Robert Yin, a pole vaulter on Grinnell College's track and field team, died Tuesday after falling at a track meet last week. The sophomore, who grew up in Rockville, Md., "always had a smile on his face," one student told the Des Moines Register.
Yin had been in critical condition at an Illinois hospital since falling at a competition last Friday. An assistant coach told the State Journal Register that after an awkward vault, Yin "kind of slid, grazed the mat and landed on his back."
A letter at Grinnell's web site says Yin was surrounded by "family, friends, and Grinnell staff and teammates" at the hospital. Scroll down to see the full notice:
Dear Members of the Grinnell College Community:
It is with enormous sadness that we announce the death of Robert Zhongjie Yin '12, in Springfield, Illinois surrounded by his family and with W. Houston Dougharty, Vice-President for Student Affairs, and Deanna Shorb, Dean for Religious Life and Chaplain. This tragedy is a moment to reflect on the great wonder of life and in particular of Robert's. We observed a wonderful family come together to be with him at this time. They are grateful to his Grinnell friends and his wider circle of family and friends who supported them and gave them their love and support.
Robert fell during a pole vault jump on Friday at the conference meet at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Ill. He sustained severe injuries and had been hospitalized in critical condition in a Springfield, Ill., hospital where family, friends, and Grinnell staff and teammates had gathered. Robert's family notified the college this afternoon of his passing.
Robert became an instant friend of DC Posse members, many of whom lived near his home of Rockville, Md., and considered him an honorary Posse member. A music major, he was an active member of the G-Tones. Robert participated on the men's track and field team, was an employee of the training room, and frequent Frisbee player.
A tragic event like this touches all members of the campus community, and we encourage people to find the support needed. Walk-in counseling is available weekdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the Health Center. Members of the staff from Student Affairs (641-269-3700) and CRSSJ (641-269-4981) are available for support and consultation. Counseling is also available at Poweshiek County Mental Health Center by calling 641-236-6137 for appointments or for the on call counselor evenings and weekends. Your RLCs are always available for support also.
Robert's family is in the midst of making celebration of life arrangements. They have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the Grinnell community. Messages for the family can be left on Robert's Facebook page (profile name: Robert Celleremus Giger, or search for his email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Cards for the family may be left at Student Affairs, JRC 310.
Due to the close of the academic year, it is likely that a campus memorial service will be held next fall when students return to campus. Updates about these services will be sent via email to the campus community. We encourage you to reach out to one another at this difficult time and to continue to share condolences and show support for Robert's family and friends. You may also find it helpful to be in touch with your loved ones off campus; they can be of great support.
Our thoughts are with you.
Russell K. Osgood and W. Houston Dougharty