Harvard student’s death ruled suicide

Wendy Chang, 22, remembered as a warm and engaging woman

The state medical examiner’s office has ruled that the Harvard College senior found dead in her room Saturday morning committed suicide.

Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the state agency that oversees the medical examiner, said in an email that the cause of death for Wendy Chang, 22, of Irvine, Calif., has been ruled asphyxia by hanging.

In a statement, college spokesman Jeff Neal said Chang’s death was a tragedy for the entire campus.

“The safety, wellbeing and health of our students — including their mental health — are critically important to us,” Neal said. “Harvard has a comprehensive system in place to support student mental health and we have reached out to students repeatedly to let them know that services are available to them, particularly after the loss of any member of our community.”

Evelynn M. Hammonds SM ’80, dean of the college, told students last week that Chang was an English major who had just completed an honors thesis on Edith Wharton.

She was also a member of the Crimson Key Society — a student group that gives tours of campus — wrote for The Harvard Crimson student newspaper and worked as a designer for the Harvard Advocate, a college literary journal, Hammonds said.

In a message to students today, she reminded them that mental health counselors are available on campus.

“As with any tragic loss within our community, everyone may be affected, including close friends, teammates, colleagues and even those who didn’t get the chance to know Wendy,” Hammonds wrote.

Friends remembered Chang last week as a warm and engaging woman who combined academic excellence with a love for painting and cooking, the Crimson reported.

Her death is the latest in a string of tragedies involving students in the Boston-area during the academic year.

Two MIT undergraduates took their own lives in the fall, and a Suffolk University senior died last week after apparently jumping from a campus building.

Earlier this month, a Boston University graduate student died in an apparent suicide after ingesting a toxic chemical in her South End apartment.

1 Comment
Anonymous about 8 years ago

Wendy will live on in the hearts of those who knew her and her amazing spirit, intellect, and contribution to her friends and community. We are profoundly saddened and moved by her passing.