MIT senior James T. Albrecht ’08 died on July 22 from injuries sustained in a fall that may have been alcohol-related.
Albrecht, who was 21, appears to have fallen from the roof of a New York City five-story apartment building and landed on a second-story ledge of an adjacent building, according to a spokesman from the New York Police Department.
The cause of death has not yet been finalized, said a representative from the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The medical examiner is waiting on test results that should be complete in approximately one week.
According to an article in the Chicago Daily Herald, Albrecht’s death is not being treated as a homicide.
Albrecht, who was double majoring in math and physics, was working in New York as a summer intern at D.E. Shaw & Co., an investment and technology development firm.
Albrecht’s mother, Marita, described him as “gentle but fun-loving and obviously smart.” “For a smart guy, he never limited his circles,” his mother said. “All through high school and when he was home from college, there were always people around the house.”
At MIT, he was the president of Baker House and was elected as vice president of the Dormitory Council in May. Albrecht was also a teaching assistant for the spring term’s Differential Equations (18.03) course, according to Albrecht’s academic advisor David A. Vogan, professor of mathematics.
“Most MIT undergraduates are essentially nice people; sometimes it just takes a little while to see that,” Vogan said in an e-mail. “With James, nice was all I ever saw from the moment I met him. He was cheerful, helpful, self-deprecating, and generally just a great pleasure to talk to. … I’ll certainly miss him.”
A memorial service will be held at MIT in the fall.
Albrecht was found on the roof of 243 East 14th Street at approximately 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 22, according to the NYPD. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to an article in the New York Post, a witness told the police that she saw Albrecht standing on the roof of the five-story apartment building at 3 a.m. on Sunday. Albrecht appeared to be intoxicated, the witness said.
Albrecht attended a birthday party the previous night, Saturday, July 21, according to The New York Sun. The party was held at Banc Café on 30th Street and Third Avenue. “People who were at the party told me he wasn’t crazy,” David Huang, a childhood friend of Albrecht’s, told The Sun. “They said nobody was drinking excessively.”
Huang told The Sun that Albrecht left the birthday party around 2 a.m. on Saturday to meet some friends. The Sun article said that Albrecht’s friends are not sure how he ended up at the five-story apartment building near Union Square.