Candlelight Vigil Planned
A student-organized candlelight vigil for Yngve K. Raustein will be held at 7pm Thursday on the Kresge Oval and MIT is making plans for a memorial service later this month for the victim of the September 18 stabbing on Memorial Drive.
Mr. Raustein's parents, Elner and Inghild Raustein,
have accepted an invitation to attend the memorial service with their surviving son, 18. A date will be selected when MIT learns of their travel plans, said Robert M. Randolph, associate dean in the Office of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs and head of the Student Assistant Services Section.
Mr. Raustein's body was to be flown to Norway today for funeral services expected to be held Tuesday, September 30. On the same flight will be History Professor William B. Watson, Baker House headmaster, who will represent MIT at the funeral, and the MIT student who was with Mr. Raustein at the time of his death, Arne Fredheim, also of Norway.
Flyers announcing Thursday's candlelight vigil were being distributed across the campus on Tuesday. Kelly M. Sullivan, a senior at Baker House who is organizing the event with the help of a friend, Patricia L. Birgeneau, also a senior at Baker House, said the intention is a community gathering "to show that we support and care for Yngve's family and for each other." The flyers included these lines from Shakespeare: "Goodnight sweet prince, and may choirs of angel sing thee to thy rest."
Ms. Sullivan, who did not know Mr. Raustein, said she began planning the vigil after several students said they wished there was a way in which they could express their feelings. Many students are also sending sympathy cards to the Raustein family and Ms. Sullivan urged other members of the community to do the same, using the address listed in the Student Directory.
President Vest will speak at the candlelight vigil, Ms. Sullivan said, and there will be a reading by Dean Randolph and remarks by a student.
In a letter to the community about Mr. Raustein's death dated September 21, President Vest said: "In a university we are fortunate to spend most of our time in activities that celebrate life, learning, and growth, but we are not immune to tragedy. Like each of you, I am shocked, saddened, and angry that this life has been taken and that our community has been assaulted. As the parents of university students ourselves and as members of the MIT community who reside barely a hundred yards from the scene of this event, Becky and I sense its tragedy with a particular immediacy. We are especially saddened and shamed that this happened to a guest in our country.
"There are few lessons to be learned from this sad occurence, because it so defies logic and the respect for human life that we tend to take for granted. But I would encourage each of you to discuss it among yourselves, with your families and friends. Many of you will be particularly troubled because you knew Yngve, because you are very new to this community, or for many other reasons. Please do not hesitate to seek out the many resource people on our campus for their counsel and advice or to suggest to them how we might better guard against such happenings.
"We must all think more carefully and realistically about our personal safety and that of our friends and colleagues. Even as we share the grief of Yngve Raustein's family and friends, we must also recommit ourselves to a strong and supportive sense of community and to the important purposes and activities that have brought us together here at MIT."
Faculty, students and staff members who knew Mr. Raustein remembered him as an exceptionally bright student with a deep interest in space that was focused by the Challenger disaster.
He transferred to MIT after a year at the University of Bergen and entered the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
In Unified Engineering, the department's tour de force, "during which everybody falls asleep at least once," a fellow-student said, Mr. Raustein was recalled as one who never did.
He always sat in the front row, just to one side of the Unified Engineering lecturer, and took spectacular notes on 11-by-17 graph paper using variously colored pens. He told a student colleague the technique, which he learned in Norway, was called "mind mapping" and was intended to tap both the right and left brain. "I'm not sure if it works," he said, with a smile.
His interest in space led him to join a spring break trip this year, organized by Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, to watch the March 24 launch of the space shuttle.
Mr. Raustein was a projectionist for the Lecture Series Committee's movie enterprise, worked in the Food Service Office, helped out with orientation activities in the Office for Minority for Minority Education.
A faculty member described him as "quiet, very bright, a top students and one with a real international view." A student colleague recalled that he was "pretty reserved until you got to know him, but then he was very friendly. The language barrier never bothered him." When he missed the humor of a joke because English wasn't his first language, he was quick to laugh at himself when the story was explained, the student said.
A version of this article appeared in the September 23, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 7).