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College Mourns Loss of Student

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (April 23, 2008) - Officials at SUNY Plattsburgh learned yesterday that police in Albany, N.Y., have identified a body found in the Hudson River as that of former student Joshua Szostak of Latham, N.Y. They believe the cause of death to be accidental drowning.

"We mourn as a community at the tragic loss of one of our students and hope that Josh's family will now be able to find some closure on what has surely been a very difficult time," said President John Ettling in an email to the SUNY Plattsburgh community. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Josh's family and friends today."

When Szostak went missing in December, classmates and friends actively helped raise awareness about his disappearance. According to his family, Josh had planned on returning to SUNY Plattsburgh for the spring semester.

Friends blanketed the campus and the North Country with informational posters about Szostak's disappearance. They also spread the word by working with the media and held local events to raise awareness and funds to help cover the costs of the search.

"I am proud of how our students responded to this situation; their actions speak to the warmth and generosity of individuals who attend our college," said Ettling. "They also serve as a tribute to Josh's memory."

The Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and staff and students at SUNY Plattsburgh's WQKE radio station will hold a candlelight vigil in his memory on Wednesday, April 30, from 9 to10 p.m. in Amitie Plaza on campus.  All students, faculty, staff and community residents are invited to attend.

In addition, the college has counselors on hand at its health center, should staff, faculty or students need help. Furthermore, Bryan Hartman, director of residence life, said, in the wake of the news, that the college has mobilized its residence assistants to check-in with students.

"If students would like to speak with a counselor, our residence assistants will help them contact one of the college's counselors," said Hartman.

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