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Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Middlebury grieves death of Ivan Valerio ’26

Ivan Valerio ’26 passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at Middlebury College. Valerio, 19, was found outside of Gifford Hall early Tuesday morning.

A native of Kissimmee, Fla., Valerio arrived on campus in the fall of 2022 and quickly became involved in campus life. He had not yet declared a major, but Valerio was interested in Japanese and computer science, according to a message to the college community from President Laurie Patton and Vice President for Student Affairs Smita Ruzicka on Nov. 7. 

While the circumstances of Valerio’s death are unknown at this time, the Middlebury Police Department determined there was no foul play and there is no danger to the campus or surrounding community. 

Valerio showed a deep interest in Japanese language and culture, according to Linda White, associate professor of Japanese studies and chair of the department. 

“He developed good friendships through his classes and shared interests in Japan,” White wrote in an email to The Campus. “His friends and teachers are devastated by his sudden death. Valerio was an important part of our community.” 

A dual citizen of the Philippines and the United States, being Filipino was a strong part of Valerio’s identity, according to members of the Student Life team who knew him. Valerio participated in First at Midd and found community among friends and mentors at the Anderson Freeman Center, Dean of First-Year Experience Jen Sellers noted in the message.

 “He radiated kindness and was always quick to express his appreciation, including his thankfulness for being a part of the team of Orientation Leaders who welcomed new students to campus this year,” Sellers wrote. 

According to the message, friends described Valerio as a “sweet and giving person.” He was the treasurer of the Southeast Asian Society and a member of J-Club, a student organization highlighting Japanese culture, Middlebury College Chess Club, Radical Asians, MiddVolunteers, German Club and the Middlebury College Activities Board. 

“We have been in contact with Ivan’s family and will provide our full support as they process this loss,” Patton and Ruzicka wrote in the message. 

In an email to students on Wednesday afternoon, the Student Government Association (SGA) offered their care and support to the whole Middlebury community in wake of Valerio’s passing. “As fellow students and your SGA, we ask that you take any measures necessary to take care of yourself, whether that is practicing your routine, or taking some time off for yourself to reflect,” the SGA wrote. 

Both the SGA email and message from Patton and Ruzicka pointed to resources available to the college community in the wake of this news, including TimelyCare, College Counseling, Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life Chaplains, Care Management and the Department of Public Safety. 

Patton and Ruzicka wrote that the administration will share more information about plans to remember Ivan in the coming days and encouraged the college community to continue taking care of themselves and one another.

The Campus plans to publish an article in memoriam of Ivan Valerio with stories from family, friends and peers in the coming weeks. If you would like to contribute memories of Valerio for this story, please email The Campus at campus@middlebury.edu


Maggie Reynolds

Maggie Reynolds '24 (she/her) is the Editor in Chief.  

Maggie previously served as the Senior Local Editor, a Local Section Editor, and a Staff Writer. She spent this past J-term interning for VTDigger, covering topics from affordable housing in Addison County to town government scandals. She also interned for Seven Days VT as an arts & culture reporter summer 2022 and as a news reporter for the Daily Gazette in Schenectady, NY summer 2021.   

Maggie is majoring in History and minoring in Political Science and Spanish. She was a three-year member of the Women's Swimming and Diving team. Maggie enjoys running, hiking, and iced maple lattes. 


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