Milton Chester, assistant dean of students for off-campus programs and services at Binghamton University, died in his home on Monday, Jan. 6, according to a B-Line announcement released on Tuesday morning.
According to Ryan Yarosh, BU’s senior director of media and public relations, Chester, who began working at the University in 2000, died of natural causes.
Chester launched his career at BU in Division of Student Affairs, where he held multiple roles, including his most recent. As assistant dean for off-campus programs and services, Chester was directly involved with assisting students with problems and concerns related to off-campus living. He also was active in BU’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program, also known as JUMP Nation.
“Chester was further a passionate advocate for the success of men of color on campus and for University outreach to young people of color through programs such as JUMP Nation,” the B-Line announcement read. “He was a strong supporter of the cultural student community as illustrated through his assistance with programming for multiple cultural organizations.”
Before coming to BU, Chester earned his bachelor’s degree from Albion College and his master’s degree from Michigan State University. During his time at BU, he “embraced the role of student mentor, confidante and advisor,” according to the B-Line announcement.
“Not only was his door always open to any student who wanted to talk, but he was a constant presence at student events on and off campus,” the B-Line announcement read.
Vanessa Young, a senior academic counselor at EOP, wrote in a statement that Chester will be remembered for his “kindness and good works.”
“Milton always took the time to listen and understand the needs of others,” Young wrote. “He was known for always attending the many campus events held by students, departments and programs … He enjoyed attending such events because it gave him the opportunity to compliment students, to provide encouragement as well as congratulate them on their success in and outside of the classroom.”
Campus officials are urging students and staff struggling with Chester’s death to reach out to the Dean of Students Office and the CARE Team. A remembrance ceremony will be held in the beginning of the spring semester, but the University has yet to announce a date for the event.