Popular TCU graduate found dead in New York City

12/26/2013 9:44 PM

12/26/2013 9:46 PM

A popular graduate of Texas Christian University, who distinguished himself as a dancer and honor student, was found dead Sunday in New York City, officials said.

Clay York, 21, a native of the Cleveland, Ohio, area, graduated magna cum laude in May. He had a double major in ballet and modern dance and minored in journalism.

He was crowned “Mr. TCU” at homecoming 2012.

York was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m. Sunday, a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner’s office said Thursday evening. The medical examiner has not ruled on the cause of his death pending the results of tests, the spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for the New York Police Department confirmed that York was found at an address in the 500 block of West 169th Street. The street is in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan.

The police spokeswoman said investigators were awaiting the cause of the death from the medical examiner’s office before deciding whether there will be further investigation. She declined to provide further information.

York was in New York City to pursue his career. The Gibney Dance company’s website listed him as a marketing intern. In his staff bio, the company noted that he had recently apprenticed with the prestigious Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini wrote in an email to TCU 360, the campus online news service, that he was “heartbroken” to hear about York's death and that people had been texting him about it.

This “just shows how many of us he touched,” he wrote.

On his LinkedIn page, York stated that he was “very passionate about serving others” and hoped to become a lawyer following a career in dance.

“I plan to do a lot of lobbying to promote arts education and education in general,” he wrote. He left open the possibility of also one day becoming a U.S. senator.

A Facebook page titled “Best Memories of Clay York” was created to remember him.

His father, Rik York, wrote a Facebook entry that was repeated in the article at TCU 360.

“He personified love with a warm easy smile and robust non negotiated hugs,” his father wrote. “He was groomed for greatness.”

York’s LinkedIn resume includes his work as a student assistant at TCU orientation, a peer tutor in the William L. Adams Center for Writing, and a maintenance worker.

Another article at TCU 360, posted in April, showed the love his peers had for him. A few weeks before graduation, York described how, in his sophomore year, his mother died, and he returned home to Ohio for her funeral.

When he got back to Fort Worth, fellow students handed him an envelope containing $400 cash that they collected to help cover his travel costs.

“Those people love and appreciate what I do for them,” he told the news service, “so in turn, they did something to have a positive effect on my life.”

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