By Daniel Wu
Langston Wesley ’20 died in San Jose on April 4, according to an announcement from Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole on Tuesday. Wesley was 31.
“We were fortunate he chose Stanford and his presence is greatly missed,” Brubaker-Cole wrote.
At the time of his death Wesley was living off campus, according to Brubaker-Cole. An art practice major and member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Wesley started at Stanford in 2006 before taking several leaves of absence in 2009. He returned to Stanford in 2017.
Wesley was “a sweet and kind spirit,” his family wrote in a statement shared by Brubaker-Cole. “He loved his family dearly and enjoyed spending time with them. He was quite a personality and would light up a room when he entered. With an infectious smile and unyielding energy, he embarked on a path of many accomplishments in science, art, writing, and music.”
Friends and communities are planning to honor Wesley’s memory in several ways. Kappa Alpha Psi is creating an arts scholarship for students of color in Langston’s name, according to the fraternity’s vice president, Sean Howard ’20 M.S. ’21. The group is also organizing a “memorial virtual challenge” for students to submit creative media to be featured alongside Wesley’s artwork in Stanford’s MINT magazine.
“As Langston was someone who struggled with mental health issues, we hope to open discussion on increasing mental health support for Black students on campus,” Howard wrote in a statement to The Daily.
Growing up in Chicago, Wesley graduated from Morgan Park High School as the first African American male valedictorian in the school’s 90-year history.
On campus, Wesley was remembered for his outgoing nature and booming laugh.
“It was easy for you to start laughing with him whenever he started laughing even though there was nothing to laugh about,” said Kevin Dumolga ’09. “He was somebody who you could always count on to have a laugh or have a good time with.”
“I initially met Langston when I was moving into … Ujamaa in the fall of 2007,” wrote Aaron Grayson ’11 in a statement to The Daily. “My frosh roommate and I were unpacking, and this guy came through with some of his sophomore classmates and with a loud voice said, ‘So who’s in my old room?!’ and introduced himself as Langston Wesley … He had a big smile on his face, and wanted to make sure we felt welcomed to Stanford.”
“As I had a chance to reconnect with Langston in 2017, he still had that same booming laugh, great smile, and genuine curiosity about people, the world and his art,” Grayson added. “I wish more of the community got a chance to experience his brilliance and love for other people.”
A talented artist, Wesley worked in painting and music production. He lived in Ohio during his time away from Stanford and had his artwork exhibited in Corcoran Fine Arts, a Cleveland art gallery.
“Anytime somebody passes young it’s sad and untimely but I think for Langston it’s even more so because we all just envisioned his energetic spirit living on and on and on,” Dumolga said.
Contact Daniel Wu at dwu21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.
Support is available for students through Stanford’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (650) 498-2336. The Graduate Life Office (GLO) is available 24/7 via the Stanford operator at (650) 723-7288, pager 25085, and during office hours at (650) 736-7078. The Bridge Peer Counseling Center offers counseling by trained students 24/7 at (650) 723-3392. The Faculty Staff Help Center, located in Kingscote Gardens, offers confidential help for Stanford faculty and staff.