March 17, 2006

Cornell Student Found Dead in UVA Dorm

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Matthew Pearlstone ’09 was found dead in a University of Virginia dorm room on March 17. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

At approximately 11 a.m. on March 17, Pearlstone’s body was discovered by a residential advisor in a bed in Cauthen residence hall on the UVA campus. Campus police said the cause of death was unknown, but that there was no evidence of violence. Pearlstone was transported to the University Health Center, and then to the state medical examiner’s office in Richmond, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. The UVA campus police contacted the St. Louis Police Department, which then notified Pearlstone’s family.

Pearlstone was visiting a friend at UVA during Cornell’s spring break. Howard Pearlstone, Matthew’s grandfather, told the Associated Press his grandson had been out “partying” the night before.

“The whole Cornell community [is] going to be very saddened by this news,” said Simeon Moss ’73, the Cornell press relations office director. “We send our sincere condolences to Matthew’s family and close friends and they’re in our thoughts.”

Moss said that community support meetings and counseling services would be made available when classes resume after spring break to residents of the Townhouse community, students in the College of Engineering, and members of Pearlstone’s fraternity.

Carol Wood, UVA’s assistant vice president for university relations, said that Pearlstone’s death was “under active investigation by the UVA police” in conjunction with the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office of Charlottesville, Va.

“The University community was terribly saddened to learn of the death of a student,” Wood said. “Our priority is to reach out to students and his friends here. … We all grieve when we lose one of our students.”

Wood said that counseling and support services had also been made available to students living in Cauthen residence hall and those who knew Pearlstone on the UVA campus.

Pearlstone, who was a computer science and electrical engineering major at Cornell, was originally from St. Louis. He was a member of the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle club and was named to the Dean’s list. Before graduating from Ladue Horton Watkins High School, he was a marathon runner, captain of the swim team and a member of the varsity water polo team. He was also an honor student, a National Merit finalist, and a National AP Scholar.

A funeral service will be held in St. Louis on March 23. Donations can be made to the Matt Pearlstone Scholarship Fund, c/o Ladue High School, 1201 South Warson Road, St. Louis, Mo., 63124.

Archived article by Sun Staff