Lang Senior Falls to His Death
For the second consecutive year, the New School community has lost a student on the eve of the fall semester. Chris McCormack, 21, of Latham, New York, died on August 23. He was to begin his senior year at Lang as a social inquiry major.
Although an email was originally sent out to Lang students and faculty stating that McCormack died in a car accident, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Jon White told the Free Press that the circumstances of McCormack’s passing remain unclear. White added that McCormack’s family requested that their privacy be respected.
“We received notice that Chris did not die in a car accident, but rather fell and died instantaneously,” White told the Free Press. On September 1, Lang Dean Stephanie Browner confirmed in an email update that McCormack had suffered a “fatal fall.”
McCormack’s death came almost a year after incoming Parsons freshman Nicole John fell 22 stories to her death at a Midtown luxury apartment building on August 27, 2010.
“The death of a young person is one of the greatest losses we can experience because it is the loss of a future that holds promise,” Browner told the Free Press. “Chris was undoubtedly someone who was going to dedicate his life and his future to others.”
McCormack’s interests included writing, international affairs and music, according to an obituary published in the Albany Times Union. He spent roughly three weeks studying abroad in Cambodia over last winter break, and while there taught English and worked in an orphanage. “This [experience] changed his view of the world and embedded in him a strong will to help others,” according to the obituary.
“Chris was a great person who truly cared about those around him and was always ready to have fun,” said Parsons junior Charles Ceasar, who spent his freshman year alongside McCormack at the 20th Street dorm. “He brought people together and won’t be forgotten by his friends from college.”
Because McCormack was so influenced by his stay in Cambodia, his family has asked that in lieu of flowers, a donation to The Christopher McCormack Children’s Fund be made, which will go to the Cambodian orphanage where he worked. Donations can be made to Ulster Savings Bank, 180 Schwerk Drive, Kingston, New York, 12401.
In addition, White said he is looking for suggestions from students for memorial service ideas.
“Although words often feel inadequate in these moments, grief and loss always need expression,” White told the Free Press via email. “As Shakespeare entreated in ‘MacBeth,’ ‘Give sorrow words.’ Everyone experiences these moments in his or her own unique way, but from my experience at Lang, the community here is wonderful about supporting each other, listening to each other, and being patient with each other.”