Dark Scene On a Bright Day
Posted by Oliver Renick on March 12, 2010
In the morning of one of the sunniest days Cornell has seen in months, a dark tragedy overshadowed the potential of a beautiful day. For the second time in less than thirty days, a deceased Cornell student was found below the Thurston Avenue bridge in Fall Creek gorge. The body of William Sinclair ’12, a mechanical engineering student, was retrieved from the area around 11:55 AM on March 11th by a team of four rescue workers.
“Will was an intelligent and very kind guy,” said one Cornell student who chose to remain anonymous. “He showed up late a few times to prelims, and at times seemed rushed, but was undoubtedly a very welcoming and thoughtful person.”
Upwards of ten police cars and ambulances closed off the bridge to the public, and Only less than a single month ago, Cornell freshman Bradley Ginsburg ’13 presumably committed suicide in the very same area near North Campus. Cornell vice president for communications confirmed the death around 3 PM, and around 7:30, president Skorton released a statement calling upon students to “join me in keeping [Sinclair's family] foremost in your thoughts in the days ahead as we mourn this tragic loss of life. For understandable reasons, and out of deference to the family, you will understand that we will not be able to comment on the circumstances of this tragedy until the investigation has been completed by the Ithaca Police Department.”
But Cornellians this year don’t need to read past the first paragraph. As one student at the scene this afternoon succinctly put it, “didn’t this just happen?” Sinclair brings the fatality count up to 11 – 11 emails about knowing, helping, and remembering. With all male victims, this year has been wrought with sadness. “I do want to acknowledge the toll we all may be experiencing from repeated losses already this year,” Skorton added in his email address to the Cornell community.
Physics professor Robert E. Thorne reflected upon the loss to his students this evening by sending an email delaying the week’s assignment and allowing students time to come to terms with the loss. “I knew William as a curious, warm and gentle person of great promise. This is a terrible loss.” Thorne went on to tell the Review via email that “unfortunately, [that] does little justice to the person he was.” Sinclair, who lived in Maryland, took several courses in engineering outside of his major that interested him – namely computer science and physics.
The hearts of The Cornell Review staff go out to William’s family and friends.