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Thursday, Oct 6, 2022

Remembering Michael Moss

Michael Moss, a rising senior from the class of 2018, died on Thursday, Aug. 17, after an extended illness.

Michael, a joint major in environmental studies and conservation biology, was expected to complete his degree this fall and graduate on March 1, 2018. Middlebury awarded him an honorary bachelor’s degree shortly after his death.

At Middlebury he played on the men’s rugby club team and was a member of the yoga club. He was on the dean’s list and a college scholar. He attended the Middlebury Spanish language school in summer 2015.

He was a member of Ross Commons. Ann Hanson, his dean, said she knew and admired Michael. “He was an excellent and hardworking student,” she said. “He took his academic work seriously. He was loyal to his friends and he had a wonderful sense of humor.”

Mike was never one for making a big first impression, said Ivan Zeavin-Moss ’16, one of his closest friendsHis kindness was subtle and understated. Mike was an excellent listener a shy talker. With that said, Mike had an amazing ability to build a community around him, wherever he went. Sharing was something he held as an indispensable part of getting to know people. He was never eager to impress people with his own achievements; he pursued what was near and dear to him and didnt particularly care if no one else participated. He epitomized humility and ducked the spotlight. He would hate an article celebrating his name, but theres way too much love in the world for him to let it go unwritten.

“Mike was a rare persona, a friend to so many different groups of people on campus,” said Arnav Adhikari ’16, another friend. “His ability to bring humor and compassion everywhere he went was incredible to witness. I’ll miss my long drives in his Subaru with his trusty wooden hiking staff (which almost became a part of our friend group), his knack for spouting off obscure bird facts, and turning leftover pasta into a masterpiece of Italian cuisine. Mike was a force of kindness, one that I feel so immensely lucky to have encountered in my time at Middlebury.”

Professor Steve Trombulak, Michael’s advisor whom he worked closely with, spent many pre-dawn mornings with Moss at “The Sanctuary,” a nearby area where Trombulak conducts bird research with students.

“We shared a lot of mornings watching the sun come up over the Green Mountains and the Otter Creek, opening row upon row of mist nets to catch the birds migrating through the Middlebury College Teaching and Research Floodplain Forest Natural Area,” Trombulak said in an interview with the college newsroom. “Each bird we banded and released formed one more connection for us with the natural world, one more neighbor in the wider ecosystem we were privileged to participate in.”

Michael is survived by his parents, Bob Moss and Michela Nonis, of New York, and his sister, Alessandra. The family will have a memorial service to celebrate his life on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Rubin Museum in New York City. For more information, contact Bob Moss at