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Sad news about the death of a graduate student: Remembering JT Chipman

In a message to the campus community, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole provides information on a memorial service and encourages community members to reach out for support.

Dear students, faculty and staff,

It is with great sadness that I write today to report the loss of graduate student JT (John Taylor) Chipman on May 3 in Sacramento, where he was living with his family. We are sharing this message with everyone because JT was cherished by so many of you. A PhD student in philosophy since 2012, he was deeply immersed in the life of his department as a teaching assistant and instructor. He was also a Stanford Online High School teaching assistant and a member of the Berkeley-Stanford Circle in Logic and Philosophy. His academic interests included the philosophy of logic, logic, the history of analytic philosophy, epistemology and metaphysics. He was, above all else, a cherished friend to many.

Everyone who knew JT is invited to join a virtual memorial planned for 6 p.m. PDT May 26. Here’s more information from the event planners: “We hope this virtual format allows for as many people as possible to participate both across the country and around the globe… The memorial will begin with readings, stories, photos, music, and more, with time afterward for anybody to jump in and share.” If you’d like to attend, please register to receive the Zoom link. If you would like to participate in the memorial program or have any other questions, please reach out to Jill Covington at

While I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting JT, those who knew and loved him have generously shared their memories. Philosophy Department Chair Mark Crimmins wrote: “JT made big differences in the lives of those around him. As I take in the outpouring of sadness from his colleagues, mentors, and friends, apart from the admiration for his intellect, humor, and creativity, what really stands out are grateful memories of his generosity in friendship.” Natalie Jabbar, associate director of the Public Humanities Initiative at Stanford, shared: “He challenged me in a way that both drove me nuts and made my mind feel so alive, so beheld. I loved that underneath his map of tattoos and his raspy cackle and grit, there was a kind man who loved cradling cats and being an uncle, who collected Nutcrackers, who was touched by the smallest gesture and who was so incredibly tender.”

JT had dinner plans on the day he passed away, and he was to teach at Stanford this summer. While his death was unexpected, there is no evidence to suggest this was a death by suicide. Every loss of life in our community is heartbreaking. We are a large university, yet we are connected in time, place and optimism in our pursuit of knowledge together. Please remember that help is available for all campus community members. For students, we have summarized our full range of mental health and well-being resources on this website. Faculty and staff members are invited to check in with our Faculty Staff Help Center, WorkLife Office and BeWell. Please take good care of yourselves, your friends and your loved ones.


Susie Brubaker-Cole
Vice Provost for Student Affairs