Harvard Sophomore Luke Balstad Dies While Home in Michigan

Quincy House sophomore Luke T. Balstad ’25 died unexpectedly at his home in Michigan, the College announced Tuesday.

Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana described Balstad as “bright and kind” and “passionate about science and the outdoors” in an email to Harvard undergraduates on Tuesday.

“So many people loved him,” Khurana wrote.

The school did not disclose a cause of death.

In an email to Quincy residents, Faculty Deans Eric Beerbohm and Leslie J. Duhaylongsod and Resident Dean Nicole S. Simon called Balstad a “beloved” student who “brought a warmth and incredible kindness to house life.”


“We are heartbroken,” the house deans wrote. “Luke had a tight-knit friend group at Harvard and we were proud to call him a member of our Quincy House community. His passing is a loss for all of us. In difficult times, a community comes together to grieve and to share strength.”

“As Luke’s mom, Kim, said: ‘It was not his brilliance that set him apart; it was his kindness,’” they wrote.

During his time at the College, Balstad volunteered for the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, researched at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and was a member of the Harvard Outing Club, according to the house deans’ announcement. Before Balstad’s freshman year, he participated in the First-Year Outdoor Program.

In his freshman year, Balstad resided in Maple Yard. He graduated from Hudsonville High School in Hudsonville, Michigan, where he was a leader of the marching band and ran for the cross country team, the house deans said.

In his email, Khurana encouraged Harvard affiliates to check in with friends and family members in wake of the news.

“That this news is coming at a time when we have just learned of recent tragedies on campuses across the country means that you may find yourself struggling to absorb so much news of loss,” Khurana wrote. “I hope you will remember that there is no right way to mourn or feel when learning about someone’s passing.”

There will be a gathering for students to mourn Balstad at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Quincy House’s Junior Common Room, the deans announced.


If you or someone you know needs help at Harvard, contact Counseling and Mental Health Services at (617) 495-2042 or the Harvard University Police Department at (617) 495-1212. Several peer counseling groups offer confidential peer conversations. Learn more here.

You can contact a University Chaplain to speak one-on-one at or here.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

—Staff writer Vivi E. Lu can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @vivielu_.

—Staff writer Leah J. Teichholtz can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LeahTeichholtz.