“There was no hint to any of us, I don’t believe, that he might be in poor physical condition,” Conway said.
Junior Taylor Bates is enrolled in one of Pires’ classes this semester.
“I’m an econ major and I sincerely mean that he is definitely the best econ professor that I’ve had here at UNC,” Bates said.
Bates said Pires really cared about teaching his students and never made anyone feel bad about not knowing something.
“The thing with Tiago is that there was never such a thing as a stupid question to him in class,” Bates said. “I mean, people legitimately always felt comfortable asking him when they were confused about anything.”
Graduate Ryan Passer said he had a great relationship with Pires when he took his class as a junior in 2014.
“I think that class in particular was the first time I realized economics could improve world welfare,” Passer said.
Spence was mentored by Pires during the final stages of his dissertation process.
“When he was talking, that was it,” Spence said. “Like there was nothing else going on in the world.”
Spence said Pires made life more enjoyable and having him as a presence in the department made everyone happier.
“I’m so sad, selfishly, for myself and the people that did know him that now we’ve been robbed of this joy,” Spence said.
Conway said Pires began at UNC in July 2013 and had just been reappointed to his position.
“You get reappointed when you’ve done your job right and he certainly had,” Conway said.
Conway said his office was right across from Pires’.
“He seemed to spend nearly the entire day conversing with, consulting with, advising our graduate and undergraduate students on the subject matter of his course or the subject matter of their own research in the graduate program,” Conway said.
Spence said that when people pass away, we tend to magnify the good things they’ve done and sweep under the bad, but Pires had no bad to him.
“Tiago himself lived life as good as you can possibly do it, so I’m not upset for him,” Spence said.
“He won and God bless him. It’s just now all of us have to suffer.”