Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi issued the following statement Aug. 5:
I write with deep sadness regarding the tragic loss of one of the newest members of our Cornell community. Incoming first-year student Winston Samuel Perez Ventura ’21 drowned Saturday afternoon while swimming in Fall Creek.
Winston was in Ithaca with fellow incoming students participating in the on-campus pre-Freshman Summer Program. He came to Cornell from the Bronx, New York, and was preparing to begin his studies at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. As a high school student, Winston participated in The Fellowship Initiative, an enrichment program for young men of color. He was an exceptional person who would have contributed greatly to our university community.
Please join me in keeping Winston and his family and friends in our thoughts as we process the enormity of this loss. Please also be sure to take care of yourselves and those around you over the coming days, and to seek support as necessary. You will find information about resources that are available to you at the bottom of this message. For those who are in Ithaca, a community support meeting will be held tomorrow (Sunday, August 6th) at 11 a.m. in the Cook House dining room on West Campus.
Support services are available to all members of the Cornell community. Students may consult with counselors from Cornell Health by calling 607-255-5155. Students may speak with a peer counselor by calling EARS at 607-255-3277.
Employees may call the Faculty Staff Assistance Program at 607-255-2673. The Ithaca-based Crisisline is available at 607-272-1616. For additional resources visit caringcommunity.cornell.edu.
Cornell University promotes the safe use of natural areas on and around campus, and works in collaboration with local agencies and volunteers to educate visitors on how to enjoy them safely. For more details, visit gorgesafety.cornell.edu.