January 31, 2023
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Ithaca College mourns death of residence director

Ithaca College campus community members gathered at 4 p.m. Nov. 8, 2019, at the Muller Chapel for a service in memorial for Michael Palumbo, a residence director for upper Terraces who died Nov. 7.

Palumbo, 28, died in his on-campus residence. No foul play is suspected, Rosanna Ferro, vice president of the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life, said in an email announcement to the campus community Nov. 7. Palumbo joined the college’s staff in August and served as a residence director for Terraces Residence Halls 713.

Hierald Osorto, director of religious and spiritual life, welcomed attendees to the service.

“My hope is that when we gather together, that we feel held, that we feel loved and that you are reminded of the community that holds you,” Osorto said.

Osorto read the poem “A Blessing for the Brokenhearted” by Jan Richardson during the service.

“Let us agree for now that we will not say the breaking makes us stronger or that it is better to have this pain than to have done without this love,” read Osorto.

Ferro also spoke at the service about the importance of supporting those who are grieving.

“I hope you all continue to lean on each other, lean on us,” Ferro said. “You have individuals all over that want to support you, and we are here for you.”

Senior Kayla Shuster shared a statement from Shadae Mallory, residence director for lower Terraces. Mallory could not attend the service but wanted Shuster to share a message on their behalf, Shuster said.

“Mike was a lover of quotes, and he shared this with me early in our relationship,” Shuster read. “Neil deGrasse Tyson has said, ‘We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.’ Mike may not be with us physically anymore, but he will always be a part of this universe no matter what we believed about the afterlife.”

Those that attended were invited to light candles in remembrance of Palumbo and partake in a moment of silence in his memory.

Support services to all members of the college community are available through the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) by calling 607-274-3136. After-hours counseling services are available any time CAPS is closed, including nights, weekends, holidays and during campus closures, by calling the main number. Anyone needing immediate assistance should contact the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management at 607-274-3333. Faculty and staff can access the counseling services of the Employee Assistance Program by calling 1-800-327-2255.

Cora Payne can be reached at cpayne2@ithaca.edu