Widgets Magazine


Op-Ed: On the passing of Sam Wopat ’14


Dear Stanford students:

As many of you may already know, the university tragically lost a member of the sophomore class and of the women’s volleyball team on March 25, just as many of you were ending finals and beginning spring break.
Samantha “Sam” Wopat died at Stanford Hospital, where she had been hospitalized since Saturday, March 17. A memorial service for the Stanford community has been scheduled for Memorial Church on Wednesday, April 18, at 1:30 p.m.


The death of a student is one that profoundly affects all of us.  It touches the entire university community.  It is human nature to seek explanations and closure, especially when faced with the issue of death; however, it is not always possible to have the certainty we seek.


It is unlikely that the university will release further information out of respect for the wishes of the Wopat family. I hope that, like the university, each of you will continue to recognize and respect the family’s need for privacy. We hope you will keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time.


The university continues to provide support for Sam’s teammates and friends. It is always incredibly heartbreaking when a member of our community passes away. So I would like to remind you of the campus resources that are available to Stanford students.


They include:

· Residential Education: resident assistants, resident fellows, residence deans

· Counseling and Psychological Services

· Office of Religious Life

· The Bridge Peer Counseling Center

We hope you will seek help from those resources if you need to in order to process the thoughts and feelings that may emerge in the aftermath of Sam’s passing.



Greg Boardman

Vice Provost for Student Affairs

  • Guest

    Greg- you could have used this platform to much greater effect. Sam’s death is having a devasting effect on the community. The only good that could come out of this incredibly sad event would be have people speak and help those in trouble. An eating disorder , followed by suicide should be a call to action. Your wishy washy reminder of services leaves a lot be be desired.

  • Professor Pat

    I couldn’t agree more.  Drawing a veil of secrecy around the circumstances of Samantha’s death is wrong on so many different levels, not the least of which is the legacy of shame that lingers in the aftermath of her tragic passing.  

  • Guest

    Stanford has badly mishandled this tragic incident. It is time to come clean with the details so that all of those who have been affected can grieve appropriately, consider the implications, and move on…

  • parent

    Yes, please, educate the coaches, faculty, staff, and students how to realize when someone is in trouble and how to get them the help they need.

  • GS

    Anything coming out of the university would have to be
    approved by counsel first.  Given a
    choice between doing the right thing or adhering to risk management protocols,
    the latter will win.

  • The Wopat’s have full control over Sam’s medical records and it’s illegal under HIPAA federal privacy regulations to discuss them without immediate family approval.  

    I think what has been so bothersome is the callousness of people complaining about the Wopat’s not doing enough.  

    Stanford is limited in what they can say and they’ve handled it the way they should have.  Compassion is > morbid curiosity. 

    I also am appalled at those that want so much done, yet they do nothing.  It’s easy to complain from your couch, but you are not going through this.  The pain of the family is beyond words. 

    If people are really so concerned then they need to volunteer their time and efforts to suicide groups that always need help and volunteers.  The Wopat’s are just trying to survive.  Give them time.   The internet still doesn’t give people the right to know everything now.  

  • mother of athlete

    Dear Mr. Boardman,
    could you please follow up with what resources, outreach, education are being made available? Also, suicide of college athlete is, unfortunately, not that uncommon. Is anything done to address the specific circumstances of athletes on campus, such as, educating of coaches, trainers, athletic support personnel, and special resources for athletes?