Stanford News


CONTACT: Marisa Cigarroa, News Service (650) 725-9750;

Recent Stanford graduate dies in car accident

John Schlesinger, a 1997 co-terminal graduate in English who was a member of the Stanford Cycling Team, died Monday, Aug. 18, in an auto accident on the way home from a concert in Maine.

According to a friend of Schlesinger's, the driver of the car fell asleep at the wheel.

Memorial services were held for Schlesinger at Temple Beth El in Stamford, Conn., on Aug. 21. The 23-year-old was a native of Pound Ridge, N.Y.

Andrew Lewis, his roommate at Stanford for three years and a member of the cycling team, said Schlesinger "didn't need to be racing or competing to enjoy cycling. He just enjoyed being outside, going on long rides with a couple of friends." Those rides averaged two to four hours a day, most days of the week.

Last spring, Schlesinger, or "Schles" as he was known to his friends, won the Wine Country Classic in his category. The victory meant that he qualified to enter open races with professional riders. "It was a big moment for him," Lewis said. "He had really passed a milestone and was ready to move on to the next stage."

When Schlesinger wasn't riding his bicycle, he could often be found reading a book.

"He read voraciously," Lewis said. "He loved Joyce. Most recently, he would pick an author and plow through everything they had written. When he died, he was halfway through reading the works of John Barth, who had become one of his new favorite authors. He also thought T.S. Eliot was one of the greatest."

Schlesinger was planning to embark on a career in journalism. In September, he was going to travel to Milan to do freelance writing for newspapers. "Writing was one of his passions," Lewis said.

Schlesinger is survived by his parents, Richard and Sheila, of Pound Ridge, N.Y., and his two sisters, Lauren and Katie, also of Pound Ridge.

A memorial gathering and ride are being organized by Schlesinger's friends at Stanford in the near future. For information on these events, contact Arthur Walker at


By Marisa Cigarroa