A first-year graduate student in brain and cognitive sciences committed suicide last Friday at his family's home in Chico, CA, according to local police.
A spokesman for the Butte County Sheriff's Department told MIT Campus Police that they received a phone call from Mark Sitton Friday afternoon and immediately went to his home. When they knocked on the door and received no response, the spokesman said, they entered and found Mr. Sitton's body, a gun and a note.
Mr. Sitton, 23, who majored in applied mathematics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, shared a suite at Tang Hall with two other students.
His friends and the faculty expressed shock and sadness at the news. "He was well-liked," said Professor Mriganka Sur, department head. "He sat in the front row of my class and he did well in the course. He was very engaged and he asked interesting questions. He was a pleasant young man."
Representatives from Counseling and Support Services, Professor Sur and Professor Gerald Schneider, head of the Graduate Committee, met yesterday with faculty, staff and students in the department. Medical Department personnel are also available for counseling.
Mr. Sitton is survived by his parents, Gary and Judy, and a sister, Holly. The funeral is scheduled for today at the Bidwell Chapel in Chico.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 28, 1998.