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Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Funeral services for Alan Ebersole held this week in Vicksburg, Miss.

Events honoring the life of Princeton sophomore Alan Ebersole will be held this week in Vicksburg, Miss. Visitation will be between 3 and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, at Riles Funeral Home, 5000 Indiana Ave. The funeral Mass will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, at St. Paul Catholic Church, 713 Crawford St.

In lieu of flowers, the Ebersole family requests that donations be made in Alan's name to the United Way of Central Mississippi, Teen Help, 920 South St., Vicksburg, MS 39180; Vicksburg Catholic Schools, 1900 Grove St., Vicksburg, MS 39183; or Vicksburg Swim Association, c/o Craig Fischemich, 1100 Newitt-Vick Drive, Vicksburg, MS 39183.

Ebersole, a member of the University's men's swimming and diving team, died this weekend in an accident while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast. He was 20 years old.

Broward County Sheriff's officials said preliminary reports indicate that this was an accidental death by drowning. No foul play, alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident, officials said.

Ebersole was training with the men's and women's swimming and diving teams in Deerfield Beach, Fla., during the fall semester recess. Ebersole and two teammates left their hotel room around 10:30 p.m. Friday for a late night swim in the ocean, sheriff's officials said. The other students, who emerged from the water approximately a half hour later, were unable to locate Ebersole. Public safety officials in Broward County located his body around 1 a.m. Saturday three-quarters of a mile away from where the group was swimming, officials said.

Ebersole, who lived in Butler College, competed in the 200- and 100-meter breaststroke. He was studying Spanish and politics, among other academic pursuits. In Vicksburg, Ebersole graduated in 2003 from St. Aloysius High School and was salutatorian of his class. He was a member of the high school's swim team coached by his father, Bruce.

President Shirley M. Tilghman, who was traveling in Asia at the time, was notified and expressed her sincere condolences to Ebersole's family, friends and teammates. Provost Christopher L. Eisgruber spoke with Ebersole's parents and also notified the campus community of the loss.

"This is another tragic and untimely loss for our community," said Janet Smith Dickerson, vice president for campus life. "We deeply regret this tragedy and extend our sympathy to Alan's family, friends and teammates."

Survivors include his parents, Bruce Alan and Story Stamm Ebersole, and younger brothers, John Bernard and James Stamm, all of Vicksburg.

Students from the swim teams, who received grief counseling in Florida, gathered on the beach Saturday morning to place flowers in the water and pay their respects to Ebersole. The teams returned to Princeton on Sunday.

"Our heart goes out to the family, to the members of the swim team and the coaches," said Gary Walters, Princeton director of athletics. "This makes one ponder these kinds of events but, more importantly, it makes us value the friendships we have."

An informal gathering in Ebersole's honor was held at Wu Lounge in Butler College on Saturday. A vigil for students and other community members was held Sunday in the Chancellor Green rotunda. Counselors from University Health Services and religious life deans continue to be available for students, faculty and staff. University Health Services is open 24 hours and students may also call the Counseling and Psychological Services team at 258-3139 or 258-3285.

A University memorial service will be held at a later date.

Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601

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