College Mourns Death of Student

Senior History and Science concentrator dies in Adams House

Ilya Chalik ’11—an avid traveler and a Tai Chi expert—died yesterday in his Adams dorm room, according to Adams House administrators.

Chalik, a History and Science concentrator from Chicago, was a “real part of Adams, a real member of the community,” said his entryway tutor, Vineeta Agarwala. “Which is why I think so many people miss him.”

At a remembrance gathering last night in the Adams Lower Common Room, there were not enough chairs to accommodate all those who wanted to pay their respects.

Friends shared fond memories of Chalik, remembering his generosity and kindness.

“One of the common themes running through all the stories was how welcoming and how generous Ilya really was,” said Rory M. Sullivan ’09, who knew Chalik from Harvard Hillel and attended the memorial in Adams.


“He would always greet you and ask you how you were,” said Abigail F. Schoenberg ’12, who went on a Birthright trip to Israel with Chalik two years ago. “That was such a rare thing to find in a person.”

Abby E. Schiff ’11, one of Chalik’s blockmates, said Chalik spontaneously brought roses to give to her after her performance in an a cappella concert as a “little special touch.”

“He was very gentle-manly in everything he did,” Schiff said.

She described Chalik as spontaneous, adventurous, and a person who loved to travel.

“He would take these day trips to Providence or Maine or New Hampshire on a whim and would come back with pictures and stories,” she said.

As secretary of the Harvard College in Asia Program, Chalik went on trips to Singapore and Seoul during his sophomore and junior years, respectively. He studied abroad in Argentina his freshman summer and Colombia his junior summer, in addition to participating in the Harvard Hillel Birthright trip his sophomore year.

Hillel Rabbi Ben Greenberg said that Chalik “was someone who was so genuinely interested in others.”

Greenberg recalled a time when Chalik turned the tables on the rabbi.

“He came up to me one time and he said to me, “How is your work going today? What is your job like?” said Greenberg.

When the rabbi commented on this reversal of roles, Chalik shrugged off his inquiry with a smile. “I’m just curious to know how you’re doing,” he said, according to Greenberg.


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