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Notre Dame Student Dies After Roof Fall, One Day From Graduation

“It is a profound sadness for all of us, on this graduation weekend, to lose someone so young and brimming with promise.”

Last updated on May 16, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. ET

Posted on May 16, 2015, at 12:47 p.m. ET

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

A student set to graduate Sunday from Notre Dame died early on Saturday after falling from a campus roof, officials at the Indiana university announced.

Initial investigations suggest 21-year-old senior William Meckling was with a small group of students who gained access to the roof of the university's Joyce Center, a sports complex, when he slipped on the wet surface, officials said in a statement.

A campus security officer nearby was approached at 3:45 a.m. by two students who asked for his assistance.

"Upon reaching the east side of the Joyce Center, the officer observed the deceased, unresponsive, on the ground near Gate 7," the university statement read. "Emergency medical personnel also responded. CPR and other efforts to resuscitate the student were unavailing."

BREAKING: Notre Dame confirms 1 student died this morning. Our crew on campus saw ladder trucks/police near the JACC.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Billy's family and friends after this terrible tragedy," University President Rev. John I. Jenkins said. "It is a profound sadness for all of us, on this graduation weekend, to lose someone so young and brimming with promise."

Meckling, a mechanical engineering major, was originally from Centennial, Colorado.


He was also a member of the university's fencing team. "On the strip, Billy was a talented fencer and a determined worker on a very competitive sabre squad – evidenced by his earned monograms during the 2012 and 2014 seasons," head fencing coach Gia Kyaratskhelia said in a statement.

"More importantly, he was a great friend to all members of our program. A true Notre Dame man, his kindness and warmth impacted each and every one of us – and makes his loss all the more difficult," Kyaratskhelia said.

As students took part in graduation ceremonies Saturday, other members of the Notre Dame community shared their grief on Twitter.

So sad to hear about the Notre Dame senior who was about to graduate that died last night bc he fell from the roof of the Joyce Center.

Prayers to the 21 year old kid who died at Notre Dame last night set to graduate today.

Just heard that a graduating senior at ND has tragically and accidentally died last night. If you're the praying type, please do so.