students and it’s very easy for all of them to get the message after hearing the story.
There are so many great countries I have visited, our planet is fantastic. But if I have to choose one, maybe I would choose Brazil because it has many similarities to Argentina, which is my country that I love, but at the same time, Brazil has its own identity and spirit. Walking through the Beach of Copacabana is just an experience every human being should have at least once in their life.
I think that if you ask me this in different moments of my life the answer will be different but right now I think maybe a condor. A condor is a huge eagle, a huge bird from the Andes Mountains back in South America. It’s a really majestic bird that can fly really really high but the trick is in order for him to take off and start flying he needs the help of the wind. So that’s another thing I like. [Just like] WD-40 explains part of my education philosophy [so do] the condors, because condors remind me of students. If you provide them with the right wind, they can take off, they can unleash their majesty, and fly really high and really free.
My dad certainly is. He raised a big family with many children and he provided us with lots of love. Again this is a question you may ask in different moments of my life [where the answer will be different]. There’s a former politician in Argentina that I admire a lot, too. He was president until three years ago. [Before that] he was a really wealthy successful man who could have retired and lived a peaceful life with his family, but instead, he chose to get into the swamp of politics. He almost got his life ruined for it but because he cares about the people in the country he did it for free, he didn’t have a salary and I really admire the people that put their own well-being at risk in order to help others. His name was Mauricio Macri.
The World Cup? Mixed feelings and I know we’re [Argentina] going to win the World Cup, so in that sense it was good, but at the same time I know it’s been done in a place that implied a lot of suffering to a lot of people, a lot of families who lost their loved ones during the constructions of the stadiums and so that makes me really really sad. I couldn’t enjoy a match 100 percent because every time they filmed the stadiums I could not help myself and think about the families that lost like a father or husband building those places for the rest of the world to enjoy. And it was not a sacrifice like D-Day in World War II, that is a worthwhile sacrifice because we are fighting for freedom, this was just a lot of death and suffering that could have been avoided if the World Cup had been taking place in another place.