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Bates Tragedy Affects Entire NESCAC Community

John Durkin, a 21 year old Bates College student was found dead in Rome on February 22nd. Durkin was last seen early Thursday morning, February 20th, after he was with a group of friends at a bar called Sloppy Sam’s which is popular among college students. Authorities are still unsure of the exact circumstances of Durkin’s death, however it was reported that he was found dead inside of a train tunnel after being struck by a train.

John Durkin was traveling in Rome through a study abroad program sponsored by Trinity College. Every year around 55 students are part of this study abroad program. Durkin was traveling with five other Bates College students. 

This tragedy was felt throughout the NESCAC community and many fellow students, alumni, and members of the study abroad program expressed their sympathies to Bates and to the Durkin family. John Durkin was an active Bates student who was an economics major and Asian studies minor. He was a linebacker on the football team where he will be truly missed. Bates football coach Mark Harriman said, “We will remember the fortitude and character that John displayed on a daily basis and attempt to emulate those standards.” Fellow athletes expressed their true care for John when there was a moment of silence before the NESCAC basketball playoff games at Bowdoin as well as a member of the Bates men’s track and field team quoted, “The men’s track and field team had John in their hearts and thoughts during the New England Division III championships at MIT.”

To help students cope with their grief, Bates held a college memorial at which many students spoke and told their memories of John. A candle light vigil, in which over 100 students attended, was also held around the Bates football field where John spent much of his time. In memory of John, friends and family asked others to light a candle and keep it burning throughout the night on Sunday, February 23rd. People around the world lit candles in honor of John and many posted a picture of their burning candle in a Facebook group that is in remembrance of John Durkin.

It is when tragedy strikes, that the true sense of community throughout the NESCAC is shown. John’s memory will be preserved through everyone who knew and cared for him and his loss will remain in our hearts. 

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