UT mourns the death of student studying abroad

AddThis

A UT student died while studying abroad in the Czech Republic this past June. The cause of death is currently unknown.

Rising philosophy freshman Bradford Lanier Killen, 18, died June 23 while studying abroad with the Maymester ‘Uncovering Jewish Prague’ program, a four-week program in which students take classes focused on Jewish history. UT officials are not releasing the cause of death because of federal student privacy laws. Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said condolences from the UT community go out to the parents, family and friends of Killen. She said that UT is working to help them in any way possible during these difficult days.

A Dallas native, Killen graduated from Highland Park High School and is survived by his parents Kenneth and Ann Killen and brothers Bo and Jake. His funeral service was held Monday at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.

“We have offered counseling, support and other assistance to other University of Texas at Austin students... We are also mobilizing to support all students, faculty, staff and friends in the days, weeks and months ahead,” Reagins-Lilly said. “This is a tragedy for our entire campus and community.”

In a statement, his family said he was a well-rounded individual who enjoyed playing music, reading literature, exploring the world around him and most importantly, spending time with those he loved.

“Honest and kind, unique and sincere, he was a rare individual positively affecting those he met,” his family said in the statement. “He loved in such a pure and visceral way that it was awe-inspiring, and he will be forever missed.”

Anthropology junior Charles Martin said he started an existential philosophy club with Killen last semester called The Existent. Martin said Killen had a work ethic that enabled Martin to further his passion for philosophy.

“Brad inspired me with a real sense of vitality in existence,” Martin said. “We need more people like Brad. His passing makes no sense, but his life inspired life, and that is beyond valuable.”

Gary Romriell, philosophy senior and president of The Existent club, said Killen was an open-minded person who was excited about new ideas and new experiences.

“We mourn his passing with heavy hearts, and our fall semester reading of Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness” will be our dedication to a brilliant Sartrian phenomenologist,” Romriell said.