A popular Lafayette College freshman—and standout fencer and student from Montclair—died of cardiac arrest after drinking heavily on Saturday to celebrate his 19th birthday, Cinco de Mayo, and All College Day, his mother, Joanne Glenn, told Montclair Patch on Monday.
Everett Glenn, who graduated from Montclair Kimberley Academy last year, was found unresponsive in his dorm room at 2:01 p.m. on Saturday by his fellow students and was pronounced dead at Easton Hospital in Pennsylvania about 30 minutes later, according to the college's website.
At both MKA and Lafayette College on Monday, teachers and students recognized Everett Glenn as a model student and citizen. Lafayette, for example, will commission a new award in the 2012-13 school year—the "Everett Glenn Fencer of the Year Award".
"It was a combination ... he was celebrating his birthday, Cinco de Mayo, and All College Day ... all the kids look forward to this," Joanne Glenn said. "My son never did binge drinking and he did not have a drinking problem. The binge drinking was not characteristic of Everett in any way."
All College Day is a long-standing campus tradition that occurs the day after the last day of classes as a way to celebrate the coming of summer.
Joanne Glenn said he suffered from aspiration of vomit but that he didn't normally drink. She added that an emergency room doctor said the cause of death was cardiac arrest.
Everett Glenn was celebrating three separate occasions on Saturday but went to lie down in the early afternoon. The engineering student called "Mr. Mayor" by his classmates because of his charisma was then found unconscious.
Experts say that consumption of alcohol in excess of four to five drinks or more is considered binge drinking. The consumption of alcohol in this manner results in 1,300 deaths each year, making it the third leading cause of death among teenagers.
One-third of the 2,400-member student body attended a memorial service for Everett Glenn held at the college on Saturday evening, as did Joanne and Leonard Glenn, and their eldest son, Christopher.
A memorial service held at Montclair Kimberley Academy on Monday morning brought out "all the academy's students in formal dress ... even though they didn't have to do that," Joanne Glenn said.
David C. Flocco, head of MKA's Upper School, said in an email to the Glenn family that "Everett was well-regarded and well-respected."
He said that "we certainly feel as though we have lost a piece of the MKA community and will spend the next few days honoring and remembering him."
Lance H. Ramer, head football coach at MKA, told the Glenn family in an email that "Everett was a model citizen in every sense of the word, and you both did a marvelous job with him. He always made those around him smile because of his presence and I truly enjoyed teaching and coaching Everett every single day I was with him."
Joanne Glenn said that the fact her son was careful and responsible makes his death by drinking more difficult to understand and cope with.
In a statement posted on MKA's website Sunday, the school said: "It is with profound sadness that MKA learned the tragic news yesterday of the passing of Everett Glenn, Class of 2011. Glenn, a freshman at Lafayette College, was one of the most respected members of his class, and had been an exemplar of the character standards that MKA students strive to live by.
"An accomplished epee fencer, Glenn was named team captain as a junior, a rare honor and testament to his ability to be a role model to his teammates – as evidenced when he contested a crucial touch he believed to have been mistakenly declared in his favor at the State Championships, (which he then went on to win.)
"A natural leader at school as well as on the strip, Glenn was compassionate, warm, loyal and loveable; popular, warm-hearted and unfailingly kind. A Peer Leader, a House Captain, a member of the Mastersingers and an Eagle Scout, his presence enriched the lives of all who knew him.
"The entire MKA community extends their love, support and condolences to the Glenn family – parents Joanne and Leonard, and brothers Chris, MKA Class of ’03 and Darryn, ‘MKA Class of 04. Information on service arrangements will be posted as soon as it becomes available."
Joanne Glenn noted that her son was an Eagle Scout and also the New Jersey Prep State Champion in fencing in his senior year at MKA.
In a message to the Lafayette campus community, Lafayette President Daniel H. Weiss said, “My thoughts are with Everett’s parents and other family members at this extremely difficult time. I extend to them my heartfelt condolences. My thoughts are also with our students and all members of our community who share in this tragic loss.”
A friend of the family's, Patricia Park Connell, wrote on the college's website that she knew "this wonderful young man and his parents throughout high school at MKA. He was a very special young man and an inspiration t his classmates and their parents. He will be truly missed. My deepest sympathy goes out to his parents and family."
A website called Remembering Everett has been set up in his honor.