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Kevin P. Chao '01

Freshman Picture Book
Kevin P. Chao '01

Kevin P. Chao '01, 19, died July 24 in Portage, Mich. in a fatal car accident.

Chao and a friend, Benjamin A. Kalleward, were traveling at least 80 miles an hour when Chao lost control of his vehicle. The car left the road and hit several trees before stopping, the Kalamazoo Gazettereported.Alcohol was reportedly not a factor in the crash.

Although the air bags in the 1997 Pontiac Firebird deployed, both men were pronounced dead at the scene. Both had been wearing seat belts.

Chao, a resident of Burton-Conner House, was spending the summer in his hometown working at the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center, where he had attended high school. Kalleward, who also attended the center, had finished his freshman year at Case WesternReserve University.

At the Institute, Chao was a member of the lightweight freshman crew team and was also a production staff member of The Tech.

Friends of Chao at Burton-Conner remembered him for his humility and his kindness. "I don't think anybody could say anything bad about him because he was so caring.He would do anything for me," said Janet J. Hsieh '01, who also was on the crew team.

"What was most distinctive to me was his humility,"said Anne M. Hunter, administrator for the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Chao's freshman adviser. "He wa s a really charming, nice guy."

"He could pick up things amazingly quick," said Lawrence P. Chao '98, Kevin's older brother. "He was never content with just sitting around,"he told the Gazette.

At Burton-Conner, Chao was "always very effervescent, very energetic and always smiling," said Michael P. Harms G, Chao's graduate resident tutor. Chao served as the athletic chair of his floor.

He also served as the vending coordinator of the dormitory, being in charge of obtaining video game equipment for common areas. "He was very good-natured"when problems arose, Harms said.

Chao often wondered about the potential job security as a graduate of Course VI-2, Hunter said. Although he had considered Mechanical Engineering, Chao decided the job prospects were better within Computer Science.

"I don't think many of my freshmen have career"plans,Hunter said. "That's kind of refreshing over here."

Hsieh said Chao had been extremely enthusiastic about his year at the Institute and considered it to be his best experience. "His life definitely ended on a high note. Iknow he would have wanted it that way."

"He has done so much more in 19 years than people have done in 40,"Hsieh added.

Private memorial services for Chao were held in Michigan last week. A scholarship fund in Chao's name has been established at the Math and Science Center. Contributions may be sent to the Center, at 600 West Vine St., Suite 400, Kalamazoo MI 49008.