Jonathan Tang, a 2012 graduate of the College of Arts and Science and a class of 2016 student of Columbia University Medical College of Physicians and Surgeons, died Sept. 21 in upstate New York. He was 24.
The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office reported in a press release that Tang went kayaking on Stewart’s Pond in Hadley, New York, on his own during the afternoon of Sept. 20 when he fell into the water and drowned. His body was discovered and identified by emergency services the following morning, after which Saratoga County coroner Thomas Salvatore declared Tang deceased.
Tang, a Columbia doctoral candidate at the time of his death, was a lauded fencer at NYU in addition to being a member of NYU’s prestigious President’s Honor Roll, the campus secret society the Red Dragon Society and the national honorary chemical society, Phi Lambda Upsilon. Tang was a multiple-time recipient of both the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award and the UAA Winter Sport All-Academic Award.
Beyond his achievements at NYU, Tang had volunteered at Beth Israel’s Interventional Radiology Center, interned at NYU Langone’s Trombetta Lab and received the Ruth Liu Memorial Scholar Award from the Chinese American Medical Society.
In an email to the Columbia Spectator, senior associate dean for student affairs at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons Lisa Mellman said Tang worked to raise awareness for the Hepatitis B vaccination and screening as president of the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association.
Mellman also commented on Tang’s exemplary character.
“Jonathan was known to many students as a wholeheartedly generous friend who exudes positive energy in everything he did,” Mellman said. “Over the years, he grew close to many students and faculty and always had a way of bringing people together with his uplifting and cheerful personality.”
The autopsy of Tang has not been released, but police said it does not appear that drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident. Tang was not wearing a life jacket when his body was found.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 29 print edition. Email Rahul Krishnamoorthy at [email protected]