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January 19, 2011

Undergraduate remembered as ‘remarkable young man'

view of chapel with lines of students waiting to pay respects
Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. ’12 was remembered during a standing-room-only gathering at the Interfaith Chapel on Saturday evening.

Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr., a junior who was killed on campus early Saturday, is being remembered as an active and well-known member of the University community whose plan to study in Shanghai, China, next month reflected his own “desire to work and willingness to learn from different experiences.”

Bordeaux died at Strong Memorial Hospital early Saturday morning from wounds he suffered during a fight at the Delta Upsilon fraternity house. Student Daren Venable, a junior from Brooklyn, has been charged in Bordeaux’s death.

“Our profound grief goes out to Jeffrey’s family, especially his mother, Delores Forest, and his father, Jeffrey Bordeaux, and his many friends,” President Joel Seligman said in a statement this weekend. “Jeffrey was a remarkable young man, an active member of the campus community, and known and liked by many on campus. His loss leaves a sense of terrible emptiness for all of us.”

“Let me also extend my sympathy to Daren Venable and his family and friends. This is also a tragedy for all of them.”

Seligman was one of more than 500 people who filled the Interfaith Chapel for a gathering on Saturday evening to remember Bordeaux. During the ceremony, Seligman and Lisa Norwood, assistant dean at the Hajim School, talked about the importance of sharing the burdens of adversity and sadness when people feel overwhelmed.

“Reach across to each other and hold each other’s hands. Share your pain, share your grief,” Norwood said.

The overflow audience of students, faculty, and staff were brought to tears—and a few times to laughter—by Bordeaux’s father, Jeffrey Sr., and his sister, Deremi, who shared stories about Bordeaux.

“I want to thank people for coming out,” said the elder Bordeaux. “He will not die in vain. Some way, his name will go forward.”

On Monday, Seligman said the University plans to review the incident. He praised the work of University Security Services, the Rochester Police Department, and University student life advisors and administrators for their timely response to the incident, including notifying the campus community. He noted that the incident appears to be an isolated one that represents no other threat to campus security and safety.

A political science major from Rochester, Bordeaux was a winner of two scholarships from the Gilman Foundation and the study abroad organization IES, both to support his studies in Shanghai. He was a member of the varsity track and field team and worked 20 hours a week to support his education.

Norwood, whose son Stephen Christopher was Bordeaux’s freshman roommate, remembered Bordeaux “as always at my house, eating like a pig, watching TV, always with a smile, a hug, a sense of respect, a sense of appreciation.”

In an essay about his studies, Bordeaux attributed his success to “a strong mother, a desire to work, and willingness to learn from different experiences.”

In a note to undergraduates in the College, Students’ Association President Scott Strenger ’12, Dean of the College Richard Feldman, and Dean of Students Matt Burns urged the community to find strength in the aftermath of Bordeaux’s death.

“A terrible tragedy occurred in the College early Saturday morning,” they wrote. “As a result of an act of violence, one of our students lost his life and another student’s life has been unalterably harmed. Such actions are not a reflection of what the College is, but it does test what it can be. What we do now—how we choose to react—will define us. So let us find our strength in our unity, in our ability to understand, in our capacity to improve by reflecting on and analyzing every challenge that we encounter, including, and perhaps especially, a challenge as painful as this one. These are days that bestow meaning upon our motto.”

Jeffrey Bordeaux’s mother, Delores Forest, asks that those with memories, thoughts, and photos of her son e-mail them to Jbbj20@gmail.com.

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