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Message Sent to The Johns Hopkins Community by
University President William R. Brody
Regarding the Death of Christopher Elser

April 18, 2004

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

The Johns Hopkins community has suffered a terrible loss. Christopher Elser, a junior in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, died this evening.

Chris succumbed to the wounds he suffered early Saturday when he was stabbed by an intruder in the St. Paul Street house occupied by members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

I have conveyed to Chris's parents and family our sorrow at their loss and the deepest sympathy of the entire Johns Hopkins community. I know that you join me in extending the same sentiments to Chris's many friends on campus.

We will have an opportunity to stand together with Chris's family and friends, support them and share their grief. I invite you to a memorial service to be held outdoors at the Homewood campus on Tuesday morning shortly after10 a.m.

Nothing we say then, and nothing I can say now, will make it easy to accept and understand this tragedy. It is, by its very nature, unacceptable. It is beyond understanding. I cannot comprehend — nor, I am sure, can you — what would lead one human being to take the life of another.

To the extent possible, then, let us focus on what we can understand: That Chris's life, though cut tragically short, was a blessing to his family, to his friends and to all of us at Johns Hopkins.

That all of us — whether we knew him well, only in passing, or not at all — are the better for having had this kind, generous and likeable young man as a part of our community.

That we will miss him, we will remember him and we will endeavor to live well and do good in his honor.

The exact location of Tuesday's memorial service will be announced on the university's home page at www.jhu.edu. Classes at the Homewood campus will be canceled that day from 10 a.m. until noon.

Bill Brody

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