Former Stan State student, Tyler Schripsema, died at the age of 23 last Sunday just days after graduating with a degree in Business Administration.
He died after a swimming accident while attending a music festival in Bradley, California.
Tyler’s mother, Lisa Schripsema, was one of the first to find out. It was a combination of phone calls and social media that led to her hearing the news.
“I received a call from my mother saying that someone had called her looking for Lisa, that and a lot of the nurses at the hospital were trying to contact me on Facebook,” Schripsema said.
Around 8 pm that night, Tyler was taken to Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton, Ca.
According to Schripsema, an autopsy revealed that Tyler had dislocated his neck while swimming at Lake San Antonio, which led to trauma to the spinal column and ultimately Tyler's death.
Alex Elwood, Tyler’s cousin, found out via phone call that Tyler was in critical condition around 11:45 that night.
“My aunt called us and told us that he was in an accident and it didn't look good. I immediately started crying and my heart sunk into my stomach hearing the news and had a panic attack,” Elwood said, “We grew up together as brother and sister and so the news scared me to think that I was going to be alone.”
Tyler had just walked the stage at Stan State’s 2018 Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, May 24. He was surrounded by his friends, family and fraternity brothers.
Eric Perez (freshman, Communication), was a friend and member of Theta Chi with Tyler.
“Tyler was a huge leader in the fraternity and he was a guy we all looked up to,” Perez said, “Tyler has impacted my life by setting the bar on how every resolute man of Theta Chi should be.”
In addition to being a member of Theta Chi, Schripsema was an Eagle Scout, founder of the Marketing club at Stan State, and a leader in the community.
“Tyler loved helping people, he was the Philanthropy chair for Theta Chi one year and was involved in new student orientation,” Schripsema said, “he always wanted to make people feel better and he was always shining his light on others.”
In addition to the organizations that Tyler was involved with, he was known for his random acts of kindness and being a good friend to others.
“He was really passionate about fighting homelessness. He would carry coats and old clothing in his car and just hand them out and talk to people in need.” Schripsema said, “he is going to be missed by so many people.”
“No matter how long he went without talking to someone, he would message them out of the blue or catch them on the street and act like they were best friends,” Elwood said.
Family and friends are deeply saddened by the loss and are currently working on funeral arrangements. To help with funeral cost, Theta Chi has set up a Go Fund Me account in Tyler’s memory.