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Notre Dame Student Falls To His Death One Day Before Graduation

05/16/2015 02:43 pm ET | Updated May 21, 2015
Jonathan Daniel via Getty Images

A University of Notre Dame student died early Saturday morning, one day before his commencement ceremony, after falling from the roof of a campus building.

William "Billy" Meckling, 21, fell from the roof the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center on Saturday around 3:45 a.m., local NBC affiliate WNDU 16 reported. An initial investigation revealed that he went up there with a small group of friends and the roof was slippery from earlier rains.

The Indiana college student was a mechanical engineering major from Colorado and member of the Notre Dame fencing team.

In a letter shared by Notre Dame's student newspaper, university president the Rev. John I. Jenkins and other campus officials confirmed Meckling's death and offered support to grieving students.

"Our deepest condolences and prayers are with all of you, as well as with Billy's family and friends," they wrote in an email sent to the student body, detailing how students could access counseling services. "Billy will be remembered at today's Baccalaureate mass."

In another statement shared by the student newspaper, head fencing coach Gia Kvaratskhelia recalled Meckling as an invaluable member of the team who brought "positive spirit, energy and camaraderie" to practices.

"A true Notre Dame man, his kindness and warmth impacted each and every one of us -- and make his loss all the more difficult," he wrote.

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