A senior at Fredonia State College died unexpectedly Saturday morning.
Thomas Dean, 21, of Newfane, was completing an English major with a minor in creative writing when he died while playing video games in his dormitory room with a friend, the college announced.
The college said the cause of death is not yet known, but there is no suspicion of foul play. Dean’s family requested an autopsy to determine how he died.
Michael Barone, a college spokesman, said the autopsy will be performed by the Erie County’s Medical Examiner’s Office.
Barone said Dean’s friend called 911 at around 3 a.m. Saturday, but when police and other responders arrived they found no pulse on the student. Barone said Dean had no health issues that were known to college officials.
Fredonia State has about 5,400 students, so it’s not unheard of for students to die during their academic careers there. Typically, one to three Fredonia students die each year, but Dean’s death stands out because it did not result from an obvious accident, and he was not at home during a recess, Barone said. It is rare for a student to die on campus, he said.
The college issued a statement saying that Dean, commonly known as Thom, served as a student ambassador with the International Education Office and was a member of the Korean International Student Society. He was also vice president of the Writer’s Ring student group and a regular contributor to “The Fredonia Follower,” a student-created, online satirical news blog.
The campus counseling center has reached out to residents of University Commons, where Dean lived, and counseling services will be available throughout the coming days, the college said.
College officials extended their sympathies to “the family and friends of Mr. Dean, and to all of his fellow students, faculty and staff who are filled with grief and shock.”