President Skorton's message of condolence

Dear friends,

On Friday we learned of the tragic loss of one of our community, George Desdunes, a sophomore in the college of Human Ecology, who died early that morning. On behalf of the entire Cornell community, I join Dean Alan Mathios and Kent Hubbell, dean of students, in expressing heartfelt condolences to George's mother and family, and to voice the sense of deep loss we all share. George will always be remembered as the vibrant young man he was. Because the loss of one of our students affects us all, I ask you to please join me in keeping George's mother, family and friends foremost in your thoughts in the days ahead. May we all pause a moment from our daily pressures to give thanks for George, and the vitality he brought to our community.

I understand there will be speculation about the causes of this terrible tragedy. A comprehensive investigation regarding all the circumstances surrounding this loss of life is underway under the direction of the Ithaca Police Department, with the support of the New York State Police and Cornell Police. Once it is complete and we have all the available facts, we will inform the community and share decisions regarding the appropriate course of action.

Cornell is a caring community where the struggles of one of us is a concern for all of us. I want you to know that it is normal to feel sad or anxious at times of tragedy. You are not alone in these feelings. Your friends, your family, your teachers, your colleagues, and an array of counselors and advisors are ready to listen and help you.

Plans to commemorate George's life will be announced once they are made in consultation with George's family.


David J. Skorton
President, Cornell University


Support services are available to all members of the Cornell community. Students may consult with counselors from Gannett Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) by calling 607-255-5155. Students may also speak with a peer counselor by calling EARS at255-3277. Employees may call the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) at 800-327-2255 (select option 1 for EAP). An Ithaca-based CrisisLine is available at 272-1616. For additional resources, visit the Caring Community site.

Memorial Service

A memorial service for the Cornell community to celebrate George's life will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 in Sage Chapel.

Funeral arrangements

Funeral arrangements for George Desdunes have been made. Viewing hours will be Thursday, March 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Piro Funeral Home, 251 DeKalb Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205. A Mass will be Friday, March 4, at 10:30 a.m. at Queen of All Saints Roman Catholic Church, 300 Vanderbilt Avenue at Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn.