April 4, 2020
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Freshman student dies surrounded by family

By Len La Rocca
News Editor

Matthew Palmer, a freshman mechanical engineering major, died at the age of 18 on Friday, Feb. 21 while surrounded by loved ones. His cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

Friends honor Palmer on social media with his photo and quote. (Instagram)

“I think about the future that was waiting for Matthew and how the world and our community are diminished by his loss,” wrote College President Kathryn Foster in a campus-wide email. “Please join me in keeping his family in our thoughts during this profoundly difficult time.”

The Floral Park, N.Y. native adapted quickly to life at the College and thrived in social circles. Palmer’s family shared that “in the short time he was at TCNJ it felt like a second home where he made friends that would last a lifetime.” Palmer formed many of these friendships after becoming a member of Sigma Pi Fraternity.

In a final act of courage, Palmer made the decision to give the gift of life by donating his organs through a local donor network. 

On Saturday, Feb 22., Palmer’s friends and family gathered at Helene Fuld Medical Center for a flag raising ceremony. A massive crowd gathered around the flagpole in the front of the hospital in honor of Palmer’s heroism.

Family, friends and brothers embraced in mourning as the flag, which read “Matthew Dana Palmer. The power of love,” rose to the top of the pole.

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