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A first-year graduate student in Brain and Cognitive Science committed suicide last Friday at his family's home in Chico, California, 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 as an undergraduate at the University of Colorado/Boulder, shared a suite at Tang Hall with two other students.
His friends and the faculty expressed shock and sadness when they heard the news. "He was well-liked," said Professor Mriganka Sur, interim head of the department, who had Mr. Sitton in class. "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 Wednesday, January 28 at the Bidwell Chapel in Chico.