Passing of James Hayes IV ’24

It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you of the unexpected passing this weekend of James Hayes IV. He was from Londonderry, New Hampshire where he lived with his parents and sister.  

Jay, as he was known to his fraternity brothers, friends, and classmates, was a senior in the Biomedical Engineering program, and he was a student in the Life Sciences Entrepreneurship MBA program. He was an exceptional student who shined from day one. He was named to the Dean’s List throughout his freshman year, and he was also selected as an I-PERSIST Chemistry Mentor for new freshmen. Jay was a recipient of the RPI Leadership Scholarship, and spent a semester as an undergraduate research assistant in the lab of Richard Gross, Ph.D.

Jay aspired to work in the medical devices industry. As part of his senior capstone project, Jay collaborated with Jason Heckman, MD, a surgeon specializing in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, to develop an improved suture needle insertion and removal device for robot-assisted surgery. Previously he worked as a Bioinformatics Analyst for the Regenerative Research Foundation and Neural Stem Cell Institute.

Outside of academic and professional endeavors, Jay was very involved in campus life and his community. Jay loved his fraternity brothers in Pi Lambda Phi, where he was the VP of Communications. He also wanted to make a difference in the lives of those with special needs. Earlier this year he began working as a client liaison manager for the Center for Disability Services in his hometown in New Hampshire, where he often served as a volunteer basketball coach for Special Olympics.

Jay clearly had tremendous impact at RPI and was destined to change the world. We are heartbroken by his passing. Please look out for and lean on each other during this very difficult time. Counseling and grief services are available for students through the Rensselaer Counseling Center. Schedule sessions via email at, by phone at (518) 276-6479, or use the Student Health Portal.

Faculty and staff seeking counseling and grief support may contact the Employee Assistance Program by calling (800) 327-2251.

Chaplains are also available to provide grief counseling and support for anyone in the Rensselaer community. Call Religious Affairs at (518) 276-6518 or contact Father Larry Rice.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jay’s family, fraternity brothers, friends, classmates, and professors.

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