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University News

Mark St. Louis ’15 dies

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Updated Thursday, July 24 at 11:15 p.m.

Mark St. Louis ’15 died on Friday, July 18. President Christina Paxson first announced his death in a community-wide email Sunday morning.

St. Louis, 21, was a neuroscience concentrator from Atlanta. He graduated from the United World College of the Adriatic before coming to Brown and intended to obtain a combined MD/PhD after college, Paxson wrote.

At Brown, St. Louis was a member of the ultimate frisbee team. He was also involved with BrainGate, a research project focused on assisting people with neurological disorders by creating new technologies, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Brown Summer Scholars Research Program, Paxson wrote.

While in high school in Italy, St. Louis competed in the ultimate frisbee Junior World Championship for the Italian junior national team, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday.

There will be a memorial service this Saturday, July 26, at 4 p.m. at the Paideia School theater in Atlanta, according to the Journal-Constitution. The family suggests that those who would like to make contributions donate to the SpeakYourMind Foundation, an organization associated with the BrainGate lab and with which St. Louis worked closely.

The offices of Counseling and Psychological Services, which can be reached at 401-863-3476, and Chaplains and Religious Life, which can be reached at 401-863-2344, are open to all members of the Brown community for support.

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  1. Abdul-Kareem Ahmed says:

    My deepest condolences to his family. May he rest in peace. I was only days from meeting him for the first time. I truly wish I had. Mark was a remarkable individual.

  2. I met Mark Freshman year of high school. It was my first year at Paideia, and as I sat through the first week of classes I kept hearing about “Mark,” a student who was not in school yet because he had surgery. I met Mark the second week of school. He was using crutches and we were in the same social studies class. We also had the same class for Art, so we walked there together. We discussed whether light or the darkness was faster. Mark was determined that light was faster than darkness. From then on we went on to bother all of our teachers, as we had four classes together and we spent all of our time arguing about philosophy, religion, and life. Mark was hilarious. He would tell anyone who believed him that the scar he had on his leg from surgery, was because a lion had attacked him while he was in Africa. He was also the smartest person I had ever met. He would ask me “ what do you think about euthanasia?” and I, a fellow 14 year old, would say “ I have nothing against people in Asia.” Mark got me in a lot of trouble, to the point that our Art teacher made us sit in separate parts of the room. In addition to being the smartest person in our class, Mark was also very athletic. He loved played ultimate and touch football. He was incredibly fast. He also joined Mock Trial.

    Mark taught me to love philosophy and to be critical of everything and anything. To search for the truth myself. He was also very talkative, to the point that through a combination of text messages and phone conversations, I ended up spending $120 extra on my phone bill. At the end of Freshman year Mark suggested that I apply to UWC, saying that he was interested in it but didn’t think he would make the cut. The next year he applied and got in. Funnily enough, four years later Mark got into Brown, the same school that I was attending. Mark was really hardworking in college, whether it was playing ultimate, or studying and working on his projects. I would see him in the Ratty working intensely on his computer. He still loved having intellectual and argumentative conversations, and introduced me to a friend, whom he told me was incredibly smart. Whenever Mark saw me he always greeted me warmly. The last time I saw him, he was in the Blue Room working with a classmate on a project and eating chocolate cookies.

    Mark taught me a lot of things: how to argue, how to analyze, how to think critically, and the challenges of being right. He supported me when I was having a very difficult time in 9th grade. I will always be grateful for having met Mark and learned so much from him. Below are some of the things he shared with me during the past seven years. I think they speak more about him, than I could speak myself.

    Extracted from Facebook, Mark St. Louis, May 11th, 2007

    Mark St. Louis

    “there are things i will never know. things i can’t know. things i couldn’t even think about fathoming to possibly understand. Such as God. what is it? does it even exist? it what manner does it affect our lives? I can’t pretend to know those answers. i mean, i can pretend, as have a bunch of people, but i can’t know for sure. I can’t explain matters of philosophy and belief, at least not without uncertainty. but when it comes to the physical world in which we live, yes, i do believe that every thing can be explained through sets of natural laws.”

    “Sports a big part of who I am, i can’t lie. but I play sports for more than because i can. There’s a freedom on a field that i can’t find anywhere else. I define myself there, with no one to influence me. it tires my body, but energizes my soul. keep that as a quote, its good. But before that, comes love. Love, in all its various forms, defines who I am. What i love, who i love, who loves me. that’s what made my psyche. after that? imagination. “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The ability to wonder. That is freedom, more than anything in the mortal world. Imagination frees us from bondage, from pain, from hate.

    So there. now if that doesn’t seem deep to you, you’re either stupid, or the freaking Dalai Lama”

    Mark- I hope the love we have for you carries you forward. May you always be right ☺

  3. I was a classmates of Mark back in junior high of all things. I was also friendly with his siblings. Couldn’t have met a more brilliant, compassionate and complex guy. I’m reeling from this tragedy. Very sad and my condolences to his family. Z”L

  4. Franc de Seville says:

    Does BDH mean to report a tragedy, or is this a cynical way for BDH to report that Chris Paxson appears to be working this summer?

  5. This is so tragic. Does anyone know what happened?

    • No, at least not publicly. It was “unexpected” and in Providence. I respect and understand the family’s right to privacy but it can be so hard sometimes to process the death of someone so young, so familiar without any story or context.

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