Dear Members of the University Community:
The University is a large and interconnected family. We draw strength from each individual student who is part of it, whether matriculating in an undergraduate, graduate or professional school. This has been a challenging time for us, now three semesters into the COVID-19 pandemic, and supporting each other has never been more important.
One of the most meaningful yet difficult parts of my job as Dean of Students is supporting families and friends of students who have passed while pursuing their education and dreams here. Today, I write to inform our community of the passing of first-year student Alec Brazukas. I met with Alec's hallmates in Cauthen House early last month to inform them of Alec's passing and to offer our community's support. We wanted to wait to reach out to the larger community until the enhanced restrictions imposed last month had been lifted, enabling students to once again gather together in small groups for support. We also seek to comfort Alec's parents, siblings and other family members in their unimaginable grief.
Alec was in the College of Arts & Sciences, and was from Midlothian, Virginia. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 31, immediately prior to returning to the University to begin the spring semester. In high school, Alec was a member of National Junior Classical League and graduated in the top of his class. He performed very well in his UVA courses last fall, and was well on the way to a successful academic adventure here. Alec loved playing guitar, listening to music, spending time outdoors, biking, skiing, and simply being with his many friends and family members. He was also quick to drop everything to help a friend in need.
His parents note Alec's dream was either to be a schoolteacher or to follow his father's footsteps into business. Alec's motivation was to do something that held a purpose, rather than simply chasing pecuniary reward.
Alec's family cherish their memories of him as a wonderful son, grandson and brother. His loving family includes his mom and dad, Mark and Jennifer; his two sisters, Marleigh and Taylor; and his grandparents, David and Betty Taylor, and Margaret Brazukas. We join them in celebrating the special young man Alec was and the many lives he touched in his 19 years. Many who knew Alec have posted tributes to him if you wish to read them.
The loss of a classmate and fellow member of our community is always challenging, even more so given the greater isolation brought on by the COVID pandemic. If you need support during this time, you may call Counseling and Psychological Services at 434-243-5150, 24 hours a day. Information about CAPS is available on the Student Health and Wellness website. If you are a student not living or learning on Grounds this semester, you may still call CAPS staff for assistance or to help with a referral in your local area. Family and friends are also a good source of support.
Faculty and staff can find a similar resource through the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program by calling 434-243-2643 or by emailing the office via the FEAP website.
I know you join me in sending our love and support to Alec's family as they grieve the loss of a son, brother and grandson with so much yet to do on this earth. Please keep them in your thoughts.
Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students