POST LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, Jan. 13 8:05 p.m.
Elon University junior Trent Stetler, an economics major and active member of the club rugby team, has died due to a suspected suicide, according to Smith Jackson, vice president for student life.
In a recent interview, Jackson said he first received word of the incident Sunday morning, but did not confirm the cause or time of Stetler's death. Sunday afternoon, Jackson sent out an email informing students, faculty and staff of the loss.
"The death of any student is devastating to our community, especially in situations like this, and we want to reach out to friends and acquaintances who knew Trent," Jackson said. "The loss of a classmate, friend and student reminds just how precious the life of each person in our community is."
Since the incident allegedly occurred off-campus, the Burlington Police Department is heading up the investigation. According to the department, the police report had been written as of Monday morning, but is not expected to be made available until Wednesday. As such, further information about the investigation has not been disclosed at this time.
In order to provide members of the Elon community with a space to grieve and share memories of Stetler, Jackson announced a "Gathering of Friends" at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Lakeside conference room.
As several people packed into the room, it became clear that Stetler's death had come as a shock.
Elon Associate Professor of Communications Michael Skube, who had Stetler in his classroom for one of his media writing courses, remembers Stetler as an unusually positive and optimistic individual.
"He never complained, always had a smile and gave no hint that something in his world was not right," Skube said. "I could not have been more surprised [to hear that he had died]."
Friends wishing to visit the Stetler family in-person may do so Friday, Jan. 16 from 5-7 p.m. at the Chadwick McKinney Funeral Home at 30 East Athens Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003. A funeral service will take place the following morning at 11 a.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church at 415 East Athens Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003. A reception will follow after the service.
Students, faculty, or staff looking for transportation and housing should contact Jan Register at email@example.com in the Truitt Center before Thursday, Jan. 15 at noon. Because vans will depart from the Oaks parking lot Friday at 8:30 a.m., students are encouraged to contact their professors before finalizing plans to attend.
In the wake of Stetler's death, his parents Jim and Denette told Jackson they are grateful for support from the Elon community. Those who wish to send letters, cards, pictures and other remembrances of him are invited to mail the Stetler family at 534 Kenmore Road, Havertown, PA 19083 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Elon, Trent Stetler served as an intern in the Athletics department working with the Phoenix Club and played club rugby. Outside of athletics, he was involved with Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity.
"Those who knew Trent may benefit from speaking with a staff member or counselor," Jackson said. "Elon’s counseling staff and the chaplain’s staff are available as we begin the grieving process."
Those in mourning have been encouraged to contact Counseling Services at 278-7280 or the Truitt Center at 278-7729.