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Stanford student dies in Yosemite hiking accident

Henry Tien, a 21-year-old senior majoring in biological sciences, died March 24 from head injuries when he fell while hiking in Yosemite National Park.

Tien was hiking with his girlfriend, junior Susan Wu, who had gone ahead of him on the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail. There were no witnesses to the fall, but park rangers estimated that he fell between six and 20 feet. A hiker on the trail who reportedly heard a crash went back to investigate and found Tien unconscious.

Search and rescue personnel of the National Park Service reached Tien within minutes of the accident. He was flown by Air Med to Doctor's Medical Center in Modesto, where he died in the emergency room.

A native of Chicago who lived in Irvine, Calif., Tien was head advising associate in Paloma, an all-freshman residence in Florence Moore Hall.

A funeral was held for Tien on March 29 in Newport Beach, Calif. A memorial service is planned at Stanford, but no decision has been made yet about the date or location.

Freshman residents of Paloma met March 31 to share their feelings about Tien's life and death.

"Susan Wu, Henry's girlfriend, came and spoke to the group about what had happened, and about Henry's feelings for the dorm," said Jamila Saudi, student affairs specialist for Paloma. "Lots of students talked about how Henry had touched them and about how generous he had been with his time. There was a moment, too, where we all held hands."

Saudi said that one of Tien's friends is preparing a slide program about his life, and a booklet also is being assembled that will be distributed at the memorial service.

Maurice Charles, associate dean for religious life, opened the meeting with a moment of silence and a brief prayer. Also present were Alejandro Martinez, director of Counseling and Psychological Services; residence dean Jim Cadena; and resident fellow Edward Frueh.

The Paloma residents will meet again on Wednesday night, April 2, to decide how best to commemorate Tien's life, in addition to the service that is being planned by his friends.


By Diane Manuel