An incident of terrorism that takes the lives of innocent people anywhere in the world
touches each of us in our fundamental humanity. But the effect is more pronounced
– and far more personal – when our community is directly linked to such a horrendous
I am deeply saddened to inform you that yesterday's truck attack in New York City
took the life of a recent Skidmore graduate, Nicholas Cleves '16. He was 23 years
old and living in New York, working as a software engineer, analyst, and web developer.
At Skidmore, Nicholas was a Computer Science major and Physics minor, and studied
Italian. He also worked as an IT Help Desk assistant and astronomy tutor.
Our hearts go out to Nicholas's mother, Monica Missio, who is a member of the Skidmore
class of 1981, the other members of his family, and his closest friends. At moments
such as these, we realize anew how powerless are our words in the face of profound
grief. Even so, we reach out to offer our thoughts and prayers, along with the hope
that knowing that others are also touched by this loss may provide at least some small
measure of comfort.
For anyone who needs support, Counseling Services may be reached at 518-580-5555. As a reminder, all employees may utilize the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which may be reached at 518-793-9768. Wilson Chapel is open from 9:00–11:00
p.m. today; 8:00 a.m.–2 p.m. Thursday; and 12:00–2:00 p.m. and 6:30–10:30 p.m. Friday.
When confronted by a seemingly endless series of tragic and absurd events, we naturally
react first with sadness and then anger, and those emotions motivate us to take action
to confront such senseless threats to public safety. However, our best actions – whether
individual or political ones – are guided not just by emotion but much more by reason.
As a college community especially, we need to reflect not just on the acts of violence
but on their causes and, above all, on the most effective ways to prevent them in
Ultimately, we must retain our faith in the future – of our nation and the world.
In commenting on New York City's decision to hold yesterday's Halloween Parade as
planned, as a symbol of normalcy and determination, NBC commentator Peter Howell praised
the City's commitment to remain "defiantly optimistic." I hope we can embrace this
attitude ourselves, remaining defiantly optimistic, even when challenged by events
such as the needless death of a promising young member of the Skidmore family. The
future, ultimately, is what we make it to be. And we must remain committed to this