College to Hold Memorial Service for Harvard Senior Patel

Harvard will hold a memorial service Nov. 8 to honor Alexander H. Patel ’17-'18, a Harvard senior who died in late October in a loss “felt deeply” by students and professors, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana wrote in an email to students Thursday.

The service will take place in Memorial Church Sanctuary, and will be followed by a reception in Adams House, Khurana wrote in his email.

“Many of us knew Alexander as a brilliant and supportive classmate, and as a true friend,” Khurana wrote. “Both the service and the reception will provide the opportunity for those in our community whose lives were touched by Alexander to come together.”

Alexander H. Patel '17-'18
Harvard will hold a memorial service for Alexander H. Patel '17-'18 next Wednesday.

Patel, a Philosophy and Mathematics concentrator and award-winning former Crimson News editor, passed away unexpectedly at age 22. The Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner found that Patel, an Adams House affiliate who lived off campus, died by suicide, according to spokesperson Felix Browne.

Patel attended high school in Denver, Colo. before coming to Harvard. On campus, he worked as a teaching fellow for various Computer Science classes, conducted research in a lab run by Computer Science professor Margo I. Seltzer ’83, and held a side-job as an information technology consultant.

He also wrote for The Crimson, covering Harvard Business School and serving on the paper’s data analysis team. A data-based 2015 story on faculty political donations Patel helped report earned him a national award.

Peers and professors remembered Patel as a brilliant student and devoted friend and family member: someone who drove his sister to school every day in high school, someone willing to debug friends’ code at 3 a.m.

“He was an unbelievable friend, and he never hesitated to bring me into his life or to be generous with his time,” said Christopher P. Barry, one of Patel’s high school friends. “He was one of the best people I ever knew. He deserves to be remembered as such.”

—Staff writer Hannah Natanson can be reached at hannah.natanson@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @hannah_natanson.

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