Memorial Funds Honor Matthew Sunshine


The students, faculty, and staff of the School of Education and Social Policy and the entire university were shocked and saddened by the death of Matthew S. Sunshine on June 10. Below are a brief initial message and a follow-up message from the Vice President for Student Affairs in response to this tragedy.

In lieu of flowers, the family of Matthew Sunshine requests that those who wish to remember him consider a contribution to one of two different scholarship funds:

1. Throughout high school, Matt played in a classical wind ensemble through Gemini Youth Orchestra. He was a talented saxophonist who played soprano, tenor and alto sax. The highlight of his Gemini experience was a concert last year at Lincoln Center. He loved this ensemble, and the director has established a scholarship fund in Matt's name so that students in financial need can enjoy playing music in a concert band or symphony orchestra the way he did. Those who wish to donate to this fund can make checks payable to:

Gemini Youth Orchestras
PO Box 705
Melville, NY 11747-0705

2. In addition, Matt played alto and soprano sax at the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts several summers during junior and senior high school. Usdan will be establishing the Matthew Sunshine Scholarship Fund, a restricted fund that will permanently retain principal, and use only annual income to fund scholarships to students in financial need so that these students may also enjoy the wonderful times playing music in a concert band that he did. Of note, Matt's sister, Jennifer, also attended Usdan many summers, where she developed her love of sculpture, painting and art.

THE MATTHEW SUNSHINE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND will present a full-tuition scholarship(s) each year to a Suffolk or Nassau County music student whose family is not able to afford a Usdan Center tuition. Winners will be selected based on family need and on the recommendation of school music teachers.

About the Center...

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts is the country's leading not-for-profit summer school of the arts. The Center's mission is to provide children with the arts as a companion for life. Each summer, 1,600 children, ages 6-18, "major" in music, art, dance, theater, or writing in an intensive seven-week summer season of study. With the guidance of a professional faculty of artist-teachers, children discover the joy of creative expression at Usdan, while also developing friendships with others who share their love of the arts. Usdan Center in Huntington, Long Island, is chartered by The Regents of The State of New York.

Donations to Matthew's Fund may be sent to:

Matthew Sunshine Scholarship Fund
Usdan Center for the Arts
185 Colonial Springs Road
Wheatley Heights, NY 11798

Donations may be made payable to "Usdan Center" with a memo indicating Matthew's Fund. Donors will receive a receipt for tax purposes.

Messages from the Vice President for Student Affairs


Dear Members of the Northwestern Community:

I am saddened to report that a Northwestern undergraduate student, Matthew S. Sunshine, was found dead in his room in Foster House residence hall on the Evanston campus late Tuesday morning, June 10, 2008. The cause of death has not yet been determined. The Evanston Police Department is investigating with assistance from University Police.

Matthew was a freshman in the School of Education and Social Policy from Cold Spring Harbor, NY.

On behalf of the University, I extend our deepest sympathies to Matthew's family and to his fellow students and friends here at Northwestern. The loss of any one member of our community affects us all.

Members of the Counseling and Psychological Services staff and the University Chaplain's office will be available at Foster House this evening. CAPS also may be contacted at 1-2151 or 1-8100 after hours.

Again, we extend our condolences to all of Matthew's family and friends. We join with them in this time of sorrow.

William J. Banis
Vice President for Student Affairs

Memorial Vigil at the Rock

Dear Members of the Northwestern Community:

As I reported to you yesterday, one of our undergraduate students, Matthew
Sunshine, died yesterday. The Cook County Medical Examiner┬╣s office today
ruled that the cause of death was alcohol-related. The University is
extremely saddened by this and extends our deepest sympathies to Matthew┬╣s
family and friends for their profound loss.

This unfortunate death serves as a tragic example of the dangers of
excessive alcohol consumption. This phenomenon occurs on college campuses
nationwide and Northwestern is not immune from such societal issues.
Nevertheless, it is devastating to lose a member of our community in this
manner and we are all affected by it.

As you know, Northwestern provides extensive education regarding the
prevention of alcohol abuse to students as part of freshman orientation.
Those messages are reiterated through residence hall meetings and other
forums. However, we know that some students occasionally engage in risky
behavior involving alcohol. Therefore, we urge you to consider this event as
a reminder of the potentially tragic results of such behavior.

A memorial vigil for Matthew will be held at the Rock Thursday, June 12, at
9:30 p.m. There will be time for Matthew's friends to share their memories
and thoughts at this time of great sadness. Some students are planning to
put together a scrapbook in which messages of condolence may be written
after the vigil. The scrapbook will be sent to Matthew's parents. All are
welcome to attend.

If there are questions about this vigil, please contact University Chaplain
Timothy Stevens at 847-491-2298 or at <chaplain@northwestern.edu>.

When you entered Northwestern, we asked you to take care of yourselves, take
care of your friends and take care of your community here at Northwestern.
As this school year draws to a close, marked by this tragic event, we hope
that you will continue to keep your personal welfare and that of your fellow
students in mind, and in doing so, help us protect all the members of our
community.

William J. Banis
Vice President for Student Affairs
Last Modified: 8/14/09