Curtin ’08 dies after collapsing during Baltimore Marathon
Curtin, 23, fell at around 11:20 a.m. at the 25-mile marker near the course’s last medical station. He was immediately taken to Union Memorial Hospital, event organizer Lee Corrigan told The Baltimore Sun.
Debra Schindler, a hospital spokeswoman, told the Sun that the runner never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 1:11 p.m. after doctors unsuccessfully tried to revive him. The state’s medical examiner office scheduled an autopsy later Saturday to determine a cause of death.
Upon hearing the news of his friend’s death, Nick Adam ’08 said his initial reaction was one of “shock and devastation.” “He was the type of guy who would’ve been best man at everyone’s wedding, the primary speaker at everyone’s funeral … I don’t think anybody has as many best friends as [Curtin] did,” Adam explained. “He was greatly loved.”
Corrigan told the Sun that the race had seven medical stations along the course that were staffed by roughly 250 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.
A native of Wilmington, N.C., Curtin was a chemistry graduate student at MIT. At Princeton, he was a concentrator in the chemistry department and also received a certificate in applications of computing.
“He was absolutely just one of those rare people who could simultaneously be the life of the party and also was without question one of my smartest friends,” Dean Scott ’07 said of Curtin, who was known by many of his friends as “Dapper.”
“Pete never shortchanged anything … He was the guy who was up all night drinking energy drinks and outworking everybody else in the class,” said Samson Mesghena ’08, Curtin’s roommate of four years. “At the same time he could study until 2 in the morning and then go out until 6 in the morning with his friends. He put his full effort into everything he did. He was never the person to say, ‘I’m too tired, I’m just going to go to sleep.’ ”
A goalie for the University men’s club lacrosse team and a member of Tiger Inn, Curtin was the son of Michael Curtin ’73.
“The one thing that rises above all else is how beautifully selfless Pete was. I can honestly say I’ve never met another human being who’s as genuinely selfless as Dapper … every action that he took was in consideration of those around him,” Mesghena said. During freshman year check-in, he added, Curtin “was the first person to get to our room, and he took the smallest room and the bunk bed.”
Under the direction of former chemistry professor Stefan Bernhard, Curtin focused his research at Princeton on the photogeneration of hydrogen from water. He authored a 102-page thesis titled “Structure-Activity Correlations Among Heteroleptic Iridiium (III) Photosensitizers in a Novel Catalytic Water Reducing System.”
Bernhard said that Curtin joined his lab in 2006, working in his lab during his junior year and summer, ultimately completing his senior thesis under Bernhard as well. “He was just extremely bright. He was spectacular,” Bernhard said. While most students “probably avoid loading and emptying the dishwasher, he was always doing much more than his share of lab housekeeping work,” and was a team player who would “take on more of the load for himself than what was expected,” Bernhard said.
While at Princeton, Curtin won the Global Photonic Corporation Edith and Martin B. Stein Solar Energy Award, given to a student “who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and innovation in research that significantly advances the field of global renewable energy resources.”
“I can’t remember a time when he was less than nice to somebody or was ever mean. Which I can’t say about myself or anybody else I know, really. He was truly a great friend,” said Derek Yecies ’08, also Curtin’s roommate of four years. “He was just such an incredibly good person … I think it was sort of hardwired into him somewhere.”
“He just had this ability to make any situation better,” Adam said. “Any room was automatically happier just because he was there.”
A memorial service for Curtin will be held in the University Chapel on Oct. 25.