Rising fourth-year Austin Hudson-LaPore’s body was found early Wednesday morning in Lake Michigan after he had been missing from his off-campus apartment since June 12. His family and close friends described him as a lover of the outdoors and as a passionate biochemistry student.
A massive search for Hudson-LaPore, 20, began last Friday morning after the Chicago Police Department declared him missing. His father, Gregg LaPore, accompanied by his mother and sister, held a press conference that night asking for the community’s help in finding their son. Through the weekend and the early part of this week, Hudson-LaPore’s family, friends, and community members searched for him in Hyde Park and along the lakefront.
His death is believed to be accidental, although the official cause has not yet been announced. LaPore said that his son had a fascination with the weather and may have ventured out to see the aftermath of thunderstorms that rolled through the area last Wednesday.
Rising fourth-years Emily Gerry and Aenea Raskin described Hudson-LaPore as a very kind and extremely intelligent friend who was always smiling.
During her first year on campus, Gerry recalls the first concert she played in for the University Symphony Orchestra and how nervous she was that her friends wouldn’t come see her perform. “After the show I went out to the reception, and Austin was there grinning,” she said. He told her he didn’t really like the first piece but said that she did a really good job. “He genuinely enjoyed being there for me...he continued to be there [for the other concerts],” she added.
Hudson-LaPore loved nature, the outdoors, hiking, was a member of the Outdoor Adventure Club, and was a member of Quiz Bowl for his first and second years. “He could out-hike his entire family,” Raskin said. “If they went ten miles, he would go 16 if he could.”
When Raskin first met Hudson-LaPore, she said that he was very shy but had become a very outgoing person since then. He enjoyed classical music and went out of his way to make sure that all of his friends went to a Yo-Yo Ma concert earlier this year.
“When Yo-Yo Ma came out to play, Austin leaned forward and he grinned so much,” Raskin recalled. “He was so happy to be there with his friends...the image of his face at that moment you just can’t get down on paper.”
Among his passion for the outdoors, Gerry and Raskin also described his enthusiasm for chemistry and science. After graduation, both said that Hudson-LaPore wanted to pursue graduate studies in chemistry and eventually continue research in that field.
This summer, Hudson-LaPore was planning to work at a lab on campus and relax before he started his fourth year at the University, LaPore said.
University President Robert Zimmer notified students and staff of Hudson-LaPore’s death via e-mail and showed his support, as did Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Karen Warren Coleman in a statement on the University Web site.
“We feel a great loss when any member of our community dies. In this case we share our grief with thousands of people across the city, in our alumni community, and around the world, who offered their help in the search for our student,” Zimmer wrote in his statement to the University community.
Hudson-LaPore, a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is survived by his father, Gregg LaPore, his mother, Laurie Hudson, and his sister, Aidan Hudson-LaPore. Memorial services have not yet been announced.