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by Leah Wankum
Managing Editor

A UCM student died in a skateboarding accident Saturday morning.

Dylan M. Austin, 26, of Independence, Mo., was riding his skateboard at approximately 2:17 a.m. on College Avenue when he lost control and struck his head on the concrete curb, according to a Warrensburg Police report.

Austin was a graduate student in the nutrition and kinesiology department. He was going to graduate in May.

Mike Godard, department chair who had Austin in a few classes, said he will be greatly missed.

“He was a very thoughtful, very conscientious, responsible young man,” Godard said. “Well-known, well-liked, always positive, always smiling.”

Austin was also an undergraduate in kinesiology, so he had been involved in the department for the past six years. Steven Burns, associate professor of kinesiology, said Austin worked hard in his classes.

“He was very respectful, cheerful, most of the time had a really, really good disposition,” Burns said. “He was a diligent worker, a good student. I never ever had to worry about Dylan’s work product or integrity. He was always above reproach in whatever he did.”

Burns said he recommended Austin for a position at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center around the time the facility opened.

“He actually started as a personal trainer there,” he said. “He did a great job for the rec and wellness center while he was a grad student.”

Burns said he hopes people take what happened and change what they say and do to others.

“I know the last interaction I had with Dylan was good because my interactions are always good with him,” he said. “I don’t specifically remember which one it was.

“I just hope people can look at that and think about what they’re doing and the interactions they have with other people, because you never know when people are going to be gone.”

Andrew Elfrink, one of Austin’s friends, said he used to skateboard with him.

“I’ve been down that same hill with him,” he said. “I’ve been down that hill hundreds of times, so it really puts things in perspective.”

Elfrink said Austin was always in a good mood whenever he saw him.

“He never brought any negative vibes with him,” Elfrink said. “He was always upbeat, really personable. When you talked to him, he was always listening, not thinking of what he was going to say next.”

Anthony Morris, another friend of Austin, said he never met someone with so much energy and enthusiasm.

“He had a real passion for helping others and making the world a better place,” Morris said. “Dylan was a great friend, and I’ll never forget that smile.”

Burns said Austin was a good man who will be missed.

“He’s going to leave a hole here that can’t be filled.”

Memorial services are planned for tomorrow at the Carson-Speaks Chapel located at 1501 W. Lexington Ave., Independence, Mo. The visitation is from 5 to 7 p.m., followed by a service at 7 p.m. The university also planned a memorial event at 4 p.m. Monday in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

Austin’s family has designated memorial contributions for UCM Breakers-Habitat for Humanity and The Campus Cupboard.

Individuals who want to contribute should make checks payable to UCM and indicate which organization they want to donate to. Checks can be sent to the Office of Student Activities located in Union 217.


Click here for more stories by Leah Wankum, or follow her on Twitter @leahwankum.

 

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