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In Honor of Anthony Chiarenza '18

Anthony Chiarenza '18
Anthony Chiarenza with his mother, Angela. (photo courtesy of the Chiarenza family)

President Valerie Smith shared the following community message on Mon., Oct. 5:

Dear Students and Members of the Faculty and Staff,

We continue to mourn the tragic loss of Anthony Chiarenza ’18, who died on Saturday. At last night’s deeply moving Collection in the Friends Meeting House, many of us came to seek and to offer support to one another. From the heartfelt memories, poems, and reflections of those who knew and loved him emerged the image of an extraordinary young man of exceptional generosity, warmth, kindness, good humor and enthusiasm.  He brought great joy into the lives of his many friends and acquaintances.  If you had the good fortune to know Anthony, you already know he was a remarkable young man. For those who may not, please allow me to share what I have come to know about him.

A New York native, Anthony was a 2014 graduate of Townsend Harris High School, a public magnet high school for the humanities in Flushing, N.Y. There, he excelled in Spanish and wrote poetry for The Phoenix, the school’s award-winning, student-produced magazine.

Perhaps the Phoenix connection played a part in fostering his love of Swarthmore. After accepting his offer of admission, he became an enthusiastic presence on the Class of 2018’s admitted student Facebook page, encouraging other members to enroll and building excitement around everyone’s pending arrival.

Once his first year began, Anthony’s proclivity to forge lasting connections continued to grow. This is clear among that year’s “Willets Crew,” of which he was a proud member. And in class and lab, his professors remember a gifted, hard working student with a quietly cheerful disposition.

Anthony had a passion for the sciences and intended to major in biochemistry. Last summer, through the NSF’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program, he worked as a chemistry research assistant at Stony Brook University’s Johnson Lab. There, he helped the lab team build and optimize its tandem time-of-flight mass spectrometer for its laser spectroscopy experiments.

Anthony’s enthusiasm for his studies lived happily alongside his penchant for fun. Whether in a study session that gave way to karaoke, board game nights in Kohlberg, or in any number of small, memorable moments, he could always be counted on for making his friends feel cared about and happy. And his ever-present smile was always sincere.

This semester, he joined others in helping to revive the Queer Straight Alliance on campus. It was important to him that an open group existed on campus in which all members of the community could feel welcome and work together.

Anthony’s parents, Angela and Tony, and his older brother, Dom, welcome anyone from Swarthmore who would like to attend services this week in New York. Please continue to keep them and Anthony's close friends in your heart, thoughts, and prayers.

The wake will be held Tues., Oct. 6, and Wed., Oct. 7, from 4-8 p.m. in the Lloyd Funeral Home at 214-43 39th Ave. in Bayside, N.Y.  The funeral will take place on Thurs., Oct.  8, at 10 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Church which is located at 215-35 38th Ave. in Bayside. Bus transportation to the funeral is being arranged by the Dean’s Office and will leave early Thursday morning; please contact Susan Lewis at (610) 328-8365 if you would like a ride there and/or back to campus.

Anthony was a humble, deeply cherished member of this community who brought light and warmth to everyone he knew. His ability and willingness to love profoundly and fully, as one friend remarked last night, “transformed friends into family.” His spirit will continue to inspire us all. His loss is immeasurable.

In the coming weeks we will hold a campus memorial service to fully celebrate Anthony's life and contributions to the community. The details will be shared once plans are more fully realized.

With deep sadness,

Valerie Smith

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