Class of 2018 In Memoriam
“As Luke's roommate, I was constantly inspired by his concern for others and his passion for knowledge. He encouraged me to follow my intellectual curiosities and serve others, and his ethos has continued to shape me to this day. Though many of us at Harvard only had the privilege to know Luke for a year, his impact will last us a lifetime.”
—Jon P. Galla ’18
“Luke was such a kind, thoughtful person. He always had time to help others and I hope that we can honor him by carrying this spirit of caring for others and giving back forward.”
—Priscilla W. Guo ’18
“Luke valued honest self-expression; his essays took up arguments about the nature and demands of human freedom, and of faith, as well as of grace and its mystery; the scope of his inquiries embraced the complex whole of the human condition itself. Luke understood that ideas were not playthings, but rather connected to the deepest human values and to the communities that were foundational to him: communities of faith, of family, and of friends.”
—Courtney B. Lamberth, Lecturer on Religion
The observation that we only begin to miss people when they are gone is, of course, an obvious one. Still, cutting through all the heartache of Alex’s passing this year, I have only begun to realize the cliché’s profound meaning. I will forever miss Alex’s brilliance, the coffee-fueled conversations at Dunkin Donuts, the times over the summer when we cooked dinner together at his apartment. I will miss taking CS50 with him freshman year, and then this year, after we had both taken some time off from Harvard, how we were set to graduate together. Alex was one of few people whose care he showed towards friends, even strangers, matched his incredible intelligence. Alex was always fond of the classics, so I often remember this line of Catullus when thinking of him: Accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu, atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale – “take this offering, dripping with tears of a brother, and forever farewell.”
—Theodore R. Delwiche ’18
Alex was the hilarious running commentary about the absurdity of life that made me feel better about every situation. He was a voice of patience and reason and wisdom. He was the source of huge quantity of life lessons that stemmed from his own investigations about meaning and purpose. He had this incredible ability to make doing run-of-the-mill things feel extraordinary just because I did them with Alex, because even though we were two kids with next to zero life experience we were going to do something amazing someday. Sometimes it seemed like he was on a different intellectual plane than other people, but he always made me feel like I had a shot of keeping up, and I think he left a more unique imprint on my life, and so many other people’s lives, than just about anybody else ever could.
—Christopher P. Barry, Patel’s high school friend
Alex was an outstanding teacher, computer scientist and human being. My entire group misses his laugh, his ability to cut to the heart of a tricky issue, his willingness to speak the uncomfortable, and his enduring warmth and compassion.
—Margo I. Seltzer ’83, Computer Science Professor
Of any person whom I have ever known, Alex was the one I was most certain would change the world. His infectious curiosity impacted and inspired all who were lucky enough to know him. And his laughter, which would tumble throughout his whole body, still reminds me that wisdom and drive need not come at the cost of happiness. The world is a decidedly less bright, less exciting place without Alex. His death is a scar we now carry that signifies and reminds us of our collective potential to do good, to learn, to teach, and to love. I still can't believe he's gone.
—Sam Mathews, Patel’s high school friend
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