Update: The New Mexico memorial service for Austin Hudson-Lapore will be held at Albuquerque Academy on July 7 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Those who cannot attend the service in person can watch a live stream of the event at http://www.rememberingaustin.com/memorials.html. A campus memorial service will be held at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. Central Time.
Austin Hudson-Lapore loved numbers. He loved them in the elegant equations and formulas he studied as a biological chemistry student at the University of Chicago, in NASCAR results and baseball statistics, on the Weather Channel as a child, and in his winning Scrabble scores. He loved the ninth and tenth floors of Pierce Tower, where he found a community of friends in Shorey House. He loved the structures and emotion of classical music. He loved to walk the paths along the lake. But most of all, he loved his family and friends.
Hudson-Lapore, 20, had been missing since June 12. After a long search, Chicago police recovered his body in Lake Michigan on Wednesday, June 19. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office concluded that the cause of death was accidental drowning.
“We are heartbroken at this tragic outcome,” University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer wrote in a message to the campus community. “I want to extend the sympathy and condolences of the University of Chicago community to Austin’s family and to his friends here at the University, who have carried the weight of this turn of events.”
Hudson-Lapore came to UChicago from Albuquerque, N.M., where he attended the Albuquerque Academy.
Hudson-Lapore’s love of science flourished at the Albuquerque Academy. He participated in Science Olympiad, placing fourth in the national tournament for cell biology and fifth in environmental chemistry as a senior. He also was a member of the Albuquerque Academy’s Science Bowl team, which represented New Mexico at the National Science Bowl four times and placed second in 2006.
At UChicago, Hudson-Lapore joined the Quiz Bowl team and participated in the Outdoor Adventure Club. Before moving to an off-campus apartment, he was a resident of Shorey House in Pierce Tower.
“Austin was a promising student who was active on campus and very engaged in the Shorey House community. Our University community will continue to remember him and celebrate his life,” Karen Warren Coleman, vice president for Campus Life and Student Services, said in a statement on June 19.
His Shorey House resident heads, Evan and Tricia Kuehn, recalled Hudson-Lapore’s intellectual curiosity and commitment to his house. “He always attended our weekly coffee hour and engaged with his friends, and was a frequent participant in house activities. Austin always spoke his mind, and I remember him being a great conversation partner who would engage on any number of issues at the dining table, in the house lounge, or in our apartment,” they said.
Hudson-Lapore was a classical music aficionado who enjoyed the outdoors and sports, especially baseball. He spent the hours after finishing his final exams on June 12 browsing sports scores online and watching the progress of an approaching “derecho,” a line of fast-moving thunderstorms.
From an early age, Hudson-Lapore developed a fascination with the weather and could watch the Weather Channel for hours. His family believes Hudson-Lapore walked to Promontory Point to watch the thunderstorm that passed through Chicago on June 12.
He is survived by his parents, Gregg LaPore and Laurie Hudson, and his sister, Aidan Hudson-Lapore. The family has established a website, http://www.rememberingaustin.com, where people can share their memories and photographs of Hudson-Lapore.