Update for Tuesday, Jan. 7:

Members of the campus community are invited to join the staff and students of El Centro Chicano y Latino on Thursday, Jan. 9, from noon to 1 p.m. to remember Roberto “Beto” Velazquez and his family. Velazquez, who was a graduate student in electrical engineering, died over winter break.

A small altar will be installed in the El Centro Lounge where people can leave handwritten notes in his honor.


Dear Stanford community,

I am very sorry to interrupt the winter break to share, along with the President and Provost, the terribly sad news of the death of a graduate student in our community.

We have been informed that Roberto Velazquez, who was a first-year master’s student in electrical engineering at Stanford, died on December 25 at home in New Mexico. Our understanding from the authorities is that Roberto and the other members of his immediate family were found deceased at their house following a domestic incident.

Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with everyone who knew and loved Roberto and his family – their relatives and friends in New Mexico, as well as Roberto’s friends, faculty and classmates at Stanford.  Our deepest sympathies are also with the community of Stanford’s El Centro Chicano y Latino, where Roberto was a regular attendee at Friday Cafecito.

Together as a Stanford community, we mourn this loss and family tragedy.  We feel the stark contrast of this profoundly sad news with the spirit of joy, love and charity we normally associate with the winter holidays. Though most of us are away from campus for the winter break, we remind everyone of the importance of finding support in the strength of our community, reaching out for help, and knowing that we will be there for one another.

Resources continue to be available over the break to anyone in our community who is in need of support in the wake of this profoundly sad news. The Graduate Life Office deans are available to help graduate and professional school students 24/7 at (650) 723-7288; provide pager ID number 25085 to the operator.  CAPS on-call services are available 24/7 for all students at (650) 723-3785.  Stanford community members in need of pastoral or spiritual counseling over the break can email Dean for Religious Life Tiffany Steinwert at tsteinwe@stanford.eduContact information for additional student resources is posted on the Student Affairs website. The Faculty Staff Help Center is available to all faculty, staff and post-docs on or after January 6.

Please also know that we are providing support to those in our community who we know were close to Roberto, and that we will convey more information, as available and aligned with family wishes, after the break. We send best wishes for everyone’s safe travels back to campus for the start of winter quarter.

Best regards,

Susie Brubaker-Cole
Vice Provost for Student Affairs