Colgate community members, reeling from news of the tragic death of Peter (Luke) Stalker ’14, have been discussing ways to provide support to the junior’s family and to each other.
University representatives, including President Jeffrey Herbst, have reached out to the Stalker family to offer condolences and assistance. Several events are planned to celebrate the Colgate student’s life and the many contributions he made to his family, friends, classmates, and fraternity.
Stalker, 21, died March 10 as the result of a fall at a Paris hotel where he had been staying with the university’s Geneva Study Group. According to Stalker’s family, they were informed Thursday by French authorities that his death has been ruled accidental. Specifically, the authorities concluded that Stalker, who was resting alone in his room, went out on the window terrace outside his hotel room for a cigarette, fainted, and fell to the sidewalk below.
Stalker had attended the Journeys School of Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyo., and was an international relations and peace and conflict studies double major while at Colgate. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta and several other student groups.
Reaction from around campus reflected the deep sense of loss felt by those who knew Stalker.
“Luke was a passionate young scholar and his contributions and presence will be sorely missed,” said Stefanie Fishel, a postdoctoral fellow in peace and conflict studies who advised and taught Stalker. “For my classes, he wrote and studied about terrorism and insurgent movements in Chechnya. His thoughts showed an intellectual and practical interest in getting out into the world and making a difference in whatever capacity he could.”
“It was Luke’s honesty and unique character that set him apart,” said fraternity brother William Hazard ‘13. “Some of the things we admired most in him were his adventurous spirit and his love of travel and music.”
Stalker is survived by his parents, Peter and Anne, of Jackson, and three sisters: Laura Everard, Emily Hardwick, and Helen Stalker.
Here are the events planned to commemorate his life:
— The Stalker family has organized a memorial service that will be held 11 a.m. (EDT) Saturday, March 16, in Jackson. They will offer a live webcast of the service and invite members of the Colgate community to take part online. You can view the webcast here.
Stalker’s parents are looking for photographs and video clips that their son’s many friends might want to share at the memorial. They should be sent to Jack Shea, a close friend of the family, at email@example.com. Scott Brown, associate vice president and dean of students at Colgate, will attend the service in Wyoming.
— On campus, a memorial service will be held 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 25, in the Chapel. That service also will be webcast live so that Stalker’s fellow students on the Geneva Study Group and others can participate virtually.
“We feel it is important that Luke’s study group colleagues with whom he had spent so much time with recently, and the many others whose lives were touched by him, be able to watch the campus service,” said Vice President and Dean of the College Suzy Nelson.
The live webcast will be available on livestream.com/cunow
— Phi Delta Theta is planning a memorial at the fraternity house; details will be announced soon.
— As students return from spring break and resume classes, they will have an opportunity to gather informally at 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 18, in Memorial Chapel. A chaplain and counselor will be on hand for those who wish to reach out, talk, and offer comfort.
The guide is among the many resources available to students and faculty during this difficult time, according to Nelson.
The Counseling Center (315-228-7385) remains open and available to students, and counseling also is available to faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program (315-451-3886.)