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News, University News

Brown community remembers Milan Samardziski ’23

Samardziski known for his warm heart and bright mind

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, September 24, 2020

Friends and family share fond memories of Milan Samardziski ’23, who passed away earlier this month.

Milan Samardziski ’23, a loving friend with a quick wit and resounding laugh, passed away unexpectedly while at home with his family in North Macedonia, on Sept. 4. He had just turned 20 years old.

Samardziski was a musician, mathematician and multi-lingual, “brilliant in every aspect of life,” his father, Zoran Samardziski, wrote in an email to The Herald. 

But, Milan never wanted to speak about that,” he added. “To help others was his mission.”

Samardziski’s family and friends remember him as an unmistakable presence, with a beaming smile and bouncing brown curls. 

He always took care of the people around him first,” his former roommate Rafe Erdley ’23 wrote in an email to the Herald. 

Once, when Erdley packed up to leave the Rockefeller Library after a late night of studying, he realized it was pouring outside. With no umbrella, “the first person I thought to call was Milan. He immediately dropped everything he was doing to help, drenching his own clothes” as he walked Erdley back to the dorm to keep Erdley’s computer and backpack under the umbrella he had brought. 

Debora Škrinjarić, a close friend from high school, will also remember Samardziski for his warm heart. Škrinjarić recalled sitting alone in their high school cafeteria one day and feeling upset. Samardziski approached her to check in, not taking “I’m fine” for an answer. “He was one of those people that would actually notice how you’re feeling,” she added.

Raised in Skopje, North Macedonia, Samardziski received a full scholarship to study at Nova International Schools in his city, then a full scholarship at UWC Robert Bosch College in Friedberg, Germany, before coming to Brown, according to his father.

English Professor Elizabeth Taylor described Samardziski as a quintessential Brown student “because of his curiosity and his engagement.” In one piece for her class, Samardziski wrote about his admiration for his mother, who he said had the ability to cook beautiful dinners and delicately organize her time among many tasks. 

Adeline Mathier ’23, who met Samardziski in math class during their first year, said that Samardziski taught her to appreciate the present moment. 

“He just told me, ‘life can change so quickly. You just have to cherish the moments that you have and remember them well,’” Mathier added. She is “eternally grateful for having learned that” from someone “so young” and “so wise.”

For Mathier, Samardziski’s attitude toward life has made it easier for her to say goodbye than it was when another close friend passed away two years ago. 

“Even though Milan’s life was cut way too short,” he made the most of the time he had, Mathier said. “Milan just made every day his best day,” Mathier added.

“He was so happy and sure of himself and what he was doing,” she said. “That gave confidence to other people.”

An online collection with memories of Milan has been created by his friends and family on We Remember by Ancestry. Those who knew Milan and feel comfortable sharing are encouraged to write about their stories and memories with him.

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